After dealing with individuals and small firms for a number of years, you get to see some patterns emerge.
One pattern, or trend, we’ve seen is that while a lot of firms “get” the idea of using Contact Management or CRM software, they often don’t really “how” to use it. Now, I’m not talking about a lack of knowledge in terms of how to enter a contact or how to schedule a meeting. I’m talking about how to use this software tool in conjunction with their marketing and/or sales plans.
Think of it this way. A homeowner buys a cordless power drill from the home improvement superstore. The read the manual and begin to work with it. They change the bit. They charge it up. You get it. But they have no plan! Why did they buy it? They knew they needed it. They wanted to accomplish something. But they had no plan. Sounds ridiculous, right?
But often a small firm – and especially a sole proprietor – has not properly thought exactly how they’ll use this tool. They don’t have:
• A marketing plan
• A follow up plan
• A customer support plan
• A sales methodology
And since so many people are getting laid off from jobs and going into self-employment, little if any proper thought is given to the flow of how they’ll conduct their business.
Large firms create “standard operating procedures”. They create formal business plans, marketing plans and sales plans. They know that you can’t get from point A to point B without a plan, a map.
You must know what you want to accomplish before you can begin using a tool that will automate your processes. Far too many just have no processes defined. A CRM tool will be useless without a well thought out and well defined plan.
We’ll cover this topic more in detail in future articles.