Earlier this year it was reported that a huge 18% still owned Windows XP, whilst 53.4% run Windows 7 professional.
Seen as a country for industrial revolution and innovation, especially here in Derby, the UK has been shown in the report to be lacking either the cash or the impetus to change to newer systems.
As the UK government and Microsoft look for ways to incentivise the move to newer systems to upgrade the IT capabilities of UK businesses, I couldn't help but think about what else may be out-of-date in these technologically archaic companies.
I wondered whether multi-million pound businesses used Microsoft Excel to keep track of all their new enquiries and phone calls, or whether they still had a written log book of all potential customers?!
Perhaps over exaggerating the scenario slightly, but a CRM (customer relationship management) is now seen as a vital tool for business, even SMEs.
What is a CRM?
A CRM is a system for managing a company's interactive with current and future customers. Often installed via a software download, or use of a cloud-based system, the CRM acts to automate and synchronise sales and marketing.
Many CRMs offer different solutions and add-ons to create a near-bespoke product for your business to function in a slicker manner.
Why do I need one?
But why should manufacturing businesses in particular look to invest in a CRM if they haven't got one already?
Just like the stats that were revealed surrounding Windows XP, some businesses are happy to continue using what they are used to, because its easy and still effective.
Without a CRM system, businesses are now rapidly going to fall behind the competition and lose new and existing clients in the process.
Here's why it is vital you invest in a good system now...
You're missing out on...
The best way to show you how you can benefit is going through what we, Katapult actually use and how it benefits us. Our CRM is called HubSpot which is also an inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract new web visitors, convert leads and close customers.
HubSpot's CRM includes these 3 features, could you benefit from them...?
Store contact details
HubSpot allows us to store details about our contacts, their companies and details. As well as being able to add custom fields to store as much information as possible, we can associate and tag contacts with tasks to ensure we keep in touch with potential clients.
The CRM also allows us to filter and search to find a contact's details quickly for use when they may get in touch with us. A great tool for tracking contact points and storing our relationship status.
Connect quickly to leads
HubSpot allows us to work from the CRM inbox to send emails, place calls and schedule meetings with prospective clients. After communication, we can then use the tool to record notes made in those meetings.
Again, this is a great way to ensure we keep tabs on potential clients, without second-guessing or trawling through emails to find the last point of contact. Also a very useful tool for manufacturing sales teams who may swap accounts from time to time.
Sychronised with sales
Our CRM gives us all the bits of information we need, as fed into the system using the two scenarios above. Integrated with HubSpot's marketing software, we can see when a potential lead returns to our website, and thus, their interest in our services has peaked.
From this information, we can act by either getting in touch with them to see if there is anything we can help with, or potentially arrange a meeting to discuss a future project.
The results for us, and for any firm including manufacturing businesses, is that we have our relationships logged and on our screen within a few clicks of a button.
This easy and integrated approach with our marketing software means we can also track where potential customers have come from on the internet, and look to exploit that channel further, increasing the chances of more potential customers.
For those in the manufacturing sector, a CRM could really prove to be a successful asset worth investing in. Have a shop around, find the right system for your requirements, and prepare to reap the rewards from your CRM investment.