Launching a tech startup is a rollercoaster ride. It’s estimated that the failure rate for tech startups is a hair-raising 90% or more. However, as you traverse the peaks and plunge into the troughs, there’s one thing you can count on. And that’s CRM. Today, CRM is the means to flatten and stabilize the wild ride. Indeed, CRM is now the secret weapon in taming the tech startup world.
What you will learn in this article
- What is CRM, and is it just hype?
- Key benefits of CRM
- 5 top tips for tech startup CRM
- And how you can apply them
- Getting started with CRM
What is CRM all about?
CRM is the short-form of Customer Relationship Management. It’s essentially a database where a company stores and manages all its customer details and interactions. With a CRM system, you can do several things:
- Mine your data for selling opportunities
- Manage all your business processes
- Integrate task management, email, planning, and scheduling
- And a whole lot more.
Due to the universal appeal of CRM, it is now a fiercely competitive market. This competition has driven the price per user down to affordable rates. Even for tech startups and small businesses.
CRM is now an essential business tool. For tech startups, it could be dubbed a chaos management tool. As tech startups are frantic affairs, it’s easy to lose sight of what is going on. CRM enables you to focus on core activities and make sense of your growing customer data.
The key benefits of CRM
Having hopefully convinced you of CRM’s indispensable nature, what are the benefits? The following two examples below are just a small taste of where you can make substantial gains.
Your most precious commodity as a tech startup is time. There is never enough of it. And with a quarter of tech startups going belly up within 12 months, you can’t afford to waste time.
The best CRMs will have a suite of productivity tools to save you time. These range from email shots to integration with calendars and task management. Some estimates put the time-saving at 90 minutes per day – time you can spend doing extra revenue-generating tasks.
This time saving goes hand-in-hand with efficiency. CRM lets you work smarter, not harder. It does this by eliminating double working and bringing coherence and order to your pipeline.
Your CRM dashboard allows you to instantly see what needs to be done on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You can also obtain a real-time overview of progress and performance.
Five great lessons learned that you could apply
Launching a tech startup doesn’t need to involve wheel reinvention. Here are 5 great CRM tips for startups and small businesses.
Cultivate your contacts…but keep them organized
Networking has been around since the dawn of time. Today, though, it’s managed online through CRM. Each contact is assigned a profile. As well as defaults such as city, company, website address and so on, you can add custom tags to help segment customers. Tags are a great way of creating groups or demographics. For example, you could use tags like “gold prospect,” “investor,” or “venture fund.”
You cannot win every investor meeting
You learn nothing from success, you only learn from failure. Don’t take rejection personally. Accept that you will fail to learn. Not every pitch will succeed, but those that do will guide you for the future.
Influence is only one click away
Influencers take on all forms and pop up everywhere there’s an audience. Focus on platforms populated by like-minded people in your niche. These will prove to have the best Return On Investment on your time and likely to turn up better networking opportunities.
Always do your homework when trying to approach investors. Look into other similar projects, particularly those that failed. (See No. 2) Research which platform investors prefer and plan accordingly. The next step is ensuring you always have an expert on hand to monitor and contribute to these platforms. Don’t overlook LinkedIn. It’s where you will find most of your target audience hanging out. Develop your network of contacts from the bottom upwards. By the time you ask senior management, you will already have numerous mutual connections.
Nothing is set in concrete. Use your CRM to gain insights and act upon these. Tech startups need to be agile and dynamic. Be prepared to change direction based on data.
All the big multinationals constantly test out new formats and change course based on feedback and results. A tech startup should be able to pivot much faster to capitalize on the intel provided by their CRM system. Don’t let sentiment and your original ideas blur your vision. You won’t make progress if you are constantly staring in the rearview mirror.
Getting started with CRM
With all you have on your plate, you don’t want to block off endless hours of CRM research. For tech startups – and other small businesses – go straight to a cloud-based CRM. These are affordable and a scalable entry into customer relationship management.
But don’t rely solely on a sales pitch and review sites. The ideal method to understand a CRM system is to try it out. This is definitely the quickest way of evaluating a CRM system. So always ask for a free trial. Then you have a no-risk opportunity to get to grips with CRM and confirm whether it will work for you and your business.
A tech startup is not for the faint-hearted. You are in for a choppy ride before the early years of hard work and sleepless nights pay off. However, you can smooth out the bumps significantly by having a CRM system take some of the strain. CRM can let you automate business processes and make it significantly simpler to cultivate prospects and leads. And then nurture them for the future by developing lasting relationships with customers.