Remember three years ago when you depended on Zoom for work meetings and virtual schooling for your kids? While you’re probably really grateful the second one isn’t a reality anymore, the first one still had its appeal (unless something like this happened). 

Working from home had its perks. 

In a stroke of irony, the company that enabled us all to work from home during the era of social distancing recently started requiring their employees to spend some time in the office. Time to swap sweats for slacks.

And just like Zoom is figuring out how to improve their business performance by getting employees back in the office, you should be considering how to update the way you do business too. And not just when outside forces require you to do it either.

You want your business running optimally ALL the time. A good place to start is with evaluating your “tech stack.” Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. AI is sweeping through every industry. And what may have worked in the past for you may not be the best thing for your business right now. 

So, today I want to give you a little push in your mindset about the tech you use. Ask yourself: Is this software actually helping me grow my business?

Too many Atlanta businesses that I’ve seen fall into two categories: 1. They find tech that works and never change it (how many small business owners are still doing inventory by spreadsheet?) or 2. They fall into the trap of chasing the next shiny software object and don’t evaluate it for its ability to drive profitability and sales (whether initially, or in an ongoing way).

So let’s consider that ubiquitous tech that lies at the heart of your operations, your customer relationship management (CRM) system …

Effectively Using Your Atlanta Company’s CRM For Sales Management
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver (RIP)

What comes to mind when you consider your customer relationship management (CRM) system?

The reality is, whatever CRM software you use (be it Keap, ZenDesk, HubSpot, PipeDrive, or any of the many others that are out there) can often drive you to frustration. The blessing and curse of these powerful CRM tools is that despite easy-to-monitor dashboards and metrics, there can remain an ambiguity about how they should be utilized to grow a business.

Now, my intent here is not to provide a comprehensive review of the various CRM platforms. I’ll leave that to the software experts. 

But what I would instead posit to you is that no matter which one you use, unless you are putting it in its proper place, you might be continuously frustrated, even if you flee to the greener pastures of the next, shinier CRM to come your way OR if you never leave your pasture even if there’s better stuff the next field over.

“C” Stands for Sales
Think of the term itself: customer relationship management. Those “customers” are the ones keeping your lights on. And if you are going to spend money on a CRM tool, you might as well ingrain its importance for new sales into the minds of each of your team members.

There are obvious administrative and workflow advantages to using an established CRM software, but if it’s not driving a return on investment, why are you using CRM in the first place?

Sustaining existing customer and prospect relationships is critical, but it’s important not to neglect the value of CRM guiding individual sales efforts, whether those happen in a store, online, over the phone, or otherwise. It should lead to measurable quarter/year-end results. I’ll say it again: “C” should stand for sales … not confusion.

Collaboration Fuels Clarity
If you’re in sales, recognize you don’t have to play first base, shortstop, and center field all at the same time. If your job is to play first base, then focus solely on that position and realize winning is a team effort. Sarah in marketing is a great shortstop. And John in IT loves playing center field.

Consider a regular “CRM meeting” with your team members who use it, and talk about how each department can use the data that it contains for producing new revenue.

Such a meeting should help form and develop a sales cycle.

How can your staff create a collaborative flow so that qualified leads enter your system? Marketing to the ideal customer is obviously of first importance (so make sure your marketing people are mining the right data from your existing customers in your CRM), your sales and support teams need to see contact histories, and your management needs to be able to evaluate various campaigns for profitability — all should be possible within your CRM systems. And all should work together to drive revenue.

(Because as your bookkeeper/business advisor — as much as I love to see you keeping your expenses down, I equally love to see you bring your revenues UP. Each drives profitability.)

Aye Aye, Captain
Who is steering your CRM ship?

As important as your “on the ground” sales team is to your operation, those in sales management should provide direction and opportunities to grow because of the data you find within your CRM.

With the reports and metrics almost every good CRM tool provides, you or your managers can direct where their team should be focused from quarter to quarter. In addition, this person can help lead those regular CRM meetings and promote a collaborative environment.

Managers have an opportunity to empower employees to cross the finish line. And although it’s easy to plop someone in front of a Tesla (CRM), it’s a lot more beneficial to first provide them with keys, lessons, and roadmaps so they can steer your Atlanta business toward ROI.

Are you ready to get behind the wheel?


How does your Atlanta business utilize CRM? 

I would be interested in which platform provides you with good metrics. And if you’re not sure which way to go on this, let’s talk it through:


On your team,

Mark Perlberg