The one killer feature that entirely underpins CRM system is its ability to give businesses, small and large, context. The notion of a 360-degree of your business with CRM is an appealing one certainly. It drips with the promise of better understanding, enhanced customer engagement, and more sales. But does Customer Relationship Management stand up to scrutiny? Or is it just overblown hype?
What you will learn in this article
- Why a 360-degree CRM overview is important
- Why context matters
- The key takeaways
- How to leverage AI (Artificial Intelligence)
- How to get started with CRM
Why 360-degree is the best look
When considering any CRM implementation, it’s critical to know what you stand to gain from the exercise. Among the key benefits you as a small business owner will obtain are:
- Better quality data to work with
- Standardized processes and automation of routine, time-consuming tasks
- More time for staff to talk with customers
- Better collaboration across your organization and better teamwork
- Much improved customer experience
- Optimized business processes
Despite the undeniable benefits of CRM, many small businesses continue to struggle with a less-than-perfect manual system.
The key takeaways from small business 360-degree CRM
Make a case for CRM
For historical reasons, small business systems and processes tend to evolve rather than be minutely planned from Day One. Generally, small businesses wing it with manual systems that involve multiple apps and platforms. While this may work kinda for a certain length of time, you will soon reach a critical mass where it just stops working.
Having your customer spread over multiple email inboxes, spreadsheets, and various incompatible third-party apps are never going to be efficient. It makes life difficult, and you are almost certainly letting opportunities slip through your hands. And a big part of this is because you and your team are working in separate information silos. This makes obtaining the big picture and comprehending the data extremely difficult.
Indeed, according to some estimates, small businesses could be losing over $5 million per year due to customer churn. It’s vital then to have all your decision-makers on board to support your CRM plans. Finally, you will need to back up your plan with hard data that proves how a single unified platform will benefit your business.
Why CRM context matters
Having access to a helicopter view of your business is imperative in today’s ultra-competitive business world. However, when it comes to CRM, plan strategically but act tactically. This raises several questions, including storing data from marketing, sales, and customer service on your CRM system? Should you implement a contextual customer view across all three simultaneously?
The answer to both is probably not straight away. First, you should identify where the bulk of your pain points exist. The next step is to see where CRM will have the most significant positive impact on your staff. Once you have established this in one department, you can then roll out CRM to other parts of your business.
How to leverage AI
Artificial Intelligence is making significant inroads into CRM systems, as it should. As a means of future-proofing your business, it’s essential to keep up with the latest technology. And probably no more so than with CRM. Today, AI technology is giving CRM users a critical business edge over competitors. Integrating AI tools into Customer Relationship Management software has helped users to:
- Uncover unique insights into your business
- Save time
- Obtain accurate forecasts
- Make better-informed business decisions and more
So what are the key AI benefits for small business?
Better insights – Even with incomplete or limited data, AI will outperform any human in seeing trends and patterns. Some AI tools also tap into external data sources to take into account factors not covered by your data. The result is AI makes superior predictions allowing you to make better data-driven decisions and focus your attention on priority areas of your business.
Work smarter – The accurate forecasts enabled by AI mean you can make better directions that maximize sales opportunities.
Collect insight, not data – The complete historical record of each customer allows AI to make accurate predictions of their future behavior.
Find focus – AI can help your sales team stay sharply focussed by flagging up the opportunities with the highest probability of conversion and the closest fit to your product or service. This AI-powered insight ensures you and your team stay laser-focused on the goal and put their time to optimum use.
How to get started with CRM
Doing is always better than talking when it comes to new systems and technology. If you are a small business owner and new to the idea of CRM systems, you would be well advised to try out free trials first. These are no-obligation demo accounts that give you vital exposure to the CRM platform. Typically, free trials will be at least 14-days or longer. This should be enough time to assess and evaluate the platform.
For small businesses, the best solution, without a doubt, is a cloud-based CRM system. These are entirely based online, so there’s no technical input required from you. Plus, cloud CRM software is relatively inexpensive as it’s charged per user and the tier level you opt for when you sign up. In addition to being easy to implement and user-friendly, a cloud CRM system will grow in tandem with your changing business needs. If you want to add more users or features, it’s merely a case of switching the subscription package.
As in life, context is everything in business too. Small businesses are no exception. But the excellent news is that the 360-degree CRM you require is more attainable than you may think. Contact us today. We are cloud CRM experts who specialize in helping small businesses extract the optimum benefits from CRM.