What is the single biggest tool that will transform my business?
All around us, ‘gurus’ (of varying degrees of credibility) are pushing this system, or that product, or some package or another which will miraculously ‘transform’ your business. Some are excellent, but some are not and there is, of course, a price point for every pocket.
However, I am a great believer in simple things. I have lost count of the number of wonderful sounding tools or gizmos which I have invested in, but which were too complicated to learn or I just never used.
So, as a sales trainer and small business owner, what is my favourite transformational tool? It’s a CRM.
OK – I bet you thought it was going to be something a lot more exciting didn’t you? Or perhaps that I was going to prefix it with words like “Secret” or “they don’t want me to tell you about this”.
Well I am just as fed up as you are of hearing about the NEW BIG THING only to find out it’s a recycled version of an existing thing.
So let me explain. I don’t really care what sort of system you have, but you MUST have some way of tracking your leads and your customers. For some people it’s a pile of business cards (don’t really recommend that, but it does work for some people). Others use notebooks, scraps of paper (ouch!), their phone or products like Microsoft Access.
However, there is so much technology out there that you can get a really affordable, very effective CRM system that can do loads for you. For example, as a small business owner, you probably want something that can:
- Save contact details, notes and documents (things like proposals, quotes or contracts)
- Prompt you to complete tasks when they are due (ringing people, sending out newsletters, going to meetings)
- Keep details of potential sales and show you how close you are to winning them
- Integrate with email and accounting packages so you are not duplicating effort all over the place
- Be easy to use
The trouble is, you can spend a lot of time researching and learning new software, only to find it doesn’t work for you, or there are tons of add-ons which suddenly make it very expensive (these are all things I have experienced). So what should you do? Well, in my opinion, ‘something’ is better than nothing. Start off small and simple and then, as your business grows and you find you need more functionality, then consider migrating to something more sophisticated.
I am going to recommend the CRM I use. It is called Proactive and I love it; simple to use, easy to learn and it keeps me on the straight and narrow when I have important tasks to do. If you need help, then you get a real person (Tony) sorting you out. He’s a techy, but he never makes you feel stupid. Check out the video here. If you don’t want to use Proactive, then that’s fine too, but please take my advice, work out what you need and how much you can afford and use SOMETHING.
Other well known names include Zoho, Salesforce, Hubspot and Insightly, but there are loads out there, so do your homework and take advantage of any free trials. Proactive gives you a 45 days. If you are interested, click on the link and register start your free 45 day trial and you will soon have your business looking a whole lot more organised and efficient.
Just remember Janet’s advice and do SOMETHING!