Don’t let anyone tell you there’s something wrong with being an old-school company.
In fact, sometimes being “set in your ways” can be a plus.
Because in a day and age where tech moves so quickly and “the next big thing” in business constantly claims to be around the corner, it doesn’t always pay to believe the hype.
That’s why many traditional businesses are skeptical of “new” software such as CRM (we say “new” because CRM has actually been around for decades).
The reality, though? CRM isn’t a shiny new toy for businesses anymore. And the beauty of CRM is that companies of all shapes and sizes can get on board—not just startups and small businesses.
Maybe you work in a “boring” industry (think: building materials or construction).
Or perhaps you have an older sales team that likes to keep things simple.
Either way, CRM might be just what your old-school business needs to reach modern customers. This guide breaks down what traditional companies can get out of CRM and why doing so is much easier than you might think.
What is CRM, anyway?
CRM is all about relationship management, plain and simple. Your CRM serves as a central hub for your business, allowing you to track meaningful interactions with your customers and build better relationships with them as a result.
And although data is a significant piece of the puzzle, building relationships is the ultimate goal of every team that uses a CRM.
Whether your company has been around for five months or five decades, we’re all doing business in the Relationship Era today. Modern customers crave personal, authentic engagement from the companies they choose to support. CRM is crucial to meeting that expectation and providing the best customer experience possible.
What are 3 big-picture benefits of CRM for traditional companies?
So what are the incentives for older companies to get started with CRM if they’ve been without it for so long? Below are some major upsides to consider.
1. Manage your massive list with less manual legwork.
CRM software saves businesses serious time when it comes to managing customers and leads.
This is particularly good news for businesses who’ve been around the block, amassing hundreds or thousands of active contacts along the way. A CRM provides a comprehensive snapshot of your business base at any given time.
Whether it’s a current customer or new lead, automatic data capture through your CRM means that customer data is populated for you. Having all of your essential customer information and interactions stored in one place if a game-changer when your list is always growing.
This approach to relationship management is also a smart alternative to juggling spreadsheets and entering customer details by hand. For example, Copper users save an average of 13 hours per week on data entry alone.
2. Understand your bottom line.
The amount of data businesses can collect and analyze is absolutely staggering.
Want to know if you’re on track to meet your revenue and sales goals?
Interested in who your top-performing salespeople are?
A CRM can clue you in within seconds without you having to lift a finger.
Sure, spreadsheets have all the numbers. But through CRM, you have instant access to useful, relevant reports that you can share with your team at any moment.
Another added bonus of moving away from spreadsheets is that your customer data becomes so much easier to organize. A CRM can instantly sort and filter your list of records (leads, companies, tasks) without dealing with clunky formulas and tables. This results in the data you need at your fingertips in an instant.
3. Align your sales goals.
When teams are in silos and working totally independent of each other, collaborating on a common goal becomes an uphill battle.
On the flip side, teams working within a CRM have a sense of transparency and accountability that keep them on the same page. (To learn more about team selling—and how to do it well—check out this guide.)
A CRM provides a clear view of what team members are working on and likewise what their top priorities should be. This leads to teams being able to focus on sales activities that will close more deals faster.
Dispelling the most common CRM myths for older companies...
Let’s assume you’ve been burned by less-than-stellar business software in the past.
Hey, we totally get it.
But that doesn’t mean your CRM solution is a dud.
Many of the complaints about CRM come from the same misconceptions parroted by naysayers.
To set the record straight, let’s quickly debunk some of the most common CRM myths for traditional companies.
“It’s too late to learn a new system.”
You might feel like you’ve missed the boat on CRM if your team isn’t made up of techies and twentysomethings.
Nope. Not the case at all.
Although a CRM can be incredibly robust, the learning curve for most solutions is surprisingly low.
For example, Copper integrates seamlessly with Gmail for teams that work primarily out of their inboxes—if you know how to use Gmail, you know how to use Copper. This allows you to do business as usual while enjoying the benefits of CRM.
Plus, some CRMs even have Customer Success teams ready to answer questions and webinars that walk you through how to set up and use a CRM. (Here's how our CS team uses a CRM.) There really is no age limit to learning new tools.
“CRM will just slow my sales team down.”
CRM is all about saving time. Investing in a CRM solution is the ultimate way to boost your sales productivity. Doing so allows you to spend your valuable time with your customers rather than tedious tasks.
For example, a CRM can qualify leads automatically based on your company’s specific criteria so you’re spending your valuable with people who will realistically convert. Other features such as email templates and automated follow-ups are also major time-savers for your sales team. Ultimately, a CRM should speed up your team’s processes.
“Implementation is costly and time-consuming.”
Long gone are the days of month-long onboarding and installing software machine by machine.
As for the price tag, most CRM solutions offer tiered pricing options based on your budget and needs. The wealth of competition in the space spells good news for businesses as price points are kept competitive.
Traditional companies in particular are crushing it with CRM. Here are 3 reasons why.
At this point, the benefits of CRM are clear. Yet why do older companies, in particular, have so much to gain?
1. You already have an established customer base.
The longer you’ve been in business, the longer you’ve been collecting data on relationships.
As a result, most traditional companies are sitting on a treasure trove of information.
Best-selling products. Customer lifetime value. The list goes on and on.
With a CRM, you actually have a place to populate and organize that data to turn it into something that you can use to nurture relationships—not only with customers, but also with vendors, contractors, and more.
2. You know what your customers want.
No software can replace your seasoned salespeople.
However, a good CRM can supplement them to perform even better.
Your sales team probably has a working idea of what customers want and likewise what it takes to close a lead. Your CRM acts as a system of checks and balances to confirm which touchpoints are most important in building those ever-so-important relationships. This allows you to focus on the specific activities that result in sales.
3. You (probably) have a larger, more experienced sales team.
If you’re managing a larger sales team, the ability to bring out the best in each individual has exponential positive implications for your bottom line.
Accountability is part of what makes a high-performing sales team. In addition to helping you understand your most important sales activities, a CRM is capable of highlighting your best salespeople and which individuals might be struggling. This allows you to plug up holes in your sales funnel and directly address sales strategies that aren’t working.
Don’t mistake monitoring individual salespeople as playing the role of Big Brother, by the way. The purpose of assessing individual performance is to empower team members—which is only possible if you can provide praise to top-performers and support to those who need it.
The end result is a sales team that’s in-sync and working to the best of their ability to reach their quotas and company-wide goals.
And hey, isn’t that what all businesses want?
Bonus: See how a traditional company like Tamlyn uses CRM.
To wrap things up, let’s take a look at a CRM story from Tamlyn, a worldwide building supplier—and very traditional company—that’s been around for half a decade.
The folks at Tamlyn went from skeptics to very efficient CRM users within the span of about a month. According to Tony, Director of Sales at Tamlyn, their sales team experienced a sort of snowball effect as more and more people got on board:
“It was interesting to watch the team become energized as they noticed the efficiency and productivity in their workday once they started using Copper. The ones who were slower to adopt are starting to jump on the bandwagon now because, well, they can see from their peers that it’s the key to success.”
The major takeaway from Tamlyn’s story?
CRM is for traditional companies too, even if teams have little or no experience with software.
Ready to get started with CRM?
Traditional companies are understandably wary of new software that makes too many promises.
That said, CRM has proven itself invaluable for companies from all walks of life.
Big? Small? Old? New?
The label doesn’t matter. With the ability to both automate time-consuming tasks and improve the quality of relationships, CRM software provides companies the tools they need to close customers more efficiently today.
The good news: adopting CRM software is easier than ever—and traditional companies have arguably the most to gain.