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This article is based on Episodes 2-5

In this article,we will discuss a lot of things, but the main point be based off our guide to CRMs

1. Why You Need to Carefully Choose Your CRM

2. How to use CRMs Correctly so you can get your money’s worth.

3. How to Pick Your CRM, and What Options You’ve Got Out There

4. CRM Customization

Ultimate Guide to CRMs 2

Table of Contents

Things to Consider As we Uncover the Guide to CRMs

I. Carefully Assess CRMs in the Market

Have You Heard about This?
Scientific PROOF You Need to Use a CRM Wisely.

In this 2018 study, it was proven that cell-phone and laptop use during school classes lowered exam scores, even if the devices were being utilized to take notes.

The divided attention affected performance negatively.

It’s no different in business. If you have multiple devices (multiple applications and places you store data), your ability to retain information and efficiently process everything you’re learning on a daily basis will be compromised.

And your working speed will be minimized.

That’s the REAL problem a CRM solves: It puts your entire business and all its activities in one place so you no longer have to multi-task and negatively affect your performance.

So you need to carefully pick one which will truly be faithful to you in all your unique business activities. Contact management is only one of many features which help a business run.

II. How to Use CRMs Correctly

CRMs are NOT like your average Rolodex.
More like a 1600 Horsepower Engine for Profit.

When you think about that study, you can easily see why it’s a waste of resources to exclusively use a CRM for storing contact information.

I firmly believe businesses should have some organizational system that produces dividends, results in the form of saved time or decreasing “abstract” cost.

If a company can manipulate time and effort right, then that is a business that has economic value.

When systems and processes are created to decrease time costs in project execution, automatically nurture sales, and efficiently delegate tasks to team members, there is a statistical increase in the profit per minute.

In other words, the more time you save, the more money you’re making in a given minute.

And one of the easiest ways to save time is to get organized.
A CRM is the easiest way to get organized.
To store your whole business in one giant filing cabinet.

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Disarray and Disorganization is the EASIEST way to kill your profit Margins. You lose track of sale opportunities, and waste time searching for information while you try to execute a project.

How Smart People Use CRMs

Unlike single-purpose applications like MailChimp or Quickbooks, CRMs give you the ability to execute all tasks in one location, even if they are diverse in nature. This not only saves you money, but also energy and time.

CRMs give you the ability to focus on each task in your day in a mode of “specialization”, to reserve your energy, so you aren’t diverting your attention between various miscellaneous projects which end up never getting finished or forgotten about.

And when I say energy, I don’t mean vitality. I mean the willingness to work with will-power and dedication. Focus. It’s easy to be motivated when you are focused on one specific kind of task while everything else is being taken care of automatically from one place, like a CRM.

In other words, a CRM acts as your “second brain”, a place to automatically organize all your tasks and processes…Including sales and lead nurturing, to make sure you don’t leave prospects and profitable opportunities behind.

If you spend time switching your hats,
you spend time losing the sale.

In business, task switching, HAT switching, takes an emotional toll on you, especially when you haven’t had much sleep lately, you feel time pressure, and there’s a ton of things you need to get done.

For example, if you take on a sales role, you will optimize your work over time by staying in a “sales mindset”, which requires social skills, active listening, interpersonal skills, etc. Your entire creative process will be centered around your selling process.

However, if you are spending your days spontaneously switching back and forth between “sales mode” and “technical mode” (building out digital assets for businesses, for example), you end up diverting your attention between two completely different creative camps.

What will that do to your creativity?
Is it really possible to become an expert in one lane…
If you are constantly building out two different highways without any systems set in place?

A CRM gives you the ability to work on just one highway, focus on one task at a time, while the rest of your mental clamor is put to rest because you’ve documented all your systems and project data in one place.

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The more time you spend switching between tasks, the more highways you’re trying to build. You’re wasting energy by switching the “direction” of your thinking.

III. How to Pick Your CRM.

So Many CRMs. Which One is Best?

Now that you know what exactly a CRM should be used for, you might begin to scavenge the depths of Google, wondering which CRMs work the best, given their price and features.

