It might be tempting to sign up online for a CRM system you can set up on your own and get started right away. Likely you think that your requirements are simple, your business processes are standard, and you are flexible enough to adapt to the framework the system gives you. That seems a lot faster and easier than going through a design phase, having a system customized for your business, and paying for ongoing support. Sound familiar?
Let me tell you about one of my clients.
This client owns a membership-based business. She needed a CRM system to manage all the contact information of her members and track their subscription payments. Sounds pretty simple. She had managed her business in Excel for a decade, so any CRM system would be better than that, right?
Wrong. Every business is unique.
What do you want to do in CRM that is different?
Every business has things that are important in its process that don’t fit a rigid template. Likely, you don’t even realize what those little unique items are because you are so used to them. But when you try to do them in a rigid CRM system, you will quickly realize that it is not how everyone else does it.
After we set up CRMPlus365, this client who owns the membership business told me how much it had helped her business.
You can read the full success story of this business at
Will your CRM system change when your business changes?
This business used CRMPlus365 for nearly a year, and everything was working well. Then something came up that once again proved why choosing a flexible, customizable CRM system had been such a good decision.
For the first time, this business decided to offer a 5% discount to members who paid by ACH instead of by credit card.
That sounds like a simple decision. But how would it be tracked in the CRM system that had not been initially set up to track discounts?
With an out-of-the-box CRM system, she would have had two options, both requiring a great deal of manual work.
- Open the records and manually reduce the subscription cost of each member that gets the 5% discount. Then remember to increase the price if that changes in the future.
- Export the subscription cost reports to Excel, add a formula to reduce 5% from specific records before comparing the report to QuickBooks billing.
Because she is using CRMPlus365 and has a Managed Service Agreement in place, she simply called me and walked me through the new process. We decided to:
- Put a check box field on the account record to show that a member is paying by ACH.
- Use calculation formulas to automatically deduct 5% from the subscription price when this box is checked (and remove the discount if it is unchecked).
She had initially requested that this discount show on the revenue roll-up. I was able to dig deeper, and we realized that the discount needed to show on a different screen to be included in multiple reports that had been set up.
While you might like doing things on your own, talking to someone that has a complete understanding of your processes and how your system is set up prevents you from making changes that do more harm than good.
This client was able to make a change in her business and effectively track that in her CRM system. It did not create more manual work for her. She did not make a change to her CRM system on her own and realize later that it was done incorrectly.
She has a flexible CRM system, with a support team in place to keep the system up to date as her business changes.
Oh, and did I mention that it is free for her small business? Well maybe not free…free. CRMPlus365 is free, but it runs on the Microsoft Power Platform, so you’ll need to buy a single license for $20/month for your business plus one for each user at $10/month/user. We’ll work with you to make sure you get the right ones.
By Steve Pestillo, P2Automation,