4 powerful business benefits of a simple CRM system

Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy needs to be underpinned by an appropriate system – and one that your sales team feels comfortable using in their daily role.

There's a lot of sense in opting for an easy-to-use CRM to increase buy-in from users and get the best results for your business. What other key benefits can be gained from a simple CRM system?

1. Improved transparency

Leave the age-old problem of knowledge sharing where it belongs – in the past. 

A simple CRM system breaks information silos.

The best sales people aren't just great at delivering a pitch – they understand your customers. So well, in fact, they can anticipate your customers' needs to identify what to sell, when, and how. They learn your clients' businesses inside and out to offer a genuinely helpful, positive customer experience.

That's a lot of value in one person's head.

All that value represents risk. What if your best salesperson were to get sick, go on holiday or worse, leave? Your customer relationship can't simply go on hold – you need their knowledge to keep your business running. That's where a CRM comes in.

Contact management is among the most common use cases for CRM system. Used properly, a contact management CRM means there's always an accessible database of customer information that anyone on your sales team can make use of. This breaks information silos, overcoming the risk of difficult transition periods when a new salesperson takes over an account.

2. Mobile field teams

In practice, the transparency granted by a CRM system means your sales people will always have an answer for your customers, no matter where they are. Cloud-based CRM systems allow for constant updates, enabling real-time movement of information between different sales people. Offline functionality also means that information can be stored on your sales peoples' devices for easy reference on remote business sites.

Some CRMs, such as Rhino by Forte IS, include straightforward messaging functions, empowering back office staff with a fast and direct way to communicate with sales people in the field. A message can be sent straight to any salesperson's device via push notification.

A simple CRM empowers your sales people to have more meaningful conversations.A simple CRM empowers your sales people to have more meaningful conversations.

3. Healthier customer relationships

Automated CRM functions allow your sales people to stay aware of the most important opportunities to your business. 

You might know a customer like this: They're low-touch, never asking for much and seemingly content with their current service. It's entirely possible for your sales people to neglect this relationship, as there's little pressure to do otherwise. 

But situations can change for your customers overnight – and they won't necessarily tell you as much without you asking. That's why call cycles and gap analysis reports are vital for ensuring customers are called on regularly and positive customer relationships are maintained. Regular check-ins mean your sales people can stay on top of how your customers' business needs are changing. In turn, they can identify opportunities to adapt the service or product package customers are currently receiving to better suit their needs – cementing your business as a trusted strategic partner.

4. Clear, actionable data

Lastly, a CRM system is a powerhouse of information about your customers and sales strategies. 

Every point of contact within a customer account should be recorded in your CRM system, building a vast database of customer communications and sales history. With Rhino, this bank of knowledge can then be presented in a number of off-the-shelf or custom reports, or exported as a .csv file for even further manipulation. 

Smart business reporting lets you look past your sales numbers and see the bigger picture of your company's performance and identify areas for improvement.

Your CRM system should simplify your sales process, not complicate it. For a CRM that puts your business needs first, request a free demo of Rhino today.

What are the most critical features of a CRM?


By now, you probably know your business needs a powerful CRM system to help you manage contacts and accounts. Choosing the right CRM system is the next step.

In a market so saturated with convoluted solutions, it can be hard to understand exactly what features you need to ensure your chosen CRM delivers great uptake rates and improved customer relationships.

In this article, we break down the most important features to look for in a CRM system.

1. Basic CRM features

There are a few basic things every CRM system should be capable of handling to be considered a functional tool. Core CRM features include:

  • Contact management: Building a searchable, organised database of customer information.
  • Call planning: Enabling smarter, more centralised call planning to ensure time is optimised, territories are serviced and customer relationships are nurtured.
  • Simple reporting: Creating visibility and insight into customer health and sales team performance.

These key features enable your team to work digitally within parameters of a single cloud-based data repository for all of your customer information.

Woman using a CRM system on her tablet, calling a customer and smiling.The right CRM allows your sales people to plan and execute meaningful business calls.

2. Ease of use

We’ve written at length about the importance of user friendliness in CRM systems in our blog post ‘7 reasons to adopt a user-friendly CRM system‘. Nonetheless, it bears repeating. If there’s one thing to take away, it’s this: nearly three-quarters of experienced senior executives surveyed would trade CRM functionality for ease of use, reports industry observer Niall Byrne.

3. Integration

Integration is crucial to ensure your CRM fits into your wider technology suite. Unless you plan to hinge your entire digital strategy around your chosen CRM, it’s important to check the system is capable of integrating with your existing (or future) enterprise resource planning (ERP) software or digital systems. Powerful CRM systems should connect with an API to allow for real-time integration, supporting the ease of use and reducing administrative load on your sales team and managers. Alternatively, depending on your existing systems, data transfer via FTP server should also be an option for your chosen CRM.

4. Automated and customisable reporting

While reporting is a basic CRM feature, it should be flexible. No two businesses are the same, so you need to have the freedom to manipulate data to gain insights uniquely critical to your business.

Customisable reporting allows you to segment your reports according to demographic and industry, customer health, value, sales period and other key dimensions needed to inform your business decisions and sales strategy.

