I was reading an article on Mashable  today about Mobile Marketing Trends, whilst its an interesting article around advertising I found the section on ‘More Data Capture, More Targeting’ especially interesting, ignoring the advertising I thought I would share the basics of what I collect and what I use to collect it.

First things first, if I am capturing this data what am I doing with it, as Business  Technology Specialists we evangelise the cloud, so it is little surprise that we run a cloud based CRM, our product of choice is Zoho CRM, this does not mean its our clients product of choice but it fits us nicely, some clients do not want a Cloud based systems, some need simplicity and others are limited by supplier. There are so many choices of CRM it would be impossible to list them all but here are a few of the options we have worked with:-

So, I have somewhere to hold the data but what data do I store, this is often a tough decision, it needs to be comprehensive but not too much it becomes a burden to load.  Rule of thumb is to store anything and everything that identifies your Clients/Suppliers and  anything you may want to use in analytics.  Ignoring the defacto data such a contacts names, numbers and addresses here are some samples of extra data.

  • Industry
  • Place met/Campaign that produced client
  • Location (County)
  • Size (£ and employees)
  • Your industry specifics (if your an Accountant then perhaps if they are VAT registered or are Exporters)
  • Type of Contact

There is also now a new(ish) term on the block SocialCRM this is where we bring Social feeds directly in and out of the CRM system.  Salesforce does this extremely well but the other suppliers are improving, Zoho links into LinkedIn and Facebook, the latter is a new update  and I am unsure of its suitability in a B2B scenario, but LinkedIn works really well.

What should you look for in a CRM

  • Decide if you want your data in the cloud or local
  • Delivery, what will you access the system on, PC’s Mac’s, iOS, Android
  • Do you need the full Sales Lifecycle (Campaigns, Leads, Accounts, Potentials, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders, Suppliers, Product) or a subset
  • Integration, what does it need to work with.
  • Who will be using it, some systems are better suited to administrators others sales people.
  • How many users and security between users
  • Do you need to extend it above and beyond customisation
  • What analytics do you need to produce
  • What fits best into your business process i.e. Accounting, Email etc.

What benefits do I get from my CRM

  • Targeted campaigns
  • History of relationships
  • Research
  • Consistency in correspondence
  • Analytics, what works what doesn’t
  • Speed and accuracy

CRM is a tool that no business should be without, but it should be a system that works they way you work, give you the information you need and at a price that is cost effective.