Imagine this: You just opened up your business or consultancy and are ready to get your first sales. You need something, anything to help you take care of the components that make up your business – marketing, customer service, sales and invoicing. Understandably, you’re confused as to what to do next, so you do some research and find that a CRM (also known as a customer relationship management platform) is exactly what you need. But which CRM should you choose? This is an important question that many new businesses (and even established ones!) ask themselves.
You may have heard of Salesforce – it is a popular platform that integrates a support system for customers, sales reporting and marketing tools for your business. In fact, they’re one of the largest CRM systems available for small businesses and perform especially well in terms of marketing and sales tools. However, once you close the deal with a customer, the majority of what SalesForce does is complete; they don’t specialize in what occurs after a sale. For instance, there is very limited support for accounting software that can connect to SalesForce, which limits your choices in terms of billing which may require you to make changes to your current systems. In addition, you’ll find that support for certain features is missing, especially in the area of customer retention. Consequently, SalesForce may not be the best choice for your business.
It is important for you to consider the pros and cons of a bespoke CRM and Salesforce. Walking through the set up for SalesForce, you will notice that the majority of the options that you’ll find on the navigation bar are ones designed for sales: marketing, leads, opportunities, campaigns, and social media management, depending on the focus points you chose on sign-up. These are great tools to secure your first sales and there’s certainly merit to it; after all, a business must generate revenue to keep afloat. However, you must also consider the costs that you’ll incur to use SalesForce. At the time of this post, the base plan starts at $25 US dollars per user, per month, which can quickly add up for a small business. Worse, you’ll find that you are essentially locked onto their platform once you’ve gotten yourself set up, so upsizing means you’ll be required to upgrade your plan instead of considering alternative solutions.
This is where a bespoke CRM platform can help. Instead of focusing entirely on sales, there are options for you to manage customers after a sale and automatically process financial information so that your accounting process is simplified. Everything from stock management to orders to customer retention can be performed within a bespoke CRM. In terms of costs, you’ll pay a one-time development fee for the custom CRM and all updates are optional; in fact, the solution that Coherent has created for you can be taken to another company if you so choose. In this way, you’ll save money in the long run – not only on the software itself but on accounting hours and more.
It’s always a special moment when a small business makes its first sale. Now that the initial payment is finalized, what should you do next?
As with all transactions, communication is key for the continued success of a customer relationship with your business. Therefore, the next thing you should do is make sure that your customer is informed every step of the way as their order is processed.
With SalesForce, you may notice that it is geared primarily toward service-based businesses. As a result, there are quite a few options for you to communicate with your clients. However, there is a lack of support for timesheets within SalesForce by default. To enable it, you will likely be required to purchase a third-party integration or add-on to add support for it, given that the free add-on released by SalesForce hasn’t been updated since 2009. Furthermore, you’ll find it difficult to track the services you’ve completed for your client, which can complicate billing.
Once more, a bespoke CRM can resolve many of the issues that SalesForce cannot solve. For instance, timesheet functionality can be built into the platform, as well as progress tracking so that you can bill your customer as the components of an order are completed. Everything in a bespoke CRM is designed for your business; whether your business focuses on retail or providing services, we at Coherent can craft a solution that enables you to be successful as a small business owner.
As mentioned before, SalesForce is a CRM designed for sales and marketing. This aspect is important, but as other components are lacking, the experience you give to your customers is less than ideal. The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, once said, “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” In this regard, SalesForce’s less than ideal order experience can affect customer satisfaction, leading to a drop in referred sales, which for many businesses can make up a significant portion of revenues received. It is important, then to equally prioritize customer satisfaction.
In a bespoke CRM, features such as follow-up emails can be baked in to improve customer relations, or even staff performance monitoring. With the right tools, you’ll find that managing clients is easier and that your customers are happy. Satisfied customers are ones that return, and most importantly, bring you additional orders.
Especially with the base SalesForce plan, certain integration features are locked, making it difficult to automate day-to-day tasks that your business performs. The interface required to access it is hidden behind higher tiered plans, which can vary from being four to thirteen times more expensive per user than the standard option.
The namesake feature of a bespoke CRM is that it is designed to significantly reduce the amount of data you need to input. Not only do you not have to pay additional recurring fees for this automation, but you also won’t be wasting your precious time that you could be spending growing your business.
So, what solution is right for you?
Of course, SalesForce does have its benefits: the tools you have to make sales are excellent and especially at this age, being able to integrate social media platforms can be an important feature for businesses. So if you only need a sales tool, then SalesForce may be right for you. However, if you want software that doesn’t just help your sales team and software that helps you in every aspect of your business, consider having a bespoke CRM made for you.
With a bespoke CRM, many shortfalls of SalesForce can be addressed. Furthermore, you won’t be locked in after its development, and updates are optional. A bespoke CRM, most importantly, is owned by you. You receive full rights to the software after it is finalized.
Make the right choice for your business and book a consultation with us today. It’s free, and no commitments are necessary.