Is QuickBooks Your Main Source of Customer Information?
Small business owners and managers need to be able to answer questions like:
- Who are your best customers?
- What’s your average customer sale:
- What’s the lifetime value of a customer?
If you’re like many small businesses, you may go to QuickBooks or your accounting system to find these answers. But usually Quickbooks only has SOME of the information, and SOME of the tools you need to manage customer relationships.
Information Outside of QuickBooks
Many companies use QuickBooks to maintain their master customer records, but may just use email, files and folders to manage:
- Customer Support Requests
- Sales Proposals
- Customer & Prospect Communications
If you’re a very small business, this ad-hoc approach may work just fine. But as you grow, you may want to consider combining QuickBooks data with a customer relationship management type of application.
The Risk of Data Silos
As we shared in our post about small business data silos, when accounting records and sales records are maintained separately, you run risks like:
- Promising out-of-stock product
- Selling to customers who have accounts past-due
- Having mis-matched data that’s been updated in one system, but not the other, and losing sight of which information is correct
But those are just the most obvious problems… the real gaps run much deeper.
Gaining Insight from Information
We find that most of our clients are looking for new ways to understand their customers – insights that won’t show up in a QuickBooks report.
- What are the trends in your business?
- What’s driving those trends?
- Are you being impacted by your competitors changing their pricing, offerings or business model?
- How do you need to react to either minimize your risk or capitalize on the opportunities?
We’re so accustomed to receiving notifications and alerts that without “negative notifications” critical activities can go unnoticed.
- Customers who’ve stopped buying from you
- Sales opportunities that you lost, and you don’t know why
- Clients who are becoming increasingly disgruntled
- Activities that are the most profitable / unprofitable
The one thing missing from many customer relationship management software programs is information captured about the customer.
- Customer’s personality and personal details
- Technical savvy-ness
- Roadblocks and obstacles
- Other decision makers
Bridging the Gap Between Accounting and Customer Management
There is no one “right way” to manage customer information. Before we make any recommendations about what to buy or what to do, we first seek to understand what you want to measure and what you’ll do with the gathered information.
Only then can we help you decide:
- Which small business software you need
- Where and how information will be captured
- How your systems will stay in sync – do you need custom software integration
- Which system will maintain the “master records”
- What reports need to be regularly run
Ready to find a better way to integrate your sales and accounting information? Request a FREE consultation and we’ll help you explore your options.