It can be a real difficult decision when there are a ton of similarities between services. Everyone talks a lot about Sales Force, and it sure seems like the safest option, right? After all, the big dogs use it. However, Sales Force is designed to be super comprehensive and complicated. It is a monster, a beast which is used for company with thousands of employees. Ultimately, it is something to integrate entities into a massive world-wide conglomerate.

More on Sales Force: One of The Big name CRMs, but it has a Big Cost. So it’s Best for Huge Businesses.

For a small-scale business, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to use Sale Force. Sales Force has a lot steps involved to make sure process are in place and perfectly coherent. If you are massive company, you can’t really allow things fall through a crack and there’s no time for process execution to fail.

So you have plenty of risk management to make sure the whole system is in working order.For a small business, the greatest need is to track basic activities and prospect movement through the pipeline. So how do you get something which is real fast and easy, but not expensive, like Sales Force?

What About The Free Options?

There are free CRMs out there like HubSpot. It is one of the more popular ones, and most people use it out of the box as a Rolodex. There are ton of add-ons to choose from, like e-mail outreach, forms to input leads, etc. The basic features in this CRM are satisfactory for companies with under 100 employees. Hubspot can serve as a centralized place for assigning leads to a sales person.

A phone call and email address can be added to a lead and if the sales person leaves, the lead can be assigned to someone else. If you’re someone who is only using a spreadsheet, it is not 100% clear who is performing certain tasks, unless you go about constructing some elaborate formulas with drop-down menus. It takes a lot more effort and time to do it that way.

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With some free options out there, it’s real tough to track which path each of your team member is on, which tasks are being assigned where. Then, it may become impossible to discern where the hell the finish line is.

BUT…Sometimes, even Google Sheets works best.

For the very first phone call and quick prospecting, a spreadsheet CAN work well. It’s rapid and efficient.

And if you’re communicating by email, you can easily select all the email address in the spreadsheet and send your contacts messages with the right batch emailing tool. That said, it is not necessarily the best long-term solution for companies that have longer sales circle. However, if you are doing a one-call close, it could really work well.

One Significant Downfall of Hubspot.

Hubspot has a ton of features and is real useful for assigning roles to team members. However, unlike a spreadsheet, it’s impossible to have all the information in one spot, without having to click around, switch screens, etc. in order to have an idea of how the data all works together.

For example, with a spreadsheet, you highlight a row and do whatever you want to do with the contents.

Google Sheets is a free application, which you can use for your prospecting if you’re just getting started and are looking for a viable way to organize your outreach priorities, if you follow this guide to CRMs you will be more efficient with Crms

Customized CRMs

While Sales Force is an organizational beast, there aren’t really customized opportunities and features for a unique personality or individual business owner. The development and licensing with Sales Force can go up to 5 figures, while some Sales Force integrations may be closest to 10 figures.

However, there is open source software out there (free or low-priced) which has customization options, like Sugar CRM and Suite CRM. Sugar CRM allows the business to hire a developer to custom or create a solution tailored to their business, which opens up room for the experience of revolutionizing their organizational process.

Not only are businesses able to get something going which is constructed within their website framework, but the entire collaborative customization process is something that builds a sense of synergy.

However, when you are custom developing a process and must design it in a way that it is integrated and streamlined into your business, it takes a lot of time with all the design phases it calls for. So if you are trying to design something from down-up using an open source library such as Sugar CRM, then you will run into having issue of turn around that is close to 3 months.

Caveat: Customization Means Opportunity Costs

If it takes three months to customize my CRM, than I am missing out on sale opportunities. A typical sale for me can bring in $10,000 revenue with a life-time relationship with that customer. One sale can pay for customer integration and some, but if I am waiting 3 months for a Sugar or Suite CRM to be made from ground-up, then it will be a loss in the end.

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Customization gives you the opportunity to reflect your own personality, thinking processes, and work style in your CRM. However, the process can take months on end, unless you utilize the process I did (read ahead).

Monthly Subscription CRM’s.

Some CRMs are paid for monthly. It seems that Copper CRM is taking the market by storm and they are making it easy in that no one on the user’s team is required to execute data entry. All of a business’ leads can be integrated from email and synced directly to an outreach platform, such as Linkedin, so prospecting can take place without any unnecessary data transference.

That saves a lot of time, and if any extra features are needed, it takes between $15 – $30 to get one’s own HubSpot account. It’s really about knowing what exact minimum features one needs to get their personal project done, and how to obtain said features in the most efficient way.

