What do you gain by using a CRM rather than a customer file?
Client File: Definition
A client file is usually in the form of an Excel (or other spreadsheet) file. It contains information lines for each customer (contact or company). It also stores information about ongoing cases, won or lost, either on the same lines or in a separate section.
We have grouped below the different additional possibilities that a CRM such as Corymbus offers. A customer file usually does not offer them.
Client file or dedicated application?
CRM is an application specially designed for sales and customer relations, unlike a spreadsheet. Access to information is therefore faster, simpler and more user-friendly. It is also safer, as there is less risk of unintentionally changing or deleting data. There are no buttons or menus that occupy the screen unrelated to the customer relationship.
A CRM also offers screens to clearly consult each data (contact, company, business, …). Conversely, a customer file often offers very long lines. They do not fit in the width of your screen. And they are drowned among dozens or even hundreds of others in an Excel tab.
With a CRM you can link contacts, companies, business or opportunities, activities, etc. (what we will later call objects) to each other. This is useful, for example, to indicate that a particular contact works for a particular company. Or that such contact is the person to contact for such a case. To remember the contacts who participated in an appointment, you associate them with the corresponding activity. As a result, when you consult a card, you immediately see the list of other connected objects. This may be, for example, the list of people working in a company. Or the list of ongoing business with this company.
Another indirect benefit of structured data in this way is. Indeed often a customer file will contain several lines for the same company, one per contact. This is necessary to keep everyone’s email addresses and phones. This results in duplicate information (such as the company’s address, which will be the same for all its contacts), and therefore subject to future inconsistencies (when the company’s address changes), as not all information will potentially be updated.
Searching for data
An advanced filtering function allows Corymbus to search, among a list of objects, those that meet certain specific criteria. This can be, for example, cases of an amount greater than a certain value, but also cases for which you have not recorded any activity for several weeks (which is a risk of losing the case). If a filter is used regularly, you can save it and then call it back with a simple click, so you don’t have to re-enter all its criteria.
Certainly, a spreadsheet offers filtering functions, but restricted to certain fields. They cannot be related to related items (for example, to search for all the companies with which you have won business in excess of a given amount. There are also limitations when you want to filter dates, for example to search for information older than X days. And the filters can’t be memorized, you have to re-set them every time!
A CRM like Corymbus allows you to group contacts arbitrarily and unlimitedly. You can thus create groups of contacts-customers, contacts-prospects, strategic customers. You can also group them by industry, for example to prepare an appeal session on a given theme. Or also, always with a filter, create a group with all the contacts involved in earned cases that have not yet been paid. You are then ready to make all your recovery reminders. Groups are also used to send targeted email campaigns (see below).
In a customer file, you could certainly provide a “Category” column, and filter the rows that contain a given value in this column. This approach has several disadvantages:
- the values may become very long and illegible, if you have a lot of categories or reasons to group contacts (eg “prospect coach Ile-de-France unpaid”)
- you will have to fill in the values manually. They will therefore not result from an automatic calculation, as a filter would allow (see example of the recovery above)
- a simple spelling mistake leads to the unintentional exclusion of contacts from the search. This can have far-reaching consequences!
Some CRMs offer predefined alerts on their dashboard. They inform you of anomalies in your data, in your customer relationship and in your sales. To cite a few examples: opportunities without amount, without company, contacts without recent interaction, late tasks…
There is often a need to review a recently entered or viewed object. To avoid having to search for it, a “history” menu offers a list of the last 20 objects consulted. So you can access it again very quickly in 2 clicks. One to open the history menu, and one to choose the desired object.
With an online platform you have access to your data from any machine connected to the internet. No need to be in front of the computer where the client file is located.
Thanks to crm, if it is smartphone compatible, you can also find your data when you are on the move. In addition to accessing data over the network, the different screens adapt for reading and updating data from your phone. Conversely, a customer file consisting of dozens of columns will probably be less ergonomic.
Sync with your address book and calendar
If you want, you connect the contacts you create or update in the CRM to your Google Address Book. Conversely, this allows you to retrieve your Google contacts in the CRM without having to re-enter them.
Similarly you can synchronize activities (appointments, phone calls, tasks, …) automatically in your Google Calendar.
A CRM allows you to store documents and link them to your opportunities, businesses, etc. This allows you, for example, to access in a few clicks the contracts, quotes and invoices sent to a customer, from the file of this company or this contact.
Email campaigns, beyond the customer file
To go even further, a CRM usually offers marketing functions to send email campaigns to all or part of your contacts. You can customize them with each other’s information, and then you can know who is checking your emails, and when.
Integration with your website
A CRM can also connect to your website, in order to automatically collect new contacts who will leave their details to be called back, to subscribe to your newsletters, or to download documentation. No need to re-enter their information in the customer file, the CRM does it for you, and right away. You can even receive an email alert to each newcomer, and set up an email that will be sent automatically to give him a first response, or even send him the requested document.
Conclusion: to go further than the customer file
If these elements have made you want to try a CRM, you can import your customer file into its database, the import function is designed for that. To use Corymbus you can create your free trial account here. And of course, do not hesitate to contact us if you want us to study together how to make this transition!