Managing Your Customers

February 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm 1 comment

After reading Guy Kawasaki’s advice of building a bottom-up forecast, I began thinking that this approach could make it much easier for to launch my business into a full-time operation. By calculating how many phone calls (or contacts) one can make to potential customers in a given timeframe, one can put together an estimate on how much revenue you could bring into the business. However, I began wondering, how can I keep track of potential leads while trying to maintain my existing school workload and full time job? My workload can already be overwhelming and as a result my organizational skills summer immensely.

After doing some leisurely reading of Linux User & Developer magazine, I found came across a tool that might help me in this situation. Customer Relationship Management, also known as CRM, is a software platform designed to help businesses manage potential customer leads and help market your business. A popular and free CRM product is SugarCRM, which is an open source solution that one can download and install on your own webserver. SugarCRM also offers professional solutions, but in the art of bootstrapping and having access to someone with some computer skills, you can have the free solution up and running in no time.

(“Handshake“, 2007)

By using CRM software, you can keep track of potential customer leads, e-mail newsletters, and much more. SugarCRM allows you to measure and report information about your company, ranging from marketing to sales and support. In addition, SugarCRM also allows you to integrate its features with other software and services, such as LinkedIn and Google Maps. The company also offers an application for the iPhone, which allows you to login to your CRM environment and perform tasks remotely.

CRM software can be extremely expensive or time consuming, so tread carefully. As we have learned in Made to Stick and the Art of the Start, keep things simple. I think this tool can be useful for people that are constantly on-the-go and have difficulty keeping information organized. If you or someone you know is tech savvy and you find yourself in the same predicament as I do, check out SugarCRM and let me know what you think!

Nick

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Drew Mapes  |  March 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I really like this idea for managing customer information and marketing. I am like you when it comes to organization and time, it is very limited. I have many ideas that I would like to try for marketing, but don’t have the time to manage the inquiries I would get in return. Software could do a great job for managing results, but an extremely high price for the service could be a turn off.

    Reply

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