How do you currently manage your deals and contacts? Is it via your smartphone? Or on dozens of spreadsheets littered on your laptop and the cloud? Answering ‘yes’ to either means it’s time to switch to a CRM database ASAP.
What you will learn in this article
- Why automation beats manual data entry
- What is a CRM database
- The top 4 CRM benefits for your small business
- Who should use CRM
- Getting started with CRM
Automation vs. manual entry
This is an embarrassing mismatched contest where there’s only ever going to be one winner. And that’s CRM.
Manual data entry
- Disorganized as you are using multiple apps and platforms
- Missed follow-up actions
- It relies on manually capturing and entering contact information
- Team members are not in the loop about contacts and deals
- Transferring customer ownership is challenging when a sales rep leaves
- All your data needs manual handling
- Accessing data is difficult, time-consuming, and not linked up
- Highly organized single platform for all your business data
- You are always on track. Plus, you can set reminders
- Captures and enters contact info automatically
- CRM is a central hub where actions are tracked, and everyone is up to date in real-time
- Sorted with a few clicks. All the departing staff member’s contacts and interaction history, etc., are stored in the CRM. Not in their head
- You can automate business processes and time-consuming back-office tasks with CRM.
- Cloud-based CRM allows you and your staff to get real-time information anywhere you have an internet connection
What is a CRM database?
Having established a clear winner in the above head-to-head, what do we mean by a CRM database? Let’s stick with cloud CRM as they are the most affordable and practical solution for small businesses. A CRM system is a centralized online hub where you and your staff manages customer relationships and business processes. CRM helps you:
- organize contact data
- log all your customer interactions, phone calls, emails, instant messaging, etc.
- keep a close eye on prospects, customers, and your sales funnel
- obtain meaningful reports to manage your business better
4 great small business uses of CRM
Once your contacts’ details are safely stored in CRM, you can do more with their data. For example, you can filter contacts by various data points. This is useful if you wanted to email a message to all your contacts in a specific city, for instance.
A CRM database gives you an instant overview of all your deal pipelines, sales stages, and closing dates. You can then make deal management much more straightforward. You can also zoom-in to get more granular information. Sales staff can track their performance and see how close they are to meeting their monthly quota target.
A CRM database enables you to run a huge variety of reports. These are incredibly detailed as the report has access to all your data in real-time. That way, you can be sure you have up-to-date and comprehensive information on which to base your business decisions. One type of report you will love is the revenue forecast. You can obtain an accurate picture of how your deals are stacking up against your business goals.
A CRM will undoubtedly speed up your sales processes and enhance your communications with contacts and customers. This is vital today when customer experience is the undisputed king of the hill.
Who should use CRM?
The concise answer to who should use a CRM system is any company that wants to improve their relationships with customers. To be a little more detailed, there are generally two types of companies that benefit the most. These are:
- B2B enterprises – Typically, these companies have extensive sales cycles and need to track leads closely. Or they have upgrade paths, e.g., software developers, recruitment companies, and so on.
- B2C – These are companies selling considered purchases to consumers. For example, fashion stores, real estate, landscapers, etc.
However, there are plenty of companies that don’t fall squarely within either category. They, too, would see benefit from a CRM solution. The best method of assessing your CRM needs is for you to think about your business challenges.
It would help if you pondered the following:
- Would a central store for all your business data be helpful?
- Is my business data currently scattered all over the place?
- Do multiple people interact with customers?
- Do staff struggle with keeping track of customer interactions?
- Would a more structured process be beneficial for your sales team?
- Do you need a better method of understanding your sales team’s productivity?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to one or more of these, then it’s time to harness the power of CRM. The good news is that a cloud CRM system is a lot cheaper than you may think. Indeed, it’s likely to prove your smartest move in a long time.
Getting started with CRM
The competitive edge you can get with CRM is undeniable. So whether you are a one-person band or a small business with less than 200 employees, CRM should be No. 1 on your To-do list. In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, you may not be able to put it off much longer. That’s why it’s essential to take that first tentative step today.
Ask a CRM provider for a free trial, and you will discover CRM is not the scary place you may have imagined. For small businesses, the best option is a cloud-based CRM system. These are highly affordable, even for the smallest of companies. And you can scale them up as needs change.
Even with the best will in the world, it’s near impossible to keep track of everything. It’s not any easier for small businesses. They face the same challenges as larger competitors. And in some ways, the challenges are even greater. When time and resources are limited, you cannot ignore the productivity gains of CRM. Today, it’s time to take that next step. Sign up for our free trial or contact us for further information. We’d love to help you out.