Flexible CRM reporting ensures you can gain insights relevant to you.Get more relevant insights with customisable CRM reports.

5. Remote access

Our lives are spent on-the-go, doubly so for busy sales people who attend frequent face-to-face meetings. For this reason, “cloud-based” has moved beyond being a buzzword to an expectation. Sales people must be able to access CRM data from any internet-enabled device, so the information critical to their next meeting is available when and where they need it.

That said, some meetings may take place away from areas with mobile data coverage. In these instances, it’s important your sales people can still access and update customer information. Ideally, your CRM should be capable of hosting information locally and automatically backing up to the cloud upon reaching a connection.

6. Security

With cloud hosting can come security concerns. You need your CRM to promise rigid and secure hosting services to protect against cyber attacks or accidental breaches. Look for a CRM tool with customisable user access privileges to allow for careful management of sensitive data.

For a CRM that offers everything you need with none of the hoopla, turn to Rhino by Forte IS. Book a demo today to find out more.

Customer relationship management just got simpler. Find out how Rhino chargers through the nonsense of CRM.

How to choose the best CRM for your business


The right CRM is an incredible tool that amplifies your sales team’s performance like never before. When a CRM system fits your business perfectly, the results are amazing. Innoppl Technologies reports that a strong CRM system leads to a 43 per cent boost in sales quotas, while Trackvia and Capterra also claim it can generate a 41 per cent revenue increase and improves customer satisfaction and retention by 47 per cent respectively.

However, without asking the right questions you might find your choice of CRM becomes more of a hindrance than a help. What questions do you need to be asking to find the right CRM for your business?

1. Who are you?

The CRM you choose should reflect who you are as a business.

First consider how many salespeople will be using your CRM. This affects how the CRM will fit into your budget in terms of per-user fees and training, as well as how user-friendly you’ll need your system to be. The more people using any software, the more opportunity there is for something to awry, so simplicity is key.

Meanwhile, your ultimate goal is most likely to grow your business. With that growth, you’ll be hiring additional salespeople and need to ensure the CRM you choose is able to scale up with you and accommodate a higher volume of users without breaking the bank. Training and ongoing support from your CRM provider can help to ensure your staff are confident in using the CRM and promote greater ROI.

You might also like to request a demo of a CRM that interests you to ensure the system supports your business.

Your CRM system should match who you are as a business.Your CRM system should match who you are as a business both now and in the future.

2. What are your CRM goals?

Next, consider what you want out of your CRM in the short-term. Before business growth, you probably have certain ideas about how your CRM system should affect the day-to-day operations of your team.

Enhancing the customer experience is a major function of CRM as both a system and an ethos, but what does that look like in your business? It might be better organisation among salespeople, simpler contact management and call cycle establishment, or boosted transparency of sales team performance. Once you know what you’d like your CRM to achieve, you can start to look at the key features of systems on the market and find the right match. Be wary of CRMs that do far more than you need, as these can often incur completely unnecessary expenses and affect user uptake.

3. What are your sales team’s biggest roadblocks?

A CRM system needs to make life easier for your sales team, not create additional admin.

A CRM system needs to make life easier for your sales team, not create a Big Brother effect or additional admin. When selecting a CRM, it’s important you talk directly to your team about what is getting in their way. For some, this may be trouble juggling multiple contacts and remembering key dates or deadlines. Others may feel they don’t have time to focus on the customer when concerned about their own reporting.

You want your CRM system to simplify every process your sales team has to go through. If it neglects key points in the workflow for your team, it may only serve to amplify frustrations around that particular task, and thereby impact system adoption.

Learn about your team’s workflow and ensure your CRM will enhance all steps in the sales process.

4. How much does the CRM cost?

A CRM is a fantastic investment, generating ROI as great as $5 for every $1 spent, according to research.

Pay attention to the price of the CRMs you’re considering. That 5:1 ROI may sound promising, but it’s not going to apply to every system. If you’re signing a contract for an expensive CRM, you may just find yourself wasting cash if it turns out to be more than you needed.

Likewise, always question a free or very cheap CRM. Odds are, these will only feature the lowest functionality of more high-performing systems and will frustrate your team. There are also often hidden costs that arise for add-ons like running reports and extracting your own data.

Straight-forward, powerful and supported by a dedicated team - a CRM should be an asset to your team.Straight-forward, powerful and supported by a dedicated team – a CRM should be an asset to your business.

5. How easy is it to use?

InsideCRM data has shown that ease-of-use is the most in-demand feature for a CRM system. There are a number of factors that create a user-friendly experience in a CRM, including:

  • Mobile access,
  • Automated reporting,
  • Approachable graphic user interface,
  • And more!

We could go on about the importance of simplicity in your chosen CRM – and we have. Read our article, “7 reasons to adopt a user-friendly CRM system” for more on this subject.

6. How much support comes with it?

Finally, it always helps to know you’re not alone when handling new software in the company. Choosing a CRM with a local support team means you can access help with just a quick phone-call, email, or even a face-to-face visit from a trusted team member. While many larger CRM businesses have support lines, getting the solution you need right away can be tedious and barred behind excessive processes that only serve to slow you down.

