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Recession-Proof Your Business with Complete CRM
Written by: Lars Helgeson
Some people are paralyzed by fear, and others are cool as a cucumber.
It's a human emotion, and we all feel it, but why do some people act with grace under pressure, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in an action movie, and others panic? If you ask psychologists, they'll tell you the greatest way to control fear is to prepare for those stressful situations in advance.
What does this have to do with CRM? Everything.
There's a recession coming. We all know it, and there are signs everywhere of it happening. Whether or not you live in a country affected by the current trade war between the United States and China, it is taking a toll on both countries' economies and having a global ripple effect.
But you don't have to live in fear of this recession if you're prepared. Business still goes on, and people will still need your products and services if you're able to maintain relationships with your clients and have an established, measured flow of leads, and prospects.
And that's where having the right CRM is critical. Your CRM is your lifeline. If you don't have one, this recession will have a severe impact. Recessions always change the way business is done. Think about how technology changed after the dot-com crash in 2001, or how real estate and financial oversight changed after the housing bubble burst in 2008. The coming recession is different from those other recessions because it isn't limited to a single part of the economy. Everyone will be affected.
A Complete CRM, one that manages your sales, marketing, and customer service in one place, provides you with the insight and oversight to see exactly how changes in the market and customer behavior impact you. Numbers don't lie, but you need to have those numbers to make educated strategic decisions.
If you don't have the ability to calculate your client acquisition cost (CAC), your average time to sell your products and services to different markets, the performance of various campaigns you may be running, or to measure how well and how active your sales staff is, you're flying blind. A Complete CRM solves all of these problems, and it requires work upfront to get it working, but it's worth it.
Automation, The Side Effect You Can Use
The use of a CRM with a suite of integrated services for your business does more than give you insight into your business. It also unlocks the ability to automate your sales and marketing processes, making you more efficient.
Automation is the key to scaling without adding expensive labor. It also gets your staff to spend time doing the things humans are good at - human interaction, more complex strategic decisions, and self-improvement. If your people are spending their days doing mindless, repetitive tasks, they won't be happy and productivity will fall. No one wants to feel like a meaningless cog in a giant machine.
The CRM You Choose Matters
Not all CRM platforms are created equal, and there's a big difference between older styles, traditional CRMs, and newer Complete CRM platforms. Traditional CRM requires heavy integration work and often results in a very complex, expensive systems with limited interaction between departments. Complete CRM pulls your team together, facilitating communication between teams while improving efficiency and stimulating growth.
If your CRM doesn't provide you with the ability to see into how your entire business operates, it's time to look at the platform you're using. Your CRM should be able to pull the data you need into a single place, with minimum use of developers and API connections (and for that, you have helpful tools like Zapier and Piesync).
Take a step back and look at how you're doing business. Can you invest more time in your CRM, making it connect all the pieces of your business together? What are all the pieces of your business puzzle? When the recession hits hard, where do you think you're likely to be affected, and how can you measure it?
TCO - The Acronym You Need to Know
TCO, or Total Cost of Ownership, is a term used to take into consideration all the costs that go into a project. When you make the decision to implement any software, understanding and budgeting for all of the costs associated with it is important. To calculate TCO right, though, you need to know what you need your CRM to do. Take time early on to figure out what you need out of your CRM. More than just a sales tool, CRM is a culture, pervasive throughout your entire organization.
Managing TCO and defining the requirements for your CRM isn't just a one-time exercise. As your business evolves, and as you connect more parts of it to your CRM, you'll want to consider all the factors that will go into accomplishing your goals.
Once you know what you need your CRM to do, you can assess costs associated with it. Will you be paying per user? Per contact? Per feature? These are fairly straightforward questions, and good CRM companies will make it easy to calculate your costs. The harder challenge is estimating learning time and implementation costs, as they can be based on the capabilities of your own team and the resources the CRM vendor can bring to bear to help get you set up.
For all the costs associated with software, integration is always the biggest driver of TCO. It's labor intensive and often times requires a lot of custom development, which is expensive by its very nature. Without good requirements management and effective guidance to developers, most experienced managers say to expect to spend 2-3x the original estimate. This is another key advantage to Complete CRM. Because fully integrated CRMs already provide so much capability built-in, you don't have to hire the developers to link your business units together.
You Got This
As a leader in your business, your team looks to you for these answers. Prepare for the recession by arming yourself with knowledge and insight. As things change, you will face the change with calmness and confidence because you'll already have your finger on the pulse of the market. As your competitors fumble around for answers, you'll be a step ahead.
The most important tool in your arsenal against recession is Complete CRM. Involve your entire team and make sure they're part of the process of implementing and using your CRM. Salespeople, marketing staff, customer service managers, event managers, account managers - they all will see their jobs change as the economy changes. Working together as a team is how you proactively stay ahead of the challenges in front of you.
Face the coming year knowing you are ready for whatever is coming. Build your CRM and take advantage of the technology of Complete CRM today!
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