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Regardless of how big or small your business is, it needs a CRM. CRM stands for many things, but in my world, a CRM is a Customer Relationship Management platform. It is where you house all the information about your leads, your clients, all activities, notes, emails, documents, opportunities, projects, campaigns etc.  Some call it a database.

There are hundreds of online CRMs to choose from and choosing the right one for your business does take time.Thankfully, many of the CRMs offer a trial or a demonstration to walk you through the features and benefits, so you can work out if it meets your criteria and is right for you and your business.

The kind of information you are capturing depends on the relevance to your business.   All businesses would attempt to capture the basics, ie Name, email, phone number, address, others will want to capture the whole kit and caboodle, industry type, children’s birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc

Some CRMs are very basic and user friendly, but may be limited in how you can customise the fields, the layouts and how much automation is possible, or what integrations are available to use with them, while others can be easily customisable, and may seem a little more difficult to get used to.

Integrations or plugins are something that may weigh heavily on your decision in choosing a CRM.  Do you want your email working though your CRM so emails to and from clients are recorded on their CRM record? How much accounting information do you want to see in your CRM – do you want invoices created based on your CRM updates? Would you like to create squeeze forms to put on your website which will automatically enter the lead information into your CRM?  Do you want to send automated emails to your clients, or just some of them?  Do you want to be able to send out professional looking newsletters to your client base?

Often, it helps to run your criteria past a CRM expert to find out if they can recommend an appropriate platform for your business.This can save you weeks of ground work.

It is important for all business owners to HAVE and USE a CRM.  If you don’t have one, get one, quick smart.  You absolutely cannot rely on your memory to run your business.Your CRM should be considered the central point for your business.  A CRM will make your more productive, more accountable, more professional and it will most importantly, help you to convert your leads to sales.

Virtually There is a specialist in CRM implementation, customisation, training, ongoing support – and data integrity. Thanks Kerryn for your guest post


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