Knowing the people on the other end of the support line makes communication and problem solving that much easier.

The team at ForteIS are available to help you get the most out of Rhino – a CRM that enables your salespeople to focus on what really matters. For more information about our CRM, contact us today.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.

7 reasons to adopt a user-friendly CRM system


If you’re thinking about adopting a CRM for your business, we reckon that’s a pretty smart idea.

A CRM system is a flexible piece of software underpinning customer relationship management practices. With the right CRM system in place, your salespeople can more easily plan calls, collate and access client information on the go, and generate sophisticated reports.

The problem is, there are so many sales CRM systems out there that it can be hard to figure out which is the best option for your business. Do you prioritise price? Popularity? Functionality? No matter the sector you work in, your top priority should be user-friendliness

Let us tell you why!

Data from InsideCRM shows that ease of use is the most desirable CRM benefit. That alone should be enough of an incentive to opt for a simple CRM system. After all, appealing to the desires of the people who will use the system every day should be paramount.

1. Your salespeople want a user-friendly CRM

“What about functionality?” you might ask. Well, 72 per cent of experienced senior executives would trade CRM functionality for ease of use, according to a survey reported by Niall Byrne.

2. You need buy-in from your salespeople to see return on investment (ROI)

On that note, it’s vital you’re meeting the needs of your salespeople – every dollar spent by your business must count for something.

Choosing a sales CRM that is difficult to use is a fast way to lose money, as your staff may quickly reject the software or find that trying to use it only slows them down. Without sufficient uptake, it’s impossible for your business to see significant ROI from a CRM.

Prioritise user-friendliness when choosing a CRM.A user-friendly CRM lets your best salespeople focus on growing your business.

3. Your CRM should exist to make life simpler, not complicate it further

Let’s think about what a sales CRM is really for. Yes, it can help you store customer information, keep communication records up-to-date and plan calls – but the whole purpose underpinning these functions is simplified processes. Without the streamlined workflow that the right sales CRM can offer, records can become lost, miscommunication becomes a real threat and maximising face-time with your customers takes that much longer to plan for.

For your CRM to be effective, it has to succeed at making menial administration tasks quick and easy. This means it must be user-friendly, not a confusing distraction to your best salespeople.

4. Your new staff need to hit the ground running

Similarly, onboarding processes are difficult enough as is. You spend countless hours and dollars trying to find the best salespeople for your business and you need them to be productive as soon as possible. Effective onboarding is critical to reducing the time-to-productivity of new recruits, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

A CRM system alone cannot (and should not) play the role of an effective onboarding process, however the relative user-friendliness of your staff’s tools should be considered here. When a CRM system features intuitive design and a comfortable user experience, your newest team member can pick up the workflow more easily than otherwise.

5. Your salespeople need access on-the-go

It’s rare for salespeople to spend more than a day at their desks. Your team is out and about, making the most of valuable face-time with your customers. This means they need access to your CRM system no matter where they are. A user-friendly CRM should be accessible on any device, in any location.

For example, Rhino by ForteIS is available as a CRM with online and offline functionality. The system can be accessed on any device with an internet connection for live updates and seamless data integration while on-the-go. The local version requires an Android tablet that stores information locally and can be accessed without a live connection. It’s not uncommon for salespeople to slip out of internet service areas, particularly if you’re visiting customers in rural areas or using a device that isn’t enabled for mobile data. So, an offline version with local storage is also available that can communicate with the online system when connected to the internet and ensure your sales team have what they need, when they need it, making it all the more easy to use.

Your salespeople can perform their best anywhere in the field with a user-friendly CRM.With a user-friendly mobile CRM, your sales team can access the information they need, when they need it.

6. Your business relationships matter most

The conversations your sales team have are so crucial to the wellbeing of your business. It’s absolutely vital that they are able to give your customers the face-time and attention they deserve, to make them feel valued, respected and comfortable in the partnership.

CRM technology should support your team in making these conversations count, without becoming a transactional database or determining the language they use. No customer wants to be called a lead, prospect or contact, and many complex CRMs can cause your salespeople to start thinking of customers in this way. In turn, that can begin to seep out into communication and remove the human aspect that makes effective salespeople so compelling.

Your chosen CRM system should be simple and stripped back in order to support your salespeople without being overbearing and dictating the tone of their customer relationships.

7. Your salespeople need to spend less time creating reports

Lastly, you need real insights that only effective reporting can bring. However, creating reports is another activity that may not directly help your team make sales. So it’s better if your salespeople aren’t spending too much time building activity reports at the end of the week.

The right CRM for your business should eliminate the need for manual reporting, and ensure that generating automated reports doesn’t become a confusing or overwhelming task. A sales CRM such as Rhino can produce effective activity and exception reports with minimal effort, based on the data entered throughout the week.

A CRM system has the power to see your sales team perform like never before, but the wrong one can be a serious detractor. Talk to ForteIS about Rhino today, a simple CRM that enables greatness.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.