How to manage your sales pipeline in QuickBooks
QuickBooks is arguably the most popular small business accounting package in the world today. They have multiple iterations of their desktop editions and are continuously adding more features and capabilities to their online version to remain competitive in the cloud services market, alongside opponents like Xero, MYOB, and others.
Most small businesses such as landscapers, contractors, plumbers, and other professional services tend to utilize QuickBooks for more than just its bookkeeping functionality. If you’re one of those companies that depend on QuickBooks for much more than just the accounting side of your business, then you find yourself limited as to what QuickBooks can offer. If that’s the case, then congratulations, given that as your needs evolve, it’s most likely because you’re growing and therefore outgrowing your existing software.
One of the first components that companies running their business on QuickBooks usually recognize as missing is CRM-type capabilities. Companies typically begin to realize this as they add sales staff or end up with a high volume of sales activity that becomes increasingly difficult to manage. If you’re looking to add the kind of structure into your sales process that you have in other parts of your QuickBooks workflow, you won’t be able to do it without a little help from third-party sales management solutions.
How can I use QuickBooks as a CRM?
Well, the bad news is you can’t. QuickBooks isn’t a CRM and doesn’t have the necessary components to ever be a CRM. It’s sales-oriented processes are transactions and not tactical. If you’re in need of tracking your sales activities, setting follow-ups and reminders, capturing leads from your website, automating emails to customers and prospects, and everything else the typical CRM does, then you need an entirely different product altogether.
It’s not just QuickBooks, though. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, such as NetSuite, Epicor, SAP, and dozens of other suitable substitutes for businesses that outgrow QuickBooks, have similar challenges when it comes to including effective sales management, marketing automation, and customer service features within their products. While most of these larger packages offer CRM components as additional add-ons, most of their customers agree that although they have CRM modules available, ERPs fall short compared to the standalone dedicated CRMs in today’s market. Case in point: None of their CRM products are widely recognized in the CRM marketplace as the creme-of-the-crop. And many agree that simply having CRM core functionality is more of a selling point when buyers are evaluating their products. Even when using more expensive ERP products, it’s not uncommon for those who are serious about sales management to seek third-party CRM platforms they can integrate with.
If you’re looking to incorporate more sales and marketing capabilities into your business, then you’ll need to complement your QuickBooks platform with a real CRM. This is a good thing. It means you’re growing or at least recognizing the need to extend your business platform beyond a program that generates estimates and invoices. Implementing a CRM will broaden your customer service and sales management capabilities, and if you choose your CRM wisely, it will probably outgrow your use of QuickBooks.