Keeping customers close
In today’s economic climate, businesses have to innovate and find ways of keeping their customers close and ensuring that every sales lead is followed up. Churches also need to follow up on visitors, and ensure that members and regular attendees are connected with the church and its activities.
With today’s technological advancements, it is relatively easy and cheap to keep in touch with valuable contacts, and to keep them close with internet tools that fall under a general heading of Customer Relationship Management system or CRM for short.
For the past month, I have been looking into the adoption of a CRM system for a growing, medium-sized company. In its simplest form, the address book on your local computer is a CRM system. It may be your primary form of keeping in touch with contacts. If your contacts share a similar profile or interest group, you can create a group and send a single email to the group. Yahoo groups are another popular method which people used to set up communication systems with a group of people who shared a simple interest or goal. Members could subscribe to receive updates weekly or daily, and could post notices, request updates, or any information that was relevant to the group.
Groups can also be used with a similar effect on social media websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, with the downside being that you have no real control over the privacy of the group nor over the copyright of information shared within the group.
Taking it to the other end of the scale, CRM systems are used by large multi-national companies with millions of subscribers, eg. BT or Virgin Media. These systems cost millions to install, manage and maintain and, depending on their configuration, they manage key processes such as complaints, billings, work requests, sales, etc. You are probably listed as an account on about 4 or 5 of these systems, and they hold varying data about you; the product you purchased; the phone calls made; any changes made, etc. The intelligence gathered by these systems will enable the company to target you with more products or correspondence, as the case may be. These systems can be built bespoke for the company or bought off the shelf. Salesforce (www.salesforce.com) is one of the major players in this area, and can manage customers from sales leads to marketing, and then after care services.
3 simple CRM tools you can get started with
Very easy: ContactMe – Managing contacts and leads
ContactMe is a simple CRM tool that is perfect for churches, charities and small businesses. You can collect sales and subscription leads using a contact form on your website, manage all your contacts, and track tasks. You can set up mobile alerts and/or calendar reminders for contacts.
You can also use a host of reporting tools to review where your contacts are coming from: website, Facebook, adverts, etc, so you can use resources a lot more effectively. Best of all, ContactMe integrates with other branded software, such as mailChimp, Constant contact, Facebook and WordPress.
If running a small business, you can also assign contacts to stages in the sales cycle, such as sales leads, potential clients and clients.
Not so easy: Zoho CRM – Managing sales leads
Zoho CRM works well as an entry level CRM system for businesses new to CRM. There is a free edition for up to three users, and it provides a sufficient platform for people who want to understand the value and use of a CRM. However, you may need to progress quite quickly to being a paid user, which starts from $12 per month per user. An average sales business would certainly require the Enterprise edition, which is priced at $35 per user per month.
Simple: Rule – Project management and collaboration
Rule is a great CRM for working with remote teams and collaborating on projects. Rule brings your emails, documents, messaging and calendars, and much more, into one platform. If you have a team working from various locations, or clients whom you need to collaborate with, it is worthwhile investigating the capabilities of the Rule CRM and project management tool.
I appreciate a good church, and lately I have been spending quite a bit of time on the Seacoast Church app. Available on iphone and Android. This free app makes it easy to connect with the church. You can watch sermons, listen to music, and connect with the Seacoast online community. There is also a live stream to services. The app was developed by the Church App Group, who are gaining quite a number of clients from several churches in the States. The app is not quite there in terms of functionality, but it definitely heads in the right direction, and is a great tool for churches that want to connect with members online.
Tweet of the month
‘By the blood of the lamb, any man, regardless of his past sin, can come equally and unashamedly to the foot of the cross and allow Jesus’ blood to invigorate his soul!’ – Bishop T.D. Jakes