ROI Benefits of a CRM for Your Business

Are you guilty of still using an excel spreadsheet to manage your leads, customers and sales pipeline? Think a CRM is too costly or not appropriate for your small or medium business? Wondering why you fail to grow your revenue? Customer Relationship Management (i.e. CRM) have been a key enabler technology for many successful business and have a very appealing ROI.

A few years ago, my two business partners and I agreed our product was ready for prime-time and the task of putting together a sales and marketing strategy fell upon my shoulders. I knew a thing or two about marketing but was pretty much clueless about sales. So I did like most sales leader back then and created an excel spreadsheet to start capturing our leads, customers, opportunities and create a simple pipeline. I placed the spreadsheet on our company intranet so my partners and sales team could access it and edit it. I had no idea what a mess I had created…

Our sales team, myself included, spent most of our time on the road visiting potential and current customers; connecting to our VPN in our hotel room to access our Intranet and edit our spreadsheet was a huge hassle. We had no automated way to notify the team when it was time to re-connect with a customer for a specific project. Creating a report for our Board meetings was a pain. It was nearly impossible to analyse our data and figure out where in the sale stage our opportunities where getting stuck. Leads were not assigned automatically to the right salesperson and had to be managed manually by me. And I could go on and on and I am sure many of you have similar stories to tell. The bottom line is that our sales were failing to meet our expectations. Instead of creating a growth enabler, my spreadsheet was a growth preventer.

After two quarters of snail-pace growth and two hellish board meetings, it was time to change. I consulted with my team and phoned a few friends with successful and growing businesses and asked them how they managed their sales process. The answer was unanimous: a cloud-based CRM, Salesforce.com being the most popular choice.

Sure, it wasn’t free like a spreadsheet. But the time I gained by not having to manually managed the spreadsheet, assign leads and hassle with pipeline reports was spent instead in front of customers. According to Salesforce research, sales people spend 68% of their time not-selling! I definitively fit that profile back then. For this reason alone, our CRM paid for itself. Also, keep in mind that most cloud-based CRM like Salesforce offer monthly fees so you don’t have to fork out a costly sum up-front; making it ideal for small businesses. And with Salesforce partners offering quickstart implementations, you can be up and running with an efficient system in less than 30-days at a reasonable price.

As you can imagine, the ROI of our CRM was felt in less than 2 quarters. No more VPN’ing into our intranet for our sales team, they could access our cloud-based CRM and update their own pipeline. Back then, smart phones weren’t available but today, sales teams can update their pipeline on the fly directly on their phone. All of the pipelines rolled into one company pipeline we could share internally and to our board. It allowed us to analyse our data and figure out how to fine-tune our sales strategy. We constantly iterated our sales process based on the data we gathered. For example, we defined sales best practices and guidance based on the stage of the opportunity. This facilitated the on-boarding process on new sales reps. We shortened our sales cycle with automated reminders to contact our customers and follow-up on opportunities. And voilĂ , our sales growth was solidly under way. We later sold our company to French multinational Schneider Electric.

In sum, a CRM will pay for itself through better visibility, productivity and intelligence. Our sales team had better visibility of their pipeline, they were spending more time selling and they were more efficient. The bottom line can be summed up with this equation: monthly cost of the CRM license of 130ish $/per seat is always smaller than the hours wasted by salespeople without a CRM * their hourly rate; factor in their productivity increase and it is a no brainer. Are you sure you want to stick with your spreadsheet?

Sales Lead Management Software Solutions For Your Small Business

So, you’ve built up a solid based of inquiries. But now that you’ve got your leads, what are you supposed to do with them? Believe it or not, this is a question that plagues many small business owners, time and time again. Getting prospects are important to building your new client list, but unless you know what to do with them, you’re doomed to fail. To make it worse, you could have completely avoided it with the right lead management system in place.

Lead Tracking and Management may sound tricky, but there are many solutions available to help your lead management responsibilities move as smoothly as possible. Lead management software is by far the most effective solution available, and it’s easy to implement. And, the lead management software options for your small business are astounding. Knowing what you want out of your lead management software, and knowing how to use the technology you purchase, will have a huge impact on how well the software system helps your business perform.

Hosted Lead Management Solutions

Software solutions are now available as hosted solutions and hence no need to invest in server hardware and special software. These solutions are also known as subscription based services or on-demand solutions. You can subscribe to lead administration solutions, accessible via internet for as low as $50 a month. You can start using the software in a day or two, if not in a few hours. The learning curve is not as steep as it used to be. Your administrator and sales personnel can manage the leads centrally and access it any time, anywhere. The pricing varies with the number of users / sales persons accessing the system and volume of your inquiries and drip / sequential emails sent for nurturing and follow-up.

