Customer Relationship Management is a buzzword these days. But what is it? And why would you want a CRM system? This beginners guide helps demystify CRM system for small business. And it explains why you need a CRM solution to grow small businesses to their full potential.
What you will learn in this article
- What CRM is all about
- Why you need CRM
- How CRM works
- The key features and benefits of CRM
- Getting started with CRM
What is CRM exactly?
CRM is a system to store your contacts, interactions with customers and gain insights into selling more. Without CRM, you are essentially working in the dark. Customer data is spread across the various company departments. They work in information silos. And few can see the big picture of what is going on with your business.
This guide will show you that CRM is not rocket science but will definitely take your business to the next level. Basically, CRM pulls all your customer data together into one platform. This way you can work much more efficiently than before. Everyone knows what is going on. And you are far less likely to miss opportunities or duplicate work.
Why you need CRM
Can you remember when you last called a customer? Do you always have to check their website for phone numbers? With CRM, everything is in one place. CRM can help you with everything you need to make a success of your business, including:
- Managing customer contact data
- Managing your sales funnel
- Providing actionable insights
- Integration with social media
- Improving team communication, productivity, and efficiency
Better still, a CRM system will integrate with hundreds of apps you use already. That way, all your data from apps like QuickBooks, etc., is up to date in your CRM system.
How CRM works
CRM works by unifying all your business data. But that’s not the whole story. The driving force behind CRM adoption is the insights it provides. CRM will identify patterns much faster than you would be able to manually.
In today’s busy business world, the volume of data is growing exponentially. But CRM technology enables you to stay on top of the details. Not only that, though. CRM is a great way to overhaul your business processes. And build better relationships with leads, prospects, and customers.
The key features of CRM
CRMs vary in complexity and cost but share a lot of the same features. (Cloud-based CRM, for instance, is particularly well suited to small businesses as it’s affordable and can grow with your business.) So now let’s guide you through the main CRM features that will save you and your business a lot of time:
- Contact management – Store all your business-critical customer information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, website details, etc.
- Interaction tracking – CRM will log all interactions with customers. You can add notes and always be sure of what needs to be done next.
- Lead management – Nurture all your prospects and convert them into paying customers as they progress through the sales funnel.
- Email integration – CRM integrates with the likes of Gmail and Outlook, etc. You can then sync, manage and segment all your contacts directly within the system.
- Document management – Upload documents relating to contacts and sales. With a central store, it’s easier for teams to access the information they need to close deals.
- Pipeline management – You can obtain an instant heads-up on your sales pipeline. And drill down to see the status of individuals as they progress through the sales funnel.
- Workflow automation – You can automate tedious and time-consuming tasks. You do this by developing an action-based workflow. You can also create follow-up reminders for each next step in the process.
- Reporting and analytics – You can slice up and dice your data to obtain meaningful insight into your business performance. You can then make better data-driven business decisions.
The key benefits of CRM
Effective customer relationships that enhance customer experience are today a well-documented route to business success. Perhaps, CRM’s most outstanding achievement is providing you and your company with the data needed to move your business forward. Small and large companies are now swamped with data. But CRM lets you cut through the white noise to get at what matters.
As well as insights, better customer relationships, and process automation, a good CRM system will help you and your staff work smarter. The three top CRM benefits are:
- Easy access to customer history – CRMs lets you and your teams access customer and prospect information wherever they happen to be. As info is synced across a user’s multiple devices, you can always be sure everyone is working off the same data.
- Streamlined workflows – You can standardize routine business processes across your marketing, sales, and customer service teams. This streamlining improves collaboration between teams and dramatically improves customer experience.
- Actionable insights – A CRM system’s show-stopper is its reporting and analytic capabilities. The insights, based on customer data, to make the right moves at the right time. You can identify both opportunities and threats and respond accordingly.
However, it’s wrong to think that a CRM system is a giant sales tool. It is so much more than that. It enables you and everyone to work better together. Everyone in your organization has the ‘big picture’ and knows what needs to be done. This collaborative approach abandons blinkered information silos. In the context of CRM, sharing really is caring. But in the end, the biggest winners are your customers.
Getting started with CRM
As this guide may have shown, CRM is not the tech nightmare you may have envisaged. However, a test drive is always better than looking at the cars on the lot. To gain a greater understanding, always insist on a free trial. This is, by some measure, the best way to see if CRM will work for your company. There’s no substitute for practical, hands-on experience. And if you like what you see, it’s easy to take the next step.
CRM is a good fit for small businesses. Cloud-based CRM is affordable and scalable. If there’s one task you should do today, it’s contact us, the cloud CRM specialists for small businesses.