3 Practical Steps every new Startup entrepreneur can take to quickly setup their CRM on Day 01!

Jaideep Tibrewala
3 min readApr 10, 2019

This article is meant primarily for those who are just starting their entrepreneurial journey. Others who may have already spent a few months in their journey are hopefully already doing what I’m about to talk about below. If not, do read on, because #everycustomercounts in any business, and if you are not making them count, you will be the biggest loser.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an important concept every business leader should understand. They don’t teach this in college or in most MBA programs, and it’s a skill that is mainly learned when you are in a typical “sales” role. But subconcsiosly, we are all doing CRM, whether it be through Excel worksheets or Whatsapp or our email clients. But none of these tools enable us to put a method to this maddness of keeping up with every customer engaged, for now and for the future. So how should you do it?

  1. Quickly learn/read-up some basic concepts of CRM

Pipeline Management — Customers go through different stages from the time they visit your website to the time they complete a purchase. Create your pipeline stages and define your #stagegates, which is a set of criteria customers must go through before they move from one stage to another. Then when you measure your pipeline, you will know exactly how many customers are in which stage, where are they getting stuck, and what corrective action you can do to enable them to move ahead. Example of stages could be Visitors, Registered, Qualified, Negotiating, Won, Lost, Disqualified.

Status Managment — Another quick measure to which you can add a metric, which can be used during the last few stages of the deal before the sale. It helps you prioritize the time you want to spend on/with the customer, because of their probability/proximity to make a purchase. Examples of status are cold, warm and hot!

Next Follow-up Date (NFD) — Never lose track of communication and coordination with a customer. Use the concept of NFD to always create a reminder (date and time) for you to follow up with your active customers, and not give them an excuse to tell you that you forgot to call them!

2. Identify a tool that you can use for your CRM

There are several free, freemium and paid CRM tools available today. Before you decide which one to pick, consider the following criteria:

a) How many team members are going to be using this tool?
b) Does it integrate well with your current email/calendaring system?
c) Is it an online tool with a good UX? Does it have a mobile app?
d) How much does it cost per user per month VS how much you want to spend?

All the above criteria will help you evaluate and decide on the tool. If you are just starting off and looking for something free that integrates well with Gmail and Google Calendar, start with #HubSpot. The leading industry product in the CRM space today is #SalesForce. #ZohoCRM, #FreshSales and #CRMNext are very competitive offerings in India.

3. Setup process and guidelines for you and your team to follow to engage effectively

Take a little time to understand how the CRM works, and then setup guidelines for how both your team and you will use the tool. How will NFDs be created and followed up on? What templates will you use in communication? How will leads get created and assigned to? What bi-weekly/monthly reports will you review within your team as part of your sales cadence?

All the above should enable you to get started quickly. I cannot stress enough how important it is to start with a CRM as soon as possible. If you want to learn more about CRM and simple practical ways of implementing it, feel free to contact me.

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