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What CRM is right for my company?

What is a CRM?

It stands for Customer Relationship Management, but we like to call it the follow-up technology. 

CRM for Business

A CRM is typically an online software where companies can store customers information like email, phone numbers, etc. Think of it like a Rolodex on steroids. It also comes in handy for sales prospecting. 

The real advantage of the system is to keep the customer database organized. 

  • Is your company still using an old desktop CRM? 
  • Is an Excel spreadsheet more your style?

Here are three web-based CRMs worth considering:

The three above options are very different regarding capabilities. Salesforce focuses on enterprise companies, also known as large organizations. We do see smaller companies utilize Salesforce (less than 50 employees) but in most cases it's overkill for small business needs. At times, Salesforce can be a bit clunky to novice users, but with proper onboarding and continued training this platform can be an implementation success.  You can start with Salesforce for $25/month per user. 

HubSpot CRM is a free CRM that allows for a smooth start, just upload your database and you are on your way. The catch: Hubspot hopes that FREE users will like their cloud software so much, that they will want to purchase their marketing (SaaS) platform that starts at $200 per month. 

This platform is a great launch pad to get acclimated to the CRM world. 

Make sure to download SideKick for business; it will supercharge Hubspot's CRM. The tool is free, with limited use, and plans start at $50/user per month. This tool easily allows you to add contacts directly from your email, amongst additional features. Sidekick is a must if you use this platform.  We fell in love with HubSpot, so we are currently test driving the marketing platform (we will let you know how it goes). The one negative we took away from the platform was their lackluster mobile APP. This small detail will be a negative if you have sales representatives in the field. 

We now know that there is a viable alternative to the big hitters in the industry. Pipedrive has developed an excellent product: in the last six months, we recommended this to three different clients, and all three implemented the platform. It's visually appealing for visual learners and easy to use for the organization as a whole. Pipedrive has a 30-day free trial, perfect for a test drive. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is the implementation of any new CRM requires buy-in from key stakeholders, and will require scheduled training to ensure employee adoption. 

 

Have more questions about CRMs? Send us a message!

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What does a sprinkler system have to do with business automation?

 
The importance of business automation
 

Business Automation and its Importance

People love their yards. At the first sign of spring, they buzz around happily, going from task to task, getting their lawns ready for the summer to come. They aerate the ground, fertilize the grass, spread mulch, and tune up the yard tools. They might even carefully measure the time and amount of water given to each area of the yard. They go out faithfully every evening and hand water every single blade of grass. 

May comes around and the lawn is a lush green carpet ready for summertime cookouts and nighttime stargazing. Can you see it?

Then the middle of May comes around and the distractions of work, family, or school all compete for your time, so you use a sprinkler attachment in place of hand watering. The attachment is great because it frees you up to do other things - at least until you have to go out and move it every fifteen minutes. So you go out only to discover a kink in the hose. How long has it been there? Did this area get enough water? You don't want to over-water, because that brings in a new set of problems. So you move the hose to the next area, but realize the hose is too short to reach that back corner near the fence. Maybe you open the spigot to full capacity, but now you've got water spraying out from the connection, getting the dog wet. And nobody likes the smell of wet dog.

A better solution would be to install an automatic sprinkler system. Sure, it takes time and money to install on the front end, but once you program the timer, the system does the rest, leaving you free to focus on other things. You get the benefit of a beautiful, green lawn, while saving time, money, and energy.

It's a simple analogy, but the same is true for business automation. Yes, it will require some upfront costs, but by implementing automated processes, you, your employees, your business, and your customers all benefit. You save time and money in the long run. Workflows are streamlined and run more efficiently, which minimizes errors, which in turn lowers costs. Accountability becomes transparent and communication becomes clear - on a sprinkler system, it is easy to see when there is a malfunction and where it is located. If communication is clear, then the messaging your customers receive becomes clear, helping them to align to your brand, products, and services. Automation frees you up to focus on big picture items like growth and expansion.

Whether in yard care or business, automation is the key to streamlining processes.

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