By Team - Doble Group, LLC 2016-07-06

Small businesses typically begin with a basic relationship of seller-to-customer — simple. In such an early stage, it might be fine to just maintain an Excel spreadsheet or jot down notes about customers and incoming orders. But as your business grows, this sort of record-keeping simply can’t do what you need anymore. Here are some warning signs it’s time to trade in those old ways and start managing your customer relationships more effectively.




1. There’s no single source for information. Storing your customer and order info in more than one location, such as a spreadsheet or notes stuck to your computer, puts your sales team at a disadvantage. They lack a single view of every customer’s contact info, orders, and interactions.

2. There’s little or no visibility. Not only do you lack visibility into how your customers are connecting with employees, you also lack insight into what your salespeople are doing. This makes it difficult to help them be successful — and keep them accountable.

3. Reports are tedious and painful. Generating reports and analytics of your sales team’s monthly progress against their quota would be ideal. But creating reports manually is cumbersome, often resulting in no tracking at all.

4. You are losing data. It’s hard for you to schedule follow-ups with customers and prospects. Great meetings happen on the road, but the sales teams don’t always transfer their notes and important details get lost, especially if an employee leaves the company.

5. It’s hard to stay in touch on the go. Your sales reps are out in the field, meeting prospects and discovering valuable info. But all this new data gets stored on handwritten notes or in files on personal computers, instead of being shared with the team.

6. Every customer is treated the same. You don’t target prospects based on their value to the business. Rather, you are sending the same types of offers and messages to customers and prospects in very different stages of the buying process, as well as in different industries or geographies.

7. You lack a plan to scale fast. What if your business grew from 20 to 200 this year? Are you confident that your current processes will scale? If you know that you are going to grow, are you worried about keeping productivity up while scaling up? If any of these apply to you or your team, don’t despair. These are exactly the issues that a CRM system can address.

  “Salesforce helps us understand our customer base more effectively than we ever otherwise could.”

–Curt Pullen, President, Herman Miller