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CRM Systems: A 10-Point Guide

CRM, or Customer Service Management System, is a necessary part of any business that needs to better understand its customers. Good CRM systems are designed to track interactions with customers so businesses in an organized space. Without an official CRM system, businesses often keep no record of interactions with customers or if they do, those interactions are no organized in one location. This creates problems with follow-up activities, leads and prospects, and staff turnover. There are several different types and features can be included in a CRM. How do you know which is the best one to use? Take a look at our 10-point guide before you invest in a CRM that doesn’t work for your needs. 1. Types of CRM Systems There are three different types of CRM systems that meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. A single entrepreneur can get by with a basic desktop version on one computer. Small businesses with more several employees often rely on a self-hosted CRM on a server. Larger businesses tend to use CRM systems that are hosted on the cloud and can be accessed anywhere via WiFi because a third party provides it. 2. What does a CRM do? The question should be what doesn’t a CRM do. The real goal of a CRM system is to manage customer contacts – everything from basic details like phone numbers and email addresses to details about conversations. With this information, users can track activities and goals to build sales. The CRM also helps employees take a customer from the lead stage to the conversion stage – even if more than one employee is involved. 3. Do CRM systems integrate with other applications and systems? Yes. They can be synced with email programs and calendar applications.  Some CRM systems actually have messaging functions built right in, so they do not need to be synced. Larger companies benefit from complex CRM systems that allow employees to interact within them. 4. Can CRM systems customize data for individual employees? Yes. All three types of CRM systems have dashboards that can be customized based on…

Meet the startups in the latest Alchemist class

Alchemist is the Valley’s premiere enterprise accelerator and every season they feature a group of promising startups. They are also trying something new this year: they’re putting a reserve button next to each company, allowing angels to express their interest in investing immediately. It’s a clever addition to the demo day model. You can watch the live stream at 3pm PST here. Videoflow – Videoflow allows broadcasters to personalize live TV. The founding team is a duo of brothers — one from the creative side of TV as a designer, the other a computer scientist. Their SaaS product delivers personalized and targeted content on top of live video streams to viewers. Completely bootstrapped to date, they’ve landed NBC, ABC, and CBS Sports as paying customers and appear to be growing fast, having booked over $300k in revenue this year. Redbird Health Tech – Redbird is a lab-in-a-box for convenient health monitoring in emerging market pharmacies, starting with Africa. Africa has the fastest growing middle class in the world — but also the fastest growing rate of diabetes (double North America’s). Redbird supplies local pharmacies with software and rapid tests to transform them into health monitoring points – for anything from blood sugar to malaria to cholesterol. The founding team includes a Princeton Chemical Engineer, 2 Peace Corps alums, and a Pharmacist from Ghana’s top engineering school. They have 20 customers, and are growing 36% week over week. Shuttle – Shuttle is getting a head start on the future of space travel by building a commercial spaceflight booking platform. Space tourism may be coming sooner than you think. Shuttle wants to democratize access to the heavens above. Founded by a Stanford Computer Science alum active in Stanford’s Student Space Society, Shuttle has partnerships with the leading spaceflight operators, including Virgin Galactic, Space Adventures, and Zero-G. Tickets to space today will set you back a cool $250K, but Shuttle believes that prices will drop exponentially as reusable rockets and landing pads become pervasive. They have $1.6m in reservations and growing. Birdnest – Threading the needle between communal and private, Birdnest is the…

Artificial intelligence: the next step for CRM

Selling as a trade has developed exponentially, from paper to spreadsheets to system of record to customer relationship management (CRM) software. The rise of CRM software in the early 90s was the first significant technology breakthrough in sales. The various attempts made towards the direction of delivery models – from on-premise and software-as-a-Service (SaaS) on The post Artificial intelligence: the next step for CRM appeared first on Small Business.

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