Every year our phones start ringing the Monday after Thanksgiving. The message - can you help us pull together our data for getting out our holiday cards? Over the years I have come to believe that this question is the single-best indicator of how much an organization needs CRM.
As companies pass around Excel files trying to organize the holiday card mailing or VIP list for the gift baskets, one gets a pretty good idea of how company information about customers is managed -- it is not!
Rather than this task being as simple as filtering for those customers with the holiday card box checked, it becomes a Chinese fire drill, consuming considerable amounts of support time and sales reps' time. I have even seen some companies give up and tell the sales reps to come in to address their own cards to mail.
If this simple task is not being completed in minutes, how well are you maintaining your relationships with your best customers? Are you satisfied with leaving that responsibility totally up to the sales reps? Failure to keep a strong relationship with your clients could be just as bad as
Is marketing reinforcing the sales message? Does sales know it? Is customer service easily sharing issues with the sales reps? Is the president aware of the good and bad things regarding a key account before they call? After the basic communications are taken care of, then are you ready to analyze the data and know who to cross-sell or up-sell and who else you should be prospecting? Is there any value in that activity for your growth?
Just look at the amount of time required for getting the holidays cards out, multiply that by the other 11 months that contain little issues that come up and ask yourself, how much is it costing me to not have a CRM system?
If you are tired of wasting valuable time,