Using Off-the-Shelf Software to Manage Customer Relationships

You may think that the ultimate success of your company will live and die based on the quality of the products and services you offer... but from a certain perspective, you'd actually be wrong. Because as important as these things are, they also change all the time. They're in a constant state of flux. You're always releasing something bigger, faster, better - making upgrades and improvements along the way. The true foundation of your organization - the thing that gives you your edge and that guarantees you'll still be around in a decade - rests on a different kind of quality. The quality of the essential relationships that you're forming with your customers every single day.

So why, then, would you choose to manage something so important with a piece of off-the-shelf software?

A Special Experience Requires Special Software

Sales and marketing experts always talk about how one of your major goals should be to create a special customer experience - something that they just won't be able to match anywhere else. This relationship, however, also needs to be as specific as possible to each individual customer that you have. In the best case scenario, everyone should feel like they are always your top (or only) priority - even if you both know this isn't necessarily true.

Because of that, the tracking of each prospect is of paramount importance. Companies like yours want and need to know as much about them as possible. You need to be able to track your interactions with intimate detail, regardless of the shape those interactions take or even where they occur.

Yet when it comes to the software used for managing these relationships across the sales cycle, most companies still rely on one of a few very popular CRM applications. They're taking something that should be unique and special and cramming it into a "one size fits all box," ironically losing the properties they insist are very important along the way.

Simply put, if you truly care about individual relationships, that dedication needs to extend to the way you manage them, too. Most CRM systems can only handle basic tracking - they were never designed for the more complex client processes that you're dealing with. Many of them don't account for something as simple as billing, for example - always a cornerstone of a client relationship.

Off the shelf CRM systems fail when it comes to managing complex processes necessary for the sales and client relationship. Take for example the sale of commercial properties. An off the shelf CRM system simply cannot handle the numerous complex steps in the process of getting the property sold.

A true CRM system should be designed for your company's unique needs, allowing you to effectively manage each and every aspect of that customer relationship - both pre and post sales - all while taking full advantage of the experience that only you can create. It shouldn't force you to work the way everyone else does because that is precisely what you've worked so hard to avoid up to this point.

Only a piece of customized software can guarantee that, strengthening and empowering your sales process and your customer relationships at the exact same time.

Custom Software for Custom Relationships

In the end, it's important to remember that any piece of software you use should be designed specifically for your business. Your organization is unlike anybody else's, even those in the same industry and those targeting the same basic customers. This unique quality is absolutely what gives you your edge and it is what has allowed you to form better, more efficient and more organic relationships with your customers in the first place.

Using a stock piece of off-the-shelf software does more than just hold you back - it cuts off your access to these advantages in an instant. Where is your competitive advantage if all of your competitors are using the same software? If you truly want to manage your customer relationships more effectively in a way that gives you a competitive advantage, you need a piece of custom software that was designed specifically for your business needs - and you absolutely need it right now.

Lance Keene

Lance Keene

Lance Keene, the founder of Keene Systems, has 40 years’ experience in custom software development. Over the course of his career he and his team have written software for companies such as Mack Trucks, Bayer, Calvin Klein, Hershey, IBM, Kimberly Clark, Lindt, Sara Lee, Pfizer, BAE, L'oreal, Ocean Spray, Dana Farber, Tootsie Rolls, Guiness, Texas Instruments, and CVS. (see full client list)

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