CRM – an important cog turning the business wheel
One of the most frequent things we help with is CRM – Customer Relationship Management.
CRM is about centralising customer data, how a business nurtures a lead through to closing the sale, how they stay in touch with their customer base and how they provide great customer service. It applies to businesses of all sizes from one person bands to large organisations. CRM is one of the cogs behind a business, if the cog keeps turning the business can run more efficiently.
We don’t get lots of requests in the form of “can you help me with CRM?” CRM usually emerges as a weak spot during a business streamlining session. Our job is to help a business create a CRM approach that feels right for their business and reflects how they like to do business, no one size fits all. Once that is worked out the actual implementation and getting colleagues doing what is needed is helped along by software. With so many cloud software apps out there, the big question is which one fits this business?
Recently for a client we took a look at OnePageCRM, not a system we’d recommended before. (every CRM app has a slightly different take on how it does core CRM actions so matching the right app to a client’s business is really crucial). OnePageCRM is refreshing for its simplicity; it’s based on the idea of GSD – Get Sales Done, an easy framework to close more sales. This approach is designed to minimize slippage during the sales process and keep business owners/sales people thinking “which is the single next action that will move this sale along?”. It can of course be done with pen and paper but having a CRM app that nudges you to cross off that item, create the next item, remind you when that item needs completing, see the sale move through the process etc. helps you stay on top of opportunities.
The Action Stream
In the app the GSD idea is shown as a My Action Stream area. This shows all the leads, prospects, opportunities and customers that are currently on my radar. There’s also a team action stream. It’s a neat way to see everything in one place. When clicking on an item in the action stream it doesn’t open up a task screen like other CRM’s, it opens the contact record with the next action clearly visible as well as all the contact details, any deals in progress, the background and any notes/calls/emails.
OnePageCRM allows you to add custom fields to contacts and deals as well as tag contacts to slice and dice for reporting and segmentation purposes. For example tag a contact with location and industry so you can easily search on all the telecoms contacts in south wales. The Action Stream contents can be also be customised to some degree.
There aren’t a list of pre-defined reports available, you need to create them with filters (which can be thought of as saved searches) then export to excel if you want to do more in depth data manipulation. The filters can be very specific as all the fields are made available for filtering.
Email Management & Marketing
Emailing from within OnePageCRM is possible but only for Gmail/Google Apps email. Emails are also synced from Gmail/Google Apps for those contacts inside OnePageCRM. Personalised bulk emails can be sent using templates as well as individual emails.
If you don’t use Gmail/Google Apps as an email platform you can bcc in your OnePageCRM from your email client.
The integration with Mailchimp (for bulk email marketing) is quite strong, allowing you to synchronise contacts and create segments for targeted marketing. One thing we did like is that the mailchimp campaign statistics are pulled back into OnePageCRM. This is very useful as CRM users often don’t have (and don’t need) access to mailchimp, they just need to see who is opening their emails and how frequently.
Integration with other software
There is whole host of other software onePageCRM hooks into from lead generation pages to quotation tools and accountancy tools. Interestingly (and unusually) it hooks into both Xero and SageOne.
There’s and Apple and Android app which provides enough functionality to work well while out and about.
This software keeps the focus on sales and “doing”. It’s true it does not have all the bells and whistles of other systems particularly in workflow, automation and reports, but it does provide a clear, easy interface that encourages you to think about and do that next sales action from lead generation to communication to revenue. The price reflects this at £9.75 per month (per user) or £8.94 paying annually. This would suit small businesses perhaps thinking about a CRM for the first time and wanting a cost effective powerful way to stay on track.