A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is a powerful tool which focuses on the most important thing to your business – the customer!  Your system should manage projects, sales, marketing and customer data – with features such as recording customer interactions and retention, sales tracking, prospecting and review of marketing campaigns.

You can integrate a CRM system with your accounting software, helping you manage your business, with all your information in one place.

Although systems such as, Freeagent, Quickbooks and Xero may have built in Customer Database and Inventory Reporting, we find that the complexity required by businesses can often outgrow the accounts packages in this area – leading to a search for a custom CRM to maintain and scale business activities. (Read more about cloud accounting on our Digital Advisory webpage)

Scaling for size

The scope of CRM software systems to choose from is vast and it is important to consider the size of your business when choosing the right one for you.

A software too small for your needs could lead to another migration to a larger software further down the line. On the other hand, a software too large could mean paying in excess for what you require.

Software Plug-Ins

Away from the multi-national CRM software’s, there are a number of smaller systems which can be introduced as a ‘plug-in’ alongside your current accounts software. These systems choose to integrate with your current accounts package, rather than fully replace in their own bespoke system and interface. The main advantages of this are:

  • Minimising the requirement for integration costs with a developer.
  • Existing cloud accounting information is kept, rather than migrated away to another system.
  • Minimal staff education is required, in comparison.

Maintaining your customer data

Most CRM’s form a Sales Pipeline for your Customer Interaction. The lead is logged at the first interaction in the process and then progressed through the quote and in-progress stages.

With the Sales Pipeline, this can not only track customers and completed sales, but it can also track sales which have been ‘lost’ – which can be used to formulate marketing strategies or highlight areas of change required in your business.

Typically, from the Pipelines created, the software can produce KPI reports such as:

  • Pipeline Forecasts – showing the potential value of your current pipeline.
  • Milestones – showing you how many projects are at each allocated stage.
  • Conversion rates – how many of your leads have led to sales.

Help with lead generation

It is important to understand ‘how’ or ‘why’ you lose a sale, just as you would understand your reasons for winning one. The ability to report on your wins and losses can help shape business decisions in the future. Reports can be created to highlight trends in losses before there is a large impact on future sales. This could flag issues such as, pricing or issues with your customer interaction.

Another key reporting function can track employee performance and therefore, help you make tactical changes where necessary.

Improving productivity

CRM systems allow you to manage ‘tasks’ which can lead to increased productivity. This ranges from setting up reminders for tasks, which sync with your calendar, assigning tasks to other team members or setting automation of day-to-day tasks which form part of a workflow.

Some CRM systems offer the ability to track time taken on a project. The implications of this to a business can be vast and varied – from analysing if a job has been under-quoted for, or maybe even assessing if there is a bottleneck in the process which is affecting the total output.

How can we help?

There is no one CRM software to suit every business. We can help you identify the right one to work alongside your current accounting system. For further help or advice, please contact our digital advisory team by emailing fintech@haroldsharp.co.uk or call 0161 905 1616.