The cannabis industry in Canada is relatively new. It’s still growing and evolving, but it has already become one of the most lucrative industries on earth. However, the industry's rapid growth has faced some challenges in ensuring proper operations externally and internally.
The Canadian government legalized recreational marijuana use for adults over 18/19 years old back in October 2018. This means that more than 100 million potential customers can now buy legal weed from licensed producers (cannabis companies). And with legalization comes an increase in demand for products like edibles, concentrates, vapes, topicals, tinctures, etc., which makes this sector ripe for growth.
To create trust with patients/customers, cannabis businesses must prove their legitimacy by providing third-party lab results verifying that they contain no pesticides, heavy metals, mould, fungus, bacteria, mycotoxins, residual solvents, or illicit drugs.
While you are super focused on Health Canada's compliance requirements, what about your internal operations? Your customers?
I am going to explain to you why the Cannabis industry needs to invest in CRM.
What Is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. In simple terms, it refers to software designed specifically to help companies manage customer relationships. The idea behind CRM is to make sure every interaction between a company and its clients goes smoothly.
This includes everything from marketing campaigns to sales calls. A good example would be if you were trying to sell someone something online. If you don't have any tracking system set up, how will you know whether or not they bought anything? How do you even find out where they live? These questions all come down to having a solid CRM strategy.
Why Does the Cannabis Industry Need CRM?
There are many reasons why the cannabis industry needs CRM:
1) Compliance Tracking
As mentioned earlier, Health Canada requires cannabis business owners to provide proof that their products are free of contaminants such as mould, fungi, bacteria, pesticide residue, heavy metal content, and other harmful substances. Without proper documentation, you could face severe penalties, including fines and jail sentences. Having a CRM program allows you to store information regarding your suppliers' testing procedures, so you can quickly access this data whenever necessary. In addition, a proper CRM system can provide clear paper trails and store documents for Health Canada audit inquiries.
When you're selling a product that people might want to try once or twice before buying, you'll probably end up losing money because some people won't purchase at first. But when you track these purchases through a CRM program, you'll see exactly how much profit you made off each sale. That way, you can adjust your pricing accordingly so that you maximize profits while minimizing losses. This is how the marketing team can work with the sales team in unison. They have one centralized system to review their sales and marketing efforts.
3) Monitor And Track Sales (Sale Traceability)
With CRM systems, you can track your sales pipeline. Either it's via online shops, distributions to cannabis stores (e.g. BC Liquor Distribution Branch - BC Cannabis store), or distribution to other retailers, you want to track what items are selling well and which ones aren't.
You can incorporate AI and trend analysis to predict future forecasting and pivot your business in real-time. You can also integrate your CRM with ERP systems to allow tight integration with accounting/resource planning. In this way, not only can you track sales, you can track inventory levels.
4) Patient/Customer Relationships
Thousands of Canadians have been using cannabis for various health/recreational reasons. While this is excellent news for consumers, it also creates much competition among different dispensaries. To stay competitive, you'll need to develop strong patient/customer relationships.
By keeping records of interactions with your current and prospective customers, you can better understand what works best for them. Then, you can tailor your services to meet their specific needs.
You can create a robust case management framework to track each interaction via emails and phone calls with proper CRM systems. You can incorporate automated SLA (service level agreement) with auto case escalations to upper management. Lastly, you can run analytical queries to find trends on the most common issues that your customers are inquiring about. Instead of reacting last minute, you can identify and adapt in real-time. Now you can build stronger relationships with your customers.
5) Inventory Control
Keeping accurate inventory control is essential for running a successful business. Unfortunately, cannabis growers often struggle with maintaining adequate stock levels due to the high costs of storing large quantities of pot. Fortunately, a CRM solution can automate your inventory management processes, allowing you to save both time and money.
6) Data Security
All too often, small businesses lose sensitive client information during routine transactions. Unfortunately, hackers love nothing more than stealing valuable financial information, whether it's credit card numbers, bank account details, or personal contact info. A sound CRM system will help ensure that all-important customer data remains secure by encrypting files and limiting unauthorized access.
7) Customer Service
If you've ever had an issue with a company, chances are they didn't offer any support after the fact. Unfortunately, this means that if something goes wrong, there's no one available to fix things. In contrast, most CRMs allow users to create custom fields that collect relevant information about clients, making it easier to resolve issues later on down the road.
8 ) Reporting & Analytics
The last thing you want to do is spend hours trying to figure out where your revenue came from. Luckily, most CRMs include reporting tools that make tracking income easy. These reports can be customized based on user preferences, helping you identify trends within your operation. Additionally, analytics programs like Google Sheets can give you insight into your overall performance over time.
9) Social Media Integration
Today, social media has become an integral part of marketing campaigns across industries. From Facebook ads to Instagram posts, companies use every platform possible to reach new audiences. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to utilize social media platforms effectively. Thankfully, a CRM program offers features that let you manage multiple accounts simultaneously, giving you complete control over your online presence.
10) Customization Options
No two organizations are alike, which is why having customizable options is crucial. With a CRM software package, you can tailor your interface according to your needs. This includes everything from adding additional modules to creating unique workflows. The possibilities are endless!
Most CRM solutions come preloaded with basic functionality. However, as your organization grows, so does its need for customization. If you're looking for a scalable option, look no further than Salesforce. It allows you to add unlimited contacts, leads, opportunities, tasks, cases, etc., without paying extra fees.
12) User Experience
Lastly, when choosing between different CRM packages, consider what type of experience you'd prefer. For example, do you want a simple dashboard? Or would you instead dive deep into advanced settings? Whatever works best for your team should determine your choice.
Finally, don’t forget about cost-effectiveness. While some may argue that using a cloud-based service makes sense because it saves them money, others believe that investing in a standalone product gives them greater flexibility. Ultimately, it comes down to preference. Either way, keep these factors in mind before deciding on a particular CRM.