Outgrown Excel? You’re Ready for a Customer Relationship Management System

Author: Christopher Hosford Date: August 20, 2014

Quick access to data and notes provides a competitive advantage

Sponsored by Insight.ly

Justin Woo had a challenge. His new business, HelperMonkeys, which provides discount coupon incentives for businesses, was growing quickly and amassing a long, disorganized list of customers and prospects.

Salespeople were going from business to business selling HelperMonkeys’ service. Some businesses were very interested, others were so-so about it and still others were yet to be convinced. Notes piled up. They needed organizing and some method of analysis and follow-up.

“We were sending our salespeople to different markets, such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas,” says Woo, whose company is based in El Segundo, California. “We’ve actually found it effective to go door to door, and we land about one out of every 10 people we visit.” That, of course, meant that 90 percent were yet to be convinced and needed tracking.

“We started out having our sales reps track leads with a cloud document form, but it was really messy by itself,” he says.

Woo subscribed to a cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) package suitable for small businesses. Salespeople could easily understand it, and it wouldn’t break the bank of a startup. 

According to software review site Capterra, several robust but easy-to-use CRM solutions aimed at the small business market offer plans in the $7- to $25-per-month range, with prices rising based on storage and the number of users. Many offer free trials, and some even offer free, limited-capability versions.

Now, HelperMonkeys’ CRM package tracks prospects based on their level of interest: green indicates a very keen prospect; gray when the decision-maker hasn’t been contacted yet; black indicates no interest so far.

“For example, I now can filter for all those marked gray, put those in our email solution and blast out a message with a new pitch,” Woo says. “These emails, in turn, are connected back to CRM, so all correspondence is accounted for and tracked.”

In the field, salespeople can still use the simple cloud-based document to record their discussions with prospects, using their smartphones. Then, via a simple connector application, the form automatically updates the CRM application. Meanwhile, the CRM package offers a mobile app so salespeople can go directly to the solution and view all notes pertaining to prospects.

If you have a number of salespeople and a manager, you definitely need a CRM package,” Woo says. “Quick access to data and notes is essential, to keep me and everybody else organized.”

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