Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

Chris Bliss

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Systems, CRM, and the Importance of Getting it Right

crm process sales

We’ve noticed something unusual. When a business first contacts us, they often ask a series of questions that are remarkably similar to to the questions we hear from other businesses, regardless of company size or industry vertical. How can they organize their business’s lead database? How can they compare sales across channels? How can they increase sales without a commensurate increase in data entry?

Every once in awhile we have a client whose issues – and subsequent solutions – perfectly encapsulate this core set of issues.  For the past six months we’ve helped one such client, PR by the Book, elegantly deal with a classic set of procedural and sales-related issues. This is their story.

The search for CRM

PR by the Book, a campaign and consulting services company, first came to us in search of a CRM system (“customer relations management”). Their business model revolves around high-paced account management, a well managed sales funnel, and efficient collaboration. When we first spoke, they didn’t have an organized means of managing an increasing volume of sales, and they were drowning in the administrative side of project management. Business was a drag.

Luckily, we were able to point them toward Solve360 during a 2 hour consulting session. Solve360 is a small business oriented CRM that does an excellent job with relationship, task and project management. Following our session, we helped PR configure Solve360 just for their needs: we created custom tags, fields and templates, all geared at streamlining their process, and reconfigured everything a few months later as they road-tested the system.

It worked. In the words of Babs Chandrasoma, Business Development Coordinator:

Solve has changed my world.  We were operating on a check and balance system which seemed to work well until an issue which was overlooked popped up, typically due to a missed notification in my sea of emails. Solve has equipped us with a system which is built specifically for our company.

Along with software customization, we also helped with software and workflow training, as systems are only as helpful as they are usable. CRM solved (pun intended), we then turned toward other aspects of the business…

Automate me!

One of PR by the Book’s largest issues was dealing with inbound leads and updating existing contacts. To date, they had to manually enter all new contacts into their system, then manually update their details as time went on. It was a major hassle.

Luckily, Solve360 has an amazing integration with Wufoo, an online form builder. Using the integration, we were able to connect PR by the Book’s contact form with their Solve360 database, meaning new leads automatically get their own page with appropriate tags and a follow-up template inserted. What’s more, we also built forms for PR’s existing customers so they can now submit all their information (documents, photos, updates, etc) directly into PR by the Book’s database.

The system is automated in such a way that PR’s admin staff can spend less time worrying about data-entry, and more time focusing on core business development tasks. It’s the type of no-brainer system that everyone wants yet few have.

Process first, systems second

At the end of the day, we helped PR by the Book put in place a great system, but it started with a well-defined, efficient workflow. It doesn’t work the other way around – always define your processes first, then go looking for a system.

If your business is struggling with database issues, process implementation, project management, or any of the other myriad software-related issues that businesses deal with, check out our services and get in touch. We can probably help!

The post Systems, CRM, and the Importance of Getting it Right appeared first on VM Associates.

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More Stories By Chris Bliss

Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.