What is CRM? CRM Explained for Beginners

what is crm

If the term “CRM” is an unfamiliar term to you, then you are in the right place. 

For now, let’s forget all about CRM’s and talk about the Magic Filing Cabinet.

The Magic Filing Cabinet

We all know what a filing cabinet is, but this is no ordinary filing cabinet. This one is magic! Let’s open up the top drawer and take a look inside. The top drawer is labeled: “Current Customers”

Hey! All of your customers are there! They are all in individual files sorted in alphabetical order – wow – easy! But wait, there’s more! This magic filing cabinet is…well…magic. So just say the words: “Show me all the customers who live in Dallas, Texas” and watch what happens…. Poof! A puff of smoke emerges from the files and when the smoke clears you see 17 files have jumped out and have landed on the top of the cabinet. You open each one of these file folders and sure enough, every one of these customers lives in Dallas.

Now you push a button on the top of the cabinet and all the files go back in – all in the right order.

Now let’s open the second drawer down. It is labeled: “Future Potential Customers”.

That first search was fun – but let’s try something a bit more complicated. Say: “Show me all my prospective customers who were added to the filing cabinet in the last 90 days, and who are looking to buy a house in the Oak Hill subdivision, and who have over $1 million dollars to spend.” Poof! Another puff of smoke and 3 files appear on the top of the filing cabinet. Just to be sure you open them and find that yes, indeed, these 3 prospects were added to your cabinet within the last 90 days and are looking to buy a property in Oak Hill and have over $1 million dollars to spend!

This is so fun!

Press the magic button to re-file these and let’s open up the third drawer down. It is labeled “Past Customers”. Let’s just see how magical this filing cabinet is! Say this: “Send the email template called ‘Come Back and Buy Again’ to all my past customers who are interested in Blue Widgets and haven’t made a purchase in the last 6 months.”

Poof! When the smoke clears, there is a stack of files on the top of the cabinet. But this time there is a note on the top. Here is what the note says:

There are 1347 folders in this pile.
I just sent the email called “Come Back and Buy Again” to each and every one of them, just as you requested.
Finally, these past customers are interested in Blue Widgets and haven’t made a purchase in the last 6 months.

Best Regards,

Your Magic Filing Cabinet

Whoa – That is Magic! Press the button to re-file these and take a step back and have a seat.

As you might have guessed, what you just witnessed was not really a magic filing cabinet, but a CRM in action. If you look closely at the metal tag on our Magic Filing Cabinet it doesn’t say “HON” or “U-Line”, it says “AllClients CRM”.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. That is just a fancy way of saying this is a tool to help you keep track of your customers: Past, Current, and Future.

If you own a small business you have a million things going on: all at once and every day. You have done your best and figured out a way to keep track of your customers. You might use an ordinary filing cabinet or spiral notebooks or sticky notes or you might use other tools like Gmail or Outlook to help you. In any case, if you are like most small business owners who don’t yet use a CRM, your customer information is in several places and you can’t perform simple searches and tasks that a magic filing cabinet, (or CRM) can.

3 easy things your CRM can help you with:

  1. Get Organized
  2. Reconnect with Past Customers
  3. Start Easy Lead Generation

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

1. Get Organized.

The most basic thing a CRM will do for you is to get you organized. You will put all of your contacts in the CRM: Past, Present, and Future. Gather up all your contacts from all the nooks and crannies you are storing them in today. For example, exports from old CRM’s, notebooks, sticky notes, your memory, Gmail, Outlook, ordinary filing cabinets… find all the places you have them hiding and put them all into your CRM.

Just this one step and you are way ahead of the game!

Now that we have all of our contacts in one place, you will categorize them as follows:

  1. Current Customers
  2. Past Customers
  3. Future Customers

(Depending on your business, you might call Customers: Clients or Patients or Contacts or something else. You will just replace the word “Customers” for whatever is most appropriate for you.)

You will go through each of your contacts and attach a category to their contact record. This will be a bit of work now but will be a huge time saver for you once you have this done. AllClients makes this as painless as possible and you can categorize your whole database in minutes.

If you have 1000 contacts, in AllClients you can Categorize your whole database in under 17 minutes! Oh, and you want to do the same thing in Hubspot or SalesForce? Settle in and get comfortable. You are going to be working on this for a long while!

2. Reconnect with Past Customers

If you have been in business for any length of time you probably have some past customers. Past customers can be a goldmine that many small business owners overlook. Businesses often think their new business comes from strangers that have not yet been introduced to them and they think they have to go spend a bunch of money to find them.

Let’s consider our past customers. Past customers can be a great resource for repeat business, referrals, and even social media testimonials. Most businesses can continue to market their offerings to their past customers. These people already know you, like you, and trust you. They are much easier to convince to do business with you again than are complete strangers.

They can also be a great referral source. Imagine if every one of your customers referred just one new customer to you. That would be enough new business for many small businesses. They could then stop wasting money on ineffective marketing. Here is a white paper teaching you to double your sales by using referral marketing.

