Customer Relationship Management software can be a little tricky to get to grips with, it shouldn’t be, but a lot of people do give up after a while, mainly because they are blinded by features and stuff they don’t want.

If you run your own CRM then these tips should help simplify your CRM life!

Disable Unwanted Features

A BIG must! Disable all the modules you don’t need and hide them. This will really free up the screen for the stuff you really want. I don’t need Inventory Management; I don’t use Campaigns, Documents or the SMS sender so they are all well and truly disabled.

Your screen will be a lot clearer when only the stuff you want is on it!

Delete Unwanted Fields

Another BIG must. Get rid of all the fields that you don’t need. I don’t want a DOB field for my contacts or a Ticker symbol for my Organisations and I don’t need to rate everything so all these fields are gone. Have a look through all the modules you use and get rid of the fields you don’t need.

Just like above, your screen will be completely uncluttered.

Use Workflows

Oh how they have saved me time. Define the way you want to work using the Workflows on your CRM. Create tasks for yourself and staff members, remind customers to do stuff and remind yourself to do stuff too! I have workflows that create tasks, update other modules and remind my customers to pay me! All automated and all save me time.

It’s Your System

How many time have you screamed at your CRM. BUT I DON’T WANT TO DO IT THAT WAY! I have, which is why I make sure my CRM works the way I want it to work.

Write down how to want to get from A – B in a business process and then work out how to get your CRM to do it. It may involve changing modules, creating workflows or even buying extensions and plug ins but it will give a exactly what you want.

Don’t Give Up

No, don’t give up! A correctly set up CRM can really help you even if you’re a sole trader. I have EVERYTHING in one place. I can see EVERYTHING about my customers instantly. I don’t need to worry if a contract is expiring as my CRM tells me and automatically asks my customer if they’d like to renew.

I have email templates galore for standard messages, I record time spent on client projects and then bill them. I don’t use lots and lots of apps with lots and lots of monthly payments – I just use my CRM and I love it!

Genuinely, I couldn’t do what I do using a diary, post it notes and stacks of Word docs and spreadsheets – it just wouldn’t work.

I hope this has inspired you to get cracking with your CRM and make it work for you. If you run a CRM for a small business make sure you talk to the staff and the poeple doing the jobs and get the system working for them as well as the IT department. If you’re a sole trader and think a CRM is just for the big boys then don’t – just tuen off all the stuff you don;t need.

I’d love to hear your tips so post them below – it may help me speed things up a tad!