In simple terms the definition of CRM can be described as follows: Customer Relationship Management is a technology companies use to manage and improve their interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system – typically cloud-based for small businesses – helps you to streamline business processes, nurture customer relationships, drive sales, improve customer service/ customer experience and increase profits.
What you will learn in this article
- What’s a CRM system
- Why CRM is important
- How you and your company benefits from CRM
- Why choose a cloud-based CRM solution
- Getting started with CRM
What’s a CRM system
Fundamentally, a CRM system enables you to focus on customers more sharply and improve business processes to allow the personalization of offers and improve overall customer satisfaction. The result is greater customer loyalty and sales. By knowing more about customers and their buying habits, the technology can help you identify new sales opportunities.
Why CRM is important
CRM matters because it enables you to deepen your relationships with customers, staff, partners, and suppliers as a small business owner.
Forging good relationships and tracking prospects and customers are central to business success. These two features are at the core of CRM. The significant advantage for you and your employees is a shared work platform that’s easy to use and ensures no customer data or business intelligence gets misplaced.
You log in and do everything within the CRM system. There’s no hopping around from a platform to another app and then back again. Everything you need is in one location, from a customer’s entire purchase history to order status and customer service issues. CRM is, if anything, your 360-degree view of your business and how it is performing.
Let’s take a closer look
- Sales: This department can better understand its pipeline. Sales managers can obtain up-to-minute information on the performance of the sales team or individual team members. These agents will enjoy fewer admin tasks, deeper customer knowledge, and gain more time to sell.
- Marketing: CRM gives marketing departments the ability to forecast more accurately. As a result, they will have a much clearer picture of every opportunity and lead, giving them better oversight of their pipeline. In addition, you can link your CRM to your social media platforms to gain even great insight into customer needs.
- Customer service: This team can track conversations with customers across all your channels. This is useful if a customer raises an issue on Facebook and Twitter, then switches to live chat, phone, or email. Without a common communications platform like CRM, it’s all too easy for interactions to get missed or buried in an inbox.
- Supply chain, procurement, and partner management: Teams dealing with these issues can better track meetings and requests using CRM. They can add notes and create reminders for follow-up actions to stay on top of their next step. Reporting enables you to compare suppliers and manage the entire supply chain more efficiently.
- HR: CRM is a boon for HR as it can speed up the recruitment process and track staff performance. CRM can also speed up onboarding, automate candidate management, analyze needs and identify skill set gaps. And there is a role too in assisting with staff retention. Consolidating all your data streams from sales, marketing, customer service, and social media means you have an accurate helicopter view. You can see what is happening in every corner of your business. This overview translates into actionable business information.
The key benefits of CRM
By collecting all your data in one place and sharing it across your teams, CRM brings many advantages and benefits for small companies. These include:
- Enhanced contact management
- Cross-team collaboration improvements
- Improved productivity
- More accurate forecasting
- Reliable and comprehensive reports
- Deeper sales metrics
- Enhanced levels of customer satisfaction and retention
- Better marketing RoI
- Personalized products and services for customers
Why cloud-based CRM is best for small business
The meeting of CRM and cloud-based computing has been a game-changer. Without a doubt, it has been a paradigm shift in CRM accessibility. Previously, on-site CRM solutions were impractical and prohibitively expensive for small companies.
With no need to install software on dozens of computers and have an IT team to run the servers, small businesses globally have leveraged the benefits of CRM at an affordable price. So, what are the benefits of a cloud CRM?
- Faster deployment: Cloud CRM systems are quick and easy to set up and get running. As there’s no software to download or hardware to purchase, cloud-based CRM solutions are ideal for small businesses. As everything runs via the internet, you have no IT headaches to worry about.
- Automatic software updating: The CRM provider automatically updates all the software. Therefore, you have no downtime or additional expense.
- Reduced costs to scale up: Scaling up to meet your expanding business needs is easy. It’s merely a matter of moving to a different subscription package. Usually, you pay on a per user basis, and the CRM features you require.
- Mobile-friendly: Cloud CRM is mobile-friendly. When you’ve left the office, you still have access in real-time to the same information as your colleagues at their desks. Road warriors can check data and update it wherever they can get an internet connection.
- Better real-time collaboration: Cloud CRM’s shared platform architecture means remote teams and home workers can collaborate in real-time without additional expenditure. The standard tools and formats ensure everyone is on the same page and in the loop.
Getting started with CRM
Small businesses and startups reach a point where manual processes no longer cut it. This is because you have too much customer data to manage efficiently. But if you adopt CRM early enough, you can avoid data chaos, please customers, and make more sales.
As you read earlier, cloud-based CRM is the way to go for small business enterprises. To this end, it’s a good idea to bag a free trial and see for yourself what CRM can do. Or contact us today to find out more. We are cloud-CRM specialists for small businesses and very pleased to help you out.