With February 29th the traditional time for an unusual marriage proposal, we’ve got one of our own.
Many marketing specialists see themselves as the incisive, statistics-led brains of the operation and sales folk as the sometimes truculent operatives who won’t do as they’re told. Meanwhile, ask a salesperson for their opinion and they will tell you that they do the hard work which keeps a business alive, while marketers mainly play around doing fancy designs.
If you’re a small business, you’ll know better than anyone that you have to wear both the sales and marketing hats, and that they both matter equally to the business. The fact is, marketing and sales are parts of a seamless continuum which starts with an empty sales pipeline and ideally ends with a bulging order book and some repeat clients to boot.
So, can opposites attract? Can love blossom between these intractable rivals? We think so. Luckily, there is a first-class matchmaker to bring your sales and marketing efforts together. It’s called customer relationship management or CRM for short, and Microsoft offers you several options.
Business Contact Manager (BCM) is an enhancement to Microsoft Outlook which comes free with Microsoft Office 2010 Professional edition, or as a low-cost add-on to the standard edition. It’s a simpler version of more advanced tools, uses the familiar interface of Outlook, and is an ideal starting point for CRM novices.
For power-users with an eye on budgets, there’s also Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, a fully-featured end-to-end CRM system from under £30 per user per month.
So, what will CRM do for you? Here are our top ten ways to apply CRM to your business.