In AllClients we have an easy way for you to reconnect with your past customers. You already know exactly who they are because you got organized in Step 1. We also have a reconnect letter template you can use to renew your relationships quickly and easily.

With AllClients, in less than 5 minutes you will be well on your way to re-establishing valuable relationships with your past customers.

3. Start Easy Lead Generation

Many small businesses are so busy delivering great service to their customers, they don’t have time to figure out marketing. If you want to get started doing some basic lead generation, you want to start collecting names and contact info for prospective new clients.

Let’s take the example of a Real Estate agent.

The Real Estate agent has a million things going on as they are working with several buyers and sellers at the same time. When they think about finding new clients, it is natural to look for people who want to buy or sell RIGHT NOW!

That’s the hard way – Here’s the easy way.

Find the people who are going to buy or sell in 6 months or in 1 year. Those people are probably not looking for an agent today, they are just thinking about things. This is a great time to insert yourself into the conversation they are already having in their heads.

AllClients makes this easy to do.

Picture this

  1. You offer a FREE REPORT called: “How to Prepare Your House So You Get Top Dollar When You Are Ready to Sell”
    (This can be a short 1 page Tips and Tricks write-up or a several-page PDF. You can even get someone else to write it for you.)
  2. Build a simple Landing Page to distribute your Free Report collect contact info.
  3. Once you get their contact info, you basically know that they may buy or sell in the next few months.
  4. Start them on a simple email drip campaign to stay in touch with them every couple of weeks…
    Let’s say you have 100 prospects who got your Free Report and are getting your emails on a regular basis. There is a small percentage of those people who will call YOU when they are ready to do a transaction.

    Easy-Peasy-Lead Generation!

CRM’s don’t have to be complicated. Just remember The Magic Filing Cabinet.

Find an easy-to-use CRM, like AllClients and you will be well on your way to reaping all the benefits a CRM can offer your business. In fact, sign up for a free trial of AllCients right now and get started today.

Frequently Asked Questions

AllClients does not charge a set up fee. We aren’t looking for a quick buck- we’re interested in long term relationships with folks who will be our customers for several years to come.

Our product is subscription based monthly and if at any time AllClients is not working out for you, stop paying us, take your data with you and we can still be friends!

Phone, email and chat support is included in your monthly subscription price. We also have great video tutorials and an online support community for do-it-yourself support. Remember, support is included, so don’t struggle – we are here to help.

Yes, you can set up a Team where you will all have separate logins. Each team member will have different access and rights to the system. Watch the Team Overview Video for more information or check out our Pricing page. 

Sure. Outlook, as well as most contact managers, will allow you to export your contacts into a standard format called CSV (Comma Separated Values). Once you have your data in a CSV format, it can be easily imported into AllClients. Watch this video for more details.

Yes, please see our HIPAA compliance statement here.

Yes, please see our GDPR compliance statement here.

Your client information is 100% yours. No one else can see it, or use it. And when you leave, you take your data with you. Be sure to keep your login information private and secure.

We use industry standard SSL encryption at the same level (128 bits) as online banks and financial institutions. (Look for the lock in your address bar). We make all reasonable efforts to secure and safeguard your data.

Nobody can promise 100% uptime, but we make every reasonable effort to ensure the highest possible availability. We only use the highest quality service providers and any scheduled downtime is late at night or on the weekends. You can check the history of our uptime here: AllClients Uptime Report (monitoring by Pingdom).

Yes. Find our app in the Apple Store and Google Play Store. We also have a mobile version of the product you can access on any smartphone that looks similar to the app. 

Any version will allow you to access your live data in real time (not a copy of your data). With live data, if you add a contact on your mobile device it is the same as adding a contact on your computer. Or if your assistant back at the office adds a contact, you will see it on your mobile device immediately. Watch this video to see how mobile CRM software works.

We do a daily, system wide, back-up that will help us recover if there is a catastrophic problem with the servers (unlikely). To safeguard your specific data, we recommend you back-up your own data on a regular basis. Do this by going to Settings > Export.

Do we EVER update it? How about Constantly! Our customers are currently using the live version of AllClients while we are creating and testing the next version. We are always looking for ways to make the product better, and we get all of our enhancement ideas from current customers.

AllClients was built from the ground up from suggestions and feedback from people like you. We welcome and encourage your ideas and feedback. Send your thoughts and ideas to our support team.

No! NEVER! As a customer of AllClients, all of your client data and your personal information (including your e-mail address) is private and will never be sold, rented, shared, reviewed, loaned, or in any way used by anyone but you. For additional security, please do not share your CRM software login information with anyone.

We have priced AllClients fairly so we can provide an excellent product that continues to grow and evolve with the market. You can earn a discount by referring a friend to us through our Refer-A-Friend program. You can also receive a price break by purchasing an annual subscription rather than paying month to month.

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