#30DayBlog – Day 10 – Software Development, it’s what we do.

Some of what we do

Whenever you go to a networking event you always get asked ‘What do you do?’. Some you have to get up and do a 30-60 elevator pitch, at others you just mingle with other attendees and have conversations about your businesses and other aspects of your lives. This is all part of building the relationship and trust with these people.

But what do we do?

Here at Convallis Software we are primarily a software development company. We help businesses become more efficient through the effective use of IT. We specialise in online and offline custom database solutions, tailoring software to the customer needs. These sorts of projects can be time-consuming and expensive, but think about the investment in terms that no-one else will have the same software as you, and you are using something that will help your business become more efficient, effectively saving you money and increasing profit in the long term.

Other aspects of the business include IT Consultancy, advising customers and helping them find a solution to their issues. We also offer our own CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, ConvallisCRM, which provides contact management, products and sales automation features plus much more. This is used quite often as a basis for custom software development as it can help keep down the price of a tailored solution for a customer.

The final things that we offer are various web solutions including affordable website packages, including e-commerce and also custom web development. We help design, set up and host your website and then there is an easy to use content managed system to allow you to update your website whenever you want to at no extra cost.

I hope that this gives you an idea of what we do, and if you want to find out more why not take a look at our website for a more comprehensive view.

#30DayBlog – Day 4 – How Do I Manage My Contact Database?

This is a question that I have been asked quite a few times in the past. As a business grows their database of prospects, customers and suppliers increases and can become unmanageable on pieces of paper, a business card file or a confusing spreadsheet. There then comes a time when a more formal system or software needs to come into play.

This sort of application is generally called CRM, which stands for Contact or Customer Relationship Management.

Once a business decides to go down this route it’s essential that they understand what objectives they want to receive from using any formalised system and that any application that is chosen will fulfill those objectives. Do you just want a simple system to record your contacts and be able to find them easily, or do you want a system that can be used for other things, which may include targeting your marketing, recording all interaction with a contact and recording your products and sales.

Once you’ve decided what to use, if you have not already done it, it’s worth going through your database and selecting appropriate categories etc that they fall into. For example customers of a particular product or service, your suppliers, your prospects. This will help organise them when you want to do a marketing campaign or follow up leads on your prospects. Once you have your existing data in place check that the solution you are using can import it if you already have it in electronic form, otherwise you will have to add each contact manually. The advantage of adopting a system early on in your business, means that there would probably be less manual work to do, and as your business grows your database will grow with you and you have everything that you need about your contacts to hand.

To find out more about ConvallisCRM, our customer relationship management software and to download a free 30 day trial please visit our dedicated website.

CRM – the perplexing question

The people ask - What is CRM?

What is CRM?

There are many times when we are out and about that we’re asked what CRM is, to which we normally reply that Customer Relationship Management is the process of recording who your customers are and what communication you may have had with them. A common response to this from a small business person is a perplexed expression together with a comment along the lines of that not being relevant to their business.

To some extent that business person is right, the full breadth of how CRM can help may not be relevant, but it quite often is and whats more is normally already being practiced by them. We all need some means of recording who our customers and prospective customers are, even if its just the name, address, email and phone number gleaned from a business card. This information will be kept in a database of some sort, whether that is in Outlook, or as a list in Word or Excel, or perhaps a shoe box containing business cards. That is the core of any CRM system and so from that point of view every business no matter how large or small is already engaged in the process.

What a more advanced CRM process can do is take that core information and build upon it, perhaps recording details of communcations and quotes/orders that may have been created. Over time as more data is added questions can start to be asked that can be answered by querying the database. Questions such as when was the last time we communicated with our customers? Who haven’t we communicated with in the last 6 months? Who have we quoted to sell Product A to in the past 6 months? Or perhaps 12 months ago? Can all potentially be answered by querying the data.

All of these questions and others like them may or may not be relevant to a given business depending upon their circumstances. But asking them can have a dramatic impact on how a business markets itself, because the results can be used to create lists which target just those contacts. This means instead of taking a scatter gun approach to marketing (i.e. targetting all contacts) your business can target a specific marketing campaign at specific contacts. This has the potential to save the business a lot of money in both printing and postal costs for any given direct mail campaign. But if the CRM includes the ability to send mass emails, perhaps with a built in system or by outputting a list which is then imported into a web based service further savings are possible.

Also if the right question was asked and the right message communicated this should result in a higher percentage of positive outcomes to that campaign. That means that not only can the business save money by targetting a particular message to a subset of customers but it may well result in a better response.

So a properly implemented CRM process should result in the CRM not only saving the business money, but also, with intelligent use of the data, making it as well. This is on top of other benefits such as providing customers with a better customer service experience.