If you’re not sure which features you need, than it may be good to find someone to consult with. In other words, it’s NOT about looking for the “best CRM on the market”. It’s about knowing what exactly you need to be able to do, and how to have the necessary tools to execute those tasks efficiently and cost-effectively.

IV. CRM Customization

One of the BEST CRMs: The Power of Customization.

I’m in love with Zoho. Sure, I’m biased because I’m a client of theirs, but their development partners offer so many customization options for their price point. It would be unwise to invest in something much bigger like Sales Force, which is geared more towards the big dogs with unnecessary features.

Zoho.

Zoho has a pick-and-choose “button” interface. You get to select which features you want and don’t want in the course of 5 or 10 minutes, so within a short period of time, you can have a CRM which reflects your personality perfectly…and no excessive time costs. Not only that, but the interface of Zoho is intuitive.

Anyone on your team who picks up where you leave off will be able to understand what’s going on in your business processes. It’s not worth paying $10-$20 a month for a CRM which you have to “bend yourself” to. A lot of those tools you’re paying for don’t have the specific features to fulfill your needs and unique business processes. So you want some more customization options for yourself.

This Benefit Beats Them All

If I can make ten times as many calls and emails as before, how valuable is the time advantage?

If was able to set 25 more appointment through phone calls and send about 500 email messages a week previously, but now can send 2000 email messages per day, will I not get cold opportunities from that?

That’s the impact of a CRM.

Zoho only has two partners in Minnesota who will do development, so there isn’t much documentation out there about customization options with it.

It’s all about who you know. That said, because of the way this CRM is constructed, customization won’t be a matter of hundreds of hours as with other platforms. Instead, if you’ve got a developer to work with, you can get exactly what you want within a short period of time for about $30 or $75 a month.

guide to crms
Once you know exactly how your own business works, how it moves, what repeatable systems you have, and which processes you need to allow for, picking a CRM isn’t so puzzling anymore.

Create a Management System that Speaks in Your OWN Language and Process.

At some point in my business, I wanted to be able to understand all my processes from afar, document my client criteria, keep my data organized, etc. These are real important to me, which is why I reached out to a custom CRM company in Minneapolis to take that next step.

If you’re in the same boat and you are wanting to prioritize organization in your business to open up more room for sales opportunities, consider what you want your design and development process to look like with your CRM.

Do you want it to take a few months or a few weeks? If it’s the latter, Zoho is a great fit for you.

Two Important Questions to Ask Yourself.

I had the chance to speak with a brilliant marketer today and he asked me two real important questions as I brainstormed my CRM infrastructure:

1. “Where are you at with your internal processes and systems?”

2. “How do you typically bring in a sale? (The Customer Journey, etc.) “

It was a 90 minute conversation and I took a lot of value from it. I got a clear big picture about my mission and what exactly I do for people as a marketing company. I was humbled by this guy’s experience within marketing, he is a bit older, enriched, and experienced fellow that has been doing sales with IBM for a long time, so he understands how all this works.

I wanted to pass on his great advice to you. Ask yourself these questions. Figure out what sort of processes or procedures you need to automate in your business, then figure out what exactly you want your “centralization of data” to look like in your CRM.

Create repeatable systems for all of your critical activities, and use your CRM to solidify those processes and automate everything you’re doing.

If you are wondering what I mean by internal processes, check out the book The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. Basically, you want to create a repeatable procedure and/or protocol for any sort of important activity you’ve got going on in your business.

And then you want your CRM to reflect those procedures. To open up space for you to execute them.

More Efficiency. More Sales.

Using a CRM will increase your sales typically by 10 or 20 times.In fact, I have closed 25 more appointments in a given time frame since amplifying my organizational priorities.

And now I’m increasing my efficiency further by moving my processes over into a customized Zoho platform. In the end, A CRM allows you to “duplicate” yourself as 3 or 4 automated and hard-working people performing various tasks, saving yourself hundreds of hours by using a $10 per week tool.

If you don’t want to do this, you’re essentially handicapping yourself and bottle-necking your own sales process, progress, growth, and success.

Until next time,

Jake.

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We couldn’t have pulled it off without managing our time and resources with a CRM 😉