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Top 4 Signs You Need to Upgrade to a CRM

In this blog post, you'll learn what the biggest indications are that your small business should invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) solution.

6 min read

Eric Hansen

Eric Hansen

Jul 22, 2020

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Top 4 Signs You Need to Upgrade to a CRM

Running a small business is a delicate balancing act of weighing costs and expenses against your productivity needs. While it’d certainly be nice to have tech to handle your every business operation, realistically, it’s only worth acquiring new tools when doing so brings a net profit. This principle necessarily extends to managing your customer base; when starting out and keeping track of only a handful of clients, it’s perfectly sensible to stick to the humble setup of spreadsheets, sticky notes, and legal pads to monitor customers. However, once your base grows past a given threshold, flipping through physical pages and scrolling through Excel files becomes tedious at best and inefficient at worst.

At that tipping point of growth, it’s wise to invest in a CRM solution, which not only centralizes key sales and marketing features into one place, but also automates ordinary procedures like entering client data and invoicing customers. That means you and your team can do away with the menial tasks sapping up precious hours from the workday and more efficiently communicate with your client base.

Still, it can be difficult to determine whether you’ve hit the point where a CRM is worth the investment. If you’re not sure yet whether to take the plunge, have a look at these four signs that an upgrade would be worthwhile.

Sign #1: Your sales team spends more time keeping track of leads than pursuing them.

While being unable to find or keep track of leads clearly indicates the need for an upgrade, just as telling is when your sales team can find the leads in question, but only after spending an excessive amount of time in doing so. As the cliché goes, time is money, and as a small business, you really can’t afford to waste much of either. So it’s a natural conclusion that, once you reach the point where going through records is a bigger hassle than actually trying to earn money from them, it’s time to use a more streamlined approach to customer management.

The core principle to follow here is that your sales team’s job should be to reach out to the leads you have on file. If their focus is being stolen by a need to continually check up on prospects or fish around for their information, their efforts are being misplaced — and your potential sales are growing in danger of drying up.

Sign #2: Your follow-up process is needlessly elongated due to a lack of visibility into the sales pipeline.

A good sales team knows to strike when the iron’s hot when it comes to following up with prospects. However, even the most skilled salesperson will have trouble keeping up with leads if they don’t have a straightforward way to keep track of their position in the sales pipeline. This is especially true if said salesperson has to track multiple leads in a less-than-optimal fashion. Unfortunately, when prospects are being tracked this way, it usually leads to delays in reaching out to potential customers, which will in turn lead to countless missed opportunities.

Once a company becomes large enough, the process of manually tracking prospects can become a juggling act of sorts for sales teams. What’s more, the time and focus taken up by managing numerous leads prevents salespeople from giving individual prospects their deserved attention. To avoid this, it’s crucial to turn the tracking process over to a CRM solution as soon as you notice your salespeople are inadvertently creating longer-than-necessary lead times in pursuing prospects. Otherwise, you may be letting multiple leads go to waste.

#3: You see poor customer retention due to an inability to track campaigns and sales.

It’s common knowledge that, for small businesses, customer retention is king. In fact, research shows that increasing customer retention by just 5% can lead to a 95% profit boost. If your business is seeing customers drop off instead of stick around, it’s a sure sign that your strategy needs to change.

Often, the cause of poor retention is an inability to keep track of your marketing campaigns and sales programs, rendering you unable to make regular, targeted contact with your potential and existing customers. If your team lacks insight into the progress of campaigns and sales, it’s easy to let this outreach fall by the wayside. If your business is falling victim to this cycle, you’re in a prime spot to move to a CRM, as this software typically includes automatic ways to track the progress of various sales campaigns and outreach efforts. That small investment will put you back on track to gaining enormous profits through every uptick in your customer retention rate.

#4: You have no way to evaluate the success of sales efforts and campaigns.

If you spend a good chunk of the week creating an elaborate email campaign or spend thousands of dollars on online advertising, it’s only natural to hope for a return on those investments. However, it can be difficult to say how much of an impact a particular effort has unless you have a concrete way of measuring it. Should your business be fortunate enough to find more sales and customers after those campaigns go out, that alone doesn’t necessarily indicate you’ve used your time and money wisely; it’s actually possible the positive returns came from other factors, like word of mouth referrals or previous advertising efforts.

While it’s certainly aggravating on a personal level not to be sure of which sales efforts are working and what aren’t, knowing every campaign’s effectiveness goes beyond the sake of simple closure. More importantly, understanding what kind of gains each effort yields will help guide your company to create stronger, more effective campaigns in the future. That means regularly getting higher conversion rates and higher profits, too.

So, if you lack the means to determine which sales tactics have been successful and which ones haven’t, a CRM is well worth the investment, as this software typically comes with tools to automatically track how your various campaigns have (or have not) translated into monetary success. Again, both in terms of emotional satisfaction and future strategy, the value of that knowledge can’t be understated.

If your small business is exhibiting any of these signs, consider taking a look at a CRM solution or two. Many vendors offer a free trial with no obligation to purchase. You might just find the key to unlocking the full potential of your employees and your business.

*Curious about how you can scale your small business with a perfectly balanced CRM solution? We invite you to explore the Inperium Sales CRM solution.*

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