Business Management Platforms, Professional Automation Systems, and other operational platforms may reside at the core of your business. These platforms may assist you in handling tasks such as inventory management, quoting/invoicing, customer service ticketing, accounting, and sales prospecting with a built-in CRM. While offering this robust list of features, it is very possible these platforms could be deficient in one or all areas.
Though migrating to a completely different platform may be not an option if your operational tools are deficient, using API development services for integrating tools that are able to sync and adjust data (sometimes bidirectionally) to more specialized tools may be the more optimal route. This gives businesses the ability to dial back or possibly eliminate the use of a tool and supplement it with a more specialized solution.
Business Management CRM
As an example, we utilize a Professional Service Automation that is really good at notifying us and our clients of idle tickets. It integrates well with our backup solution, remote monitoring and management tools, and some other specialized monitoring to alert us of potential bad actors or catastrophic failures.
While we like it for these features, the built-in CRM lacks robust features for marketing and account management. The ability to integrate with our client’s email hosting platform gives us the best real-time information of who was currently employed or terminated as well as their related contact information. This is critical to our Managed IT Services, per user billing model.
What do you want out of your CRM?
In order to increase profits with a CRM, you first have to know what would most benefit your business. For our Managed IT Services, we obviously want the dynamic ability to track per contact count for each organization we manage. Unfortunately, core areas for a CRM like account management, prospecting, sales sequencing, and client engagement are not really that useful in our Professional Services Automation system.
Here’s the twist though: You could buy a CRM for all these features, but it may still fall short in one of these areas. Therefore, you will need API development services to set up another API integration for your sales or marketing team to fill the gaps.
How do all these API integrations work?
There may be a built-in native API that integrates with the potential software that you wish to use if you are lucky. Otherwise, the API must be built out by a software developer that specializes in API development services if the platforms you are using are open to utilizing third party API integrations.
If you are interested in learning more about our API development services, don’t hesitate to contact us!
How do I choose my CRM?
As discussed before, there are potentially multiple platforms retaining your CRM contacts. Our PSA is performing specific tasks for our customer contacts, but it is not cutting the marketing and sales perspective. However, to increase profits with a CRM platform, it may better suit your business to choose one that can perform some of these other functions.
While we have a blog post specifically tailored to covering some of the best of CRM software out there (see link below), it also important to take note of the following:
What is your workflow for generating customer contacts and cultivating leads?
Understanding that these customer contacts originate as “leads” initially is half the battle. We certainly don’t want to clutter our PSA, Business Management Platform, or whatever core operation tool with useless leads.
With that being said, our answering service populates both our PSA and our CRM platforms so our IT team and sales team can collaborate and work in their platforms for getting their job done. We “tag” the lead and later purge the leads in the PSA, but the lead is retained in the specialized CRM for marketing and sales to continue to cultivate the lead.
Utilizing a Sales Development Rep and Account Managers
Sales Development Reps in their most traditional role dial for dollars based off of lead lists. More specialized CRMs will import this lead list and add it to the sales pipeline for followup. Note that some CRMs are much, much better at this than others.
More roles have been introduced into the SDR role in recent years, such as creating sales sequences, setting up the automation of Direct Messages into platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram, joining Facebook groups, and hobnobbing at conventions to name a few. Establishing workflows is a must to increase profits and optimize operations with a CRM – cultivating these leads is a critical component to establishing know, like, and trust.
Got analysis paralysis? Check out the article below to help you choose the CRM best suited for your business:
Choosing the Best CRM Software for a Small Startup – Network Antics
CRM sources for accumulating contacts
A business accumulates contacts all the time, which increases the need for a system that will help you effectively manage and organize them. To save money and increase profits with a CRM, the CRM software for a small startup should consider how those contacts are processed and what you actually do with them. Here are a few ways of managing those contacts:
- Manual entry: Nobody wants to do this. Conventions allow you to grab the QR code of attendees. Ultimately, these should immediately be uploaded from a CSV to your CRM. See more below on automating the process of adding more contacts to your CRM.
- Front desk – answering service: Again, too much precious time is spent on this method. We discussed in depth in our Business Operations Consultant post about creating an API to automate contacts from the answering service to your CRM.
- Website – webforms – contact forms: This should be at the core of your marketing strategy. A business finds your site, likes what you have to say, and finds a Call to Action (CTA) to inquire further about your product or services.
- Prospecting: This may be cold calling or utilizing platforms such as Sales Navigator, but they all require sorting through a lead list and adding them as a prospect to your CRM or your Sales Engagement Platform.
Bonus Resources for CRMs and API Development Services
Want more insight on how to increase profits and optimize operations with a CRM and API development services? Check out our other articles to get all the answers you need.
Optimize Your Operations Through API Development Services Summary
As business owners, we all have a CRM, but how effectively are we using them? Is it a glorified white page for looking up current and old contacts? Let’s look at the CRM name itself – it’s a Customer Relationship Management system platform, not a CLU Customer Lookup Up platform, but I can pretty confidently say that CLU is all most organizations use it for. By clearly defining what your business needs from a CRM, you’ll be able to make a smarter choice that will save you tons of time and money in the long run. Similarly, finding the right API development services for your business will be a game changer.
If you have any questions and would like a professional opinion,