Generally, each employee wears many hats in a small business; they must maintain many business operations with limited time and perform several business roles. This sometimes may result in focusing less attention on key business areas like ignoring loyal customers, being unable to follow up effectively with new leads, and other customer-focused activities that build your business. The lack of focus on these activities creates a big loophole and can result in unbearable damage to your small enterprise.
Why You Need a CRM
In order to effectively handle business operations and to improve the efficiency of your business, you need a robust customer solution where you can capture customer data, track incoming leads, segment customers into meaningful groups, and create a structured workflow. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems works best for small businesses to maintain strong relationships with customers. In a CRM all employees can record the customer interactions with the company, create personalized messages for a targeted audience groups, implement lead nurturing and lead scoring techniques, automate work processes, and much more.
How CRMs Have Changed
During early stages of CRM software, businesses used CRM software as a simple contact book, a bank to store complete customer contact details. But with the rapid evolution of technology, CRM software has gained momentum and companies now see it as a solution that manages the sales, marketing, and customer support departments on a single interface.
Business competition has reached its peak and the CRM system is a must-have tool for businesses of all sizes, including small business and startups, to manage customer relationships and increase productivity & profitability.
CRM Benefits for Small Businesses
CRM benefits small businesses as it not only lets them store customer contacts, but also aids in capturing customer behavior patterns, interactions with the company, digital body language, the source from where the customer has contacted your business, browsing history, purchase patterns, past purchase history, social media accounts, and many other types of information. These data are vital for a marketing department to segment customers into different targeted groups. A CRM solution benefits the sales and customer support teams in lead nurturing processes, framing sales pitches according to customer interests, solving customer issues immediately, and closing a higher number of deals successfully.
For small enterprises, it’s better to opt for a cloud based CRM software as it is cost-effective, and it can be operated from anywhere in the world, at any time through an internet connection. Vendors typically offer cloud CRM solutions on a subscription-based pricing model where you are expected to pay monthly.
Choosing the Best CRM
Consider the following factors before you purchase CRM software for your small business:
- What are your budget considerations, and how much you are willing to spend on CRM?
- Do you want to go with a cloud-based CRM solution or with on-premise software? Cloud based CRM software can be operated from anywhere in the world, at any time whereas on-premise is a one-time investment. You need an external hardware to install on-premise CRM system.
- What kind of features does your business need in CRM software? Price varies with features. If you have a low budget, then you will be limited to only a few features, so make sure the features you pay for are the ones you need.
- Does the CRM solution scale with your growing business, and will you have to pay for upgrades?
- Is it compatible or integrated with third party applications such as email marketing tools and external software?
- Does your CRM offer mobile capabilities?
Take Advantage of Free Trials
If you are not sure what type of CRM to choose, then you can opt for a free trial version where companies can test the CRM software with fully featured capabilities for a limited time period, usually 7-30 days.
Once you have selected the right CRM application for your small business, educate your team and staff on how to operate the CRM software. Consider this training as part of your investment, and your team will be more likely to use the CRM to its fullest capabilities.
When your company is small, it’s easy to manage a handful of customers. But when your business grows, your customer database also increases. This growth can make it difficult to manage customer contact details on a spreadsheet or in an address book. You need an effective solution where you can maintain new and existing customer details and easily access them with a single click. CRM is the best software for small business to maintain customer relationships, provide excellent customer support, find new leads, and manage sales.
James Maron is an author at SutiSoft, Inc. He shares his views on SaaS and Cloud-based business management solutions.