Key Features

When choosing a software system for managing leads and prospects, there are a few key features to look for: database management, charting, and client management options. Database management will allow you and your employees to keep track of new client leads, manage current leads, and keep status reports for each track. Charting will enable you to create graphical depictions of your leads, and show you what areas are succeeding and where your company may need improvement. Client management can track individual leads, let you and your employees know if a client has an outstanding question to answered, and track previous orders and future interests.

These three aspects of the software can boost your company’s productivity. You and your employees can easily track and manage many different streams of leads, and break each lead down to a single entity to focus on client relations. This is imperative for one-on-one client interaction, which encourages new clients to purchase from your company and increases repeat client business.

Components of the Software

  • Sales Leads can be captured and aggregated from multiple sources such as web forms, third party solutions via API, and emails using an email parser solution. The leads can also be manually entered manually so that all leads can be managed in one place.
  • Software can automatically distribute or route sales leads to your sales team based on various criteria such as geographical area, lead profile, etc.
  • The lead administrator can qualify the prospects and rank them (ex. hot, warm and cold) based on the conversion possibility. This would help your sales agents to focus on top priority leads first.
  • The prospects can be nurtured using drip email messages (or sequential emails or autoresponders) and future conversion. Latest prospect management solutions incorporates in-built email marketing solutions for this purpose.
  • The leads can be followed up and tracked using the email management solution in order to provide full visibility to all concerned.

Lead management software should also allow you to effortlessly import your existing data and data from external sources, and allow for merging of other important data along with the information your software stores. Reports will be a breeze to create with the right type of lead management software, which will both cut down on time spent analyzing your information and allow you to see in real time where your lead management skills need improvement. This is an invaluable tool for your client management practices.

The Human Touch

When making the decision to venture into lead management software solutions, keep in mind that the software solution is by no means a replacement for your own hard work. The solution is meant to assist your company in lead management, and allow you to handle more leads with the time you can save using it. The software system is only as worthwhile as the people using it, so use it wisely. Remember that your leads want to deal with a real person, not a program, and don’t let possible clients slip through the cracks. Prudent use of subscription based lead tracking and administration systems can help your business increase conversions manifold and improve the bottom line.

App Development For Property Sales: A Complete Guide To Grow Your Real-Estate Business

None can deny the necessity of mobile apps in our lives. While no business sector has remained aloof from the rage of mobile app development, it is on-demand services, food and retail, and core industry like real-estate which got more share of the pie. Yes, it’s also the retail property businesses that got more benefits in sales after the app revolution and saw their revenue growing high. In regards to this, here is a complete guide on how to make your own real-estate dealings mobile with a useful app.

Trends observed in property purchases

-Most buyers first sneak through the web or online portals to search for property searches before going for other sources like paper advertisements, referrals, etc.

-Millennials rely more on online search for nitty-gritty details or information about a property

-People like to hunt for properties online because they can see a large number of properties.

Types of Real-estate app solutions

-Online property search application

-Property booking solution

-App solution for renting apartments

-Property management solution for owners

While these are the specific apps that can help real-estate business owners as well as buyers, let’s take a look at the key features that an app meant to help rent and property seekers should have.

Direct marketing method

The app should have a direct approach to marketing to promote the properties held by the property owner. The app would list the properties in a fancy manner with location, prices, property aspects, surrounding amenities, landmark, and other related information. In short, the app should be able to showcase all properties in a complacent and clarified manner so that buyers can know every minute thing about a property and can take the decision to choose one smoothly.

Support for location-tracking

Mobile users have been so used to the aspect of GPS or Global Positioning System to navigate here and here that you need to sync your real-estate mobile app to the Google Map to help the property seekers. Integrating the app with geolocation will readily help the buyers to land on the phone’s Google map to know the exact route and convenient mode of transport to the property’s location.

Easy-to-use user interface

You need to keep in mind that a real-estate application is not about showing brilliance and classy design, but is about user-friendliness. Thus, like any other user-centric applications such as eCommerce, online cab services booking, your app should be user-friendly so that users could easily understand how to search for a property. Easy user-interface of an app means quick property search, responsive search filter, hassle-free payments and saving favourites or wishlist.

Scope for customers to place queries

Lastly, do not rule out the need for an online enquiry mechanism in the app like live chat or email integration. It is a must-have for quickly responding to customers who are interested in a property and wish to know more apart from what provided in the app. They might want to talk to the seller directly.

Real-estates is the large and flourishing industry and to get a grip over its every potential you need a mobile app too. It would help your business make more revenue and grow by making your properties more easily accessible to prospective customers. However, make sure to keep in mind the mentioned features while you have your app crafted by an app development company.