Every interaction we have with customers, prospects, and leads contains nuggets of vital information necessary to build more robust and stable relationships. Phone calls, emails, face-to-face meetings, and every other type of interaction are loaded with information you can use to grow your business. But while marketing, sales, and customer support are by definition customer-facing and key to generating revenue, their data collection is difficult to capture and often overlooked.
But this doesn’t need to be the case.
What you will learn in this article
- Why you need CRM
- 5 great reasons CRM should be your comms and data center
- How they apply to your small business
- The key benefits of CRM
- How to get started with CRM
Why you need CRM
As a small business, perhaps you have been trusting it to luck thus far with your customer data. You may even have stitched together a bunch of third-party apps into an ad hoc DIY CRM system of sorts.
However, there is nothing to beat a proper full-blown CRM system that acts as a central hub for gathering customer data and logging all your interactions.
5 great reasons you should invest in CRM for data collection
Apart from people, perhaps, your next greatest asset is your customer data. The premier method favored for business growth and improving customer experience is today’s Customer Relationship Management solutions. They enable an unparalleled level of data management and the ability to generate actionable insights to improve your bottom line.
Today, CRM systems are widespread, popular with small businesses, and accessible from anywhere. In addition, the latest generation of CRMs, such as cloud-based solutions, have mobile apps. These apps let you and your team access your CRM whenever you are away from your desk to meet with clients, for instance.
Because cloud CRM systems are user-friendly and intuitive to use, setting up the system to collect customer contact data is no big challenge. Even if you haven’t used a CRM system before, data collection should not present any significant difficulties. It’s all upsides, particularly as you and your team can access valuable CRM insights whenever you are out in the field.
With the right customizations in place, your CRM can act as the ideal storage and management center for your data collection. Customizations are essential as the defaults on CRM are best guess and generic. You should customize your CRM as a matter of course to give it more of a tailor-made bespoke appeal. The level of customization is comprehensive and can include such things as:
- The look and feel of the interface
- Favorite reports you can save
- Mini dashboards
If your CRM has been customized to reflect your business and the needs of your team correctly, it will soon be the go-to tool for everything you do.
Today’s modern CRMs have made integration a top priority. This is because they know how small businesses work and how they grow. For this reason, CRMs have a well-earned reputation for their integration abilities.
You can integrate your CRM easily with a host of other platforms and apps where customer data gets collected. This includes, for example:
- Your phone system
- Email, Gmail, Outlook, etc.
- Marketing automation software
- Support ticket portals
- Live chat
- Social media and more
Aggregating all the data collected by these disparate systems into a single location is critical for fast information access and real-time reporting of interaction data. Being able to respond to a client quickly may well be the crucial factor that closes the deal.
Customer-facing staff rarely have the time to devote to gathering and updating vital customer data manually. Without a unified CRM platform, if the information gets captured at all, it’s likely to be scattered across five or more applications and databases. This is not efficient or helpful by any stretch of the imagination.
As you integrate your CRM with your other platforms and apps, you should make sure your teams get notified of new interactions. These CRM-generated alerts can be in the form of emails or screen notifications. Automatic alerts, therefore, play a pivotal role in keeping you and your team up to date. Consequently, you will never be left in the dark wondering if new customer data has been dealt with promptly.
CRMs today are leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence. As a result, you can have much greater predictability about your sales pipeline. With AI-powered tools working in the background, your CRM can compile and interpret your customer data and make pretty good forecasts about the future. Your CRM, among other things, will tell you which leads are most likely to convert based on an examination of their historical data.
How to get started with CRM
As we have seen, CRM is the comms and command center for your business. So whether you are a small business with a relatively modest payroll, there’s plenty of scope to get on board with CRM. To get going, you need a clear-cut vision of what you want to achieve with a CRM system. Primarily, this means mapping out your problems and figuring out how Customer Relationship Management can address these.
A manual system will soon reach a critical mass where it simply cannot function correctly. Indeed, you can start going backward as opportunities are lost in the black hole of your data.
For small businesses wishing to take the next step, take the shortcut and refine your research to cloud-based CRM systems. These are far and away the best CRM solution for small business. They are affordable, easy to implement, user-friendly, and can be scaled up easily when business growth makes this necessary.
If you wish to make the jump into CRM technology, there’s never been a better time to do so. The system is innovative, intuitive, and constantly updated to keep you ahead of the curve. Contact us today. We are the cloud CRM experts for small companies. We can help you tame your data and extract the most business opportunities possible.