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What is CRM, What are the Advantages, and How Do You Tell if it’s Time You Gave it a Try?

The sweet fragrances of Labour Day weekend BBQs have finally faded from the streets and, with well-rested employees back at their workstations, employers return to ponder the age-old question: how do I improve productivity?

Indeed, some business owners look up from their latest stat sheets like the captains of a ship realizing they’re taking in water. But as you start searching for the leak, don’t just grab onto the first pigeon hole you come across—like cyberslacking, for instance. Sure, it may be tempting to blame such ‘extra-curricular activities’, but consider that a recent study has once again confirmed what previous studies shown before: a healthy dose of web-browsing can in fact improve rather than hinder employee productivity.

So if lazy workers aren’t to blame, what is?

Said David Caruso of AMR research in a 2005 report:

Today, inefficient workflow processes and inaccessible islands of information are the root causes of bloated overhead costs and poor response times. Oftentimes employees waste valuable time rekeying redundant information into many different systems because these systems are not integrated.

What in principle held true six years ago, still holds true today: productivity loss often occurs through no fault of individual employees, but rather due to lack of integration, outdated technology, and inefficient processes.

Luckily, there’s a simple fix for that: CRM.

Customer Relation Management utilities are sophisticated applications that let you keep customer related information synced and integrated between different programs, platforms, and even between different users. While in the past companies depended on localized CRM products that had to be purchased, deployed, and maintained locally (read: expensive)—the advent of cloud technology gave rise to cloud-based solutions like Sales Force, for instance, so today virtually anyone can take advantage of high-end CRM products at affordable monthly rates.

Now that you know what CRM is and what are the advantages, consider the following four telltale signs to decide if it may be time you gave it a try:

  1. Scattered information. Do you have to look up information in ten different places—email, IM, voicemail, calendar, sticky notes, etc—whenever getting ready for a call or meeting? That’s a good indication you can benefit from better integration.
  2. Every man is an island. Is each one of your team members surrounded by a moat with no effective bridges to facilitate constant communicating or sharing of information? In a company, this is a recipe for disaster. A company depends on proper communication between team members.

    Even if you methodically try to keep each other abreast of new developments using traditional tools (email, phone, etc), you may still want to consider a more elegant solution to streamline the process and ensure nothing gets lost between the cracks.

  3. Customers tipping—the wrong way. If you’ve failed to observe the last point, you won’t miss its consequences: 41% of respondents to a 2010 survey about Customer Tipping Point conducted by ClickFox chose ‘having to speak with multiple agents and starting over every time’ as the thing that frustrates them the most. When asked how they typically react to a bad customer service experience, almost 40% (39.7, to be exact) answered ‘cease doing business with the company’. Serious? You bet!
  4. Missed sales opportunities. We mentioned previously that leads must not only be gathered, but also nurtured. If you find yourself having a hard time keeping track of the sale cycle, following up with individual prospects, or generally keeping the ball rolling and notice your figures suffer—CRM can help.


No one aspect of CRM taken by itself will likely be perceived as a game changer—but, to paraphrase Richard Boardman of Customer Think, a collection of small enhancements put together can add up to a big impact. That’s the key here. It’s like the lube that makes the same rusty cogs run so much smoother the old clunker seems like a whole new machine!

Related Articles:

  1. 4 Ways a Virtual Phone System Can Boost Productivity in Your Business
  2. How to Get Customer Feedback: 7 Easy Customer Feedback Methods to Help You Start Listening
  3. Synclio Just Got Better!

posted by Maty Grosman @ 2:39 PM