Pros and Cons of having a CRM and how a Contact Sharing tool might replace it

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If you work regularly with different clients, then you probably have a CRM or at least might have considered having one to help you manage your sales process. But do your really need one?

Depending on what you’re doing, you may simply need a contact management tool. What are all the pros and cons of a CRM to consider before having one or keeping it, and how can you use Shared Contacts for Gmail® (a contact sharing tool) to replace it in case you need to?


Let’s start off by defining what’s a CRM

“CRM” stands for “Customer Relationship Manager”. This system is designed to compile information about your clients, so that all of the information relevant to your organization is centralized in a single place so employees like sales and customer support reps can access it . 

Some of the information you can gather in a CRM is: 
- A client’s website,
- Telephone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses
- Client industry
- Social media account integration
- Lead status or scoring
- Date of first contact

These are only some examples, but a CRM can gather much more information depending on which one you choose. You can compile this information manually or it may be auto-populated through built in integrations with third-party data sources. 

#1 Pro: You can centralize all your client’s information


In order for customer relationship management to be effective, it needs to be centralized and a CRM might solve just that centralization. Instead of trying to look in different tools, spreadsheets and notes for information, everyone can automatically be on the same page as they can have the same access to the same data. 

Con: Learning the new system might be time consuming. 


The process of learning and implementing your new CRM might take all the excitement away from having it, as it takes time for people to learn how the system works, what are the capabilities and how to accomplish tasks with it. Once everyone gets used to it, the benefits can be enormous, but the training period might be a killer. As instead of  setting up appointments with clients or reaching more prospects the time is consumed by the technicalities of the new system. 

If you believe that the information you need to centralize is more simple, Share Contacts for Gmail® might not be as sophisticated as an actual CRM… But it’s simple enough for everyone to use without the learning process and doesn’t turn into an admin chore, as it is perfectly integrated with your Google Contact Manager. 

#2 Pro: You can have an efficient dashboard for sales activities 

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Most CRMs allow you to organize the order in which information appears, so that the most relevant information is at the top of the screen. Additionally, some might even let you customize your dashboards, reports, and sales funnel in order to make a lot of tasks easier.

Con: CRM’s might be focused on the wrong person 

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Although automated processes can save time and make tasks easier, this also means that some human element in the business relationship might be lost. Not to mention that many CRMs are more focused on the needs of the sales manager than they are on helping sales reps sell. This might be counteractive as sales reps are the ones trying to sell and hit quota. 
Shared Contacts for Gmail® gives your team an atmosphere of collaboration instead of stress on the numbers, since everybody can contribute to the same address books and contacts directly from Google. 

#3 Pro: A CRM is a solution that grows as you do! 

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As the number of customers grow for your business, it might become difficult to meet the specific needs of each client, as there is a specific time investment that needs to be given for each new customer and follow up. This software is a scalable solution that will organize tasks and time for clients as the organization grows so that the needs of everyone can be effectively met.

Con: Cost & Support Process 

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A CRM might come with a high subscription cost, usually based on the number of user licenses. In addition to this, you might also need a CRM tech support. Many CRM companies will provide support, but it could come at a higher price that isn’t included on your first purchase of the solution. You may need to pay for outside consultation or hire an in-house administrator. This normally isn’t an issue for large organizations, but it could be for small businesses.

#4 Pro: Data can be accessed anywhere 

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This wasn’t a benefit a while ago, but now thanks to the cloud, you can access most CRMs online without having to install it on a specific computer. Not only that, but depending on the CRM you choose, some might offer you a mobile application so you can access the database on the go! A great example for this one is Zoho CRM, which offers a wide range of mobile apps to access such information.

Con:(Without proper setup) access might not mean user friendly

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Many CRM systems will automatically back themselves up through the Cloud, but not every system does it or it might take a while to be synchronized. Additionally to this, because of the sophistication on the information collected, it might be hard to get an overall glance from a mobile. Even Cloud systems can fail if there is a problem with the internet connection or the server on the other end. 

If you would like to access to your customers information on the go, Shared Contacts for Gmail is perfectly integrated with Google so the experience is smooth and seamless, unlike most CRMs. With Shared Contacts for Gmail, once contacts and contact groups are shared, the domain admin can enable synchronization for any and all users. This means your selected users can have access to all the shared contact details they need, via Gmail, Outlook and of course, on their mobile device.

Conclusion

CRMs can be amazing tools for organizations, but this doesn’t mean they are for everyone. The decision you make regarding CRM will depend largely on your business’ unique needs, goals, challenges and budget. Whether you decide to use one or not, the pros should outweigh the cons and if they don’t, there’s the chance that you might not need a CRM or might be using the wrong one for your needs. 
If you would like to switch from a CRM to Shared Contacts for Gmail®, without any strings attached or risks, you can try the app for free here. If what you need is a CRM then don’t hesitate to contact us in case you want help to find a good option. 

Regardless of what you decide to do, we’re here to assist you and give you the guidance you need!

Vivian H. Schrijver

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