What is a CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an innovative practice designed to maximise the productivity and efficiency of businesses and organisations. Based in the Cloud, meaning it is all accessible with a click of a button, it provides a user-friendly platform for managing customer relationships, storing relevant information and organising day-to-day operations.
As a growing organisation, and incentivised by discounted prices for the charity sector, Action Tutoring opted to join Salesforce. It signalled a major change in the organisation in terms of the ways in which a) data was processed, managed and analysed and b) customer relations were managed.
Salesforce is comprised of a number of objects and processes that can be designed and adapted to display a certain type of information and perform particular tasks. It is open to configuration and uses a unique programming language to perform various complex processes that programmers can tailor to the needs of their organisation.
How we use it
As an organisation working with a vast majority of stakeholders and beneficiaries in the education sector, we require a system which allows to store and differentiate between our beneficiaries. Through Salesforce, we have added all those we work with – such as pupils, volunteer tutors and schools -onto the database and tailored each record page to display relevant information.
In addition to this, Salesforce allows for the creation of custom objects, where we specify ourselves what the type of record is we want to store and keep track of. For example, we track all of our tutoring programmes on the database, and have created links between the programme and the tutors and pupils placed on it. As a result, we have historical records of all programmes and the contacts involved in them.
The introduction to Salesforce and our continued development of it has had a hugely positive impact on our efficiency as a charity. The days of having to use excel spreadsheets to hold and edit the endless amounts of data coming in are long gone. The most obvious advantage is the amount of time saved by making the most of the process automation system on Salesforce. Here, we can configure emails to automatically go out to particular contacts at a given time, set up systems to can track and update our attendance to the programmes at a click of a button and have all the data and trends visible, and automatically updated, on our home page.
If reading this, you are envisaging Salesforce as a system isolated from other software and internet apps, then I have good news for you! A further benefit of CRM’s which we have made the most of, is the integration it offers to a variety of other apps and software on the internet. To name a few, it can be integrated with Google Mail, Slack, Trello and Form Assembly. This allows for information to be shared and updated between the different software, making it easy to track email activity with contacts, to do lists and tasks, and connect forms to Salesforce.
Overall, the biggest advantage of a CRM is having a single platform where data can be uploaded, stored, manipulated and analysed. With charities constantly growing and moving forward I cannot stress enough the benefits of having a system in place which moves forward with you, adapting to your needs and providing clever systems to make life easier for staff. There are a number of different CRMs available, and most offer incentives for the charity sector.
What are you waiting for?