Customer relationship management first came to prominence in the mid-90s. Since then, it has evolved into the must-have technology for businesses to nurture their clients and drive sales. A cloud-based CRM solution is the inexpensive route for small businesses to centralize business data and manage it to maximum impact. CRM is all about efficiency and delighting your clientele through personalized and first-class customer experiences. This ultimate beginners guide will get you up to speed on everything there is to know.
What you will learn in this article
- What does CRM do, and how does it work
- The benefits of CRM
- How small businesses use CRM
- What to look for in a small business-focused CRM
- How to get started with CRM
What’s CRM, and how does it work?
Customer relationships are the nub of any business, big or small. For many small businesses, their contact management involves an array of spreadsheets, inboxes, and even sticky notes. However, eventually, this type of haphazard approach cannot cope any longer.
What CRM does is provide a single comprehensive platform to manage your customer data coherently. You can store every interaction you have with prospects, customers, suppliers, partners. And find data quickly when you need it. By having all your data in one central location, you can manage it better, be more efficient, and drive sales, revenue, and customer satisfaction.
This joined-up approach across your organization drives a better customer experience. It permits you to personalize your marketing messages by segmenting customers. CRM throws your entire business into sharp focus to enable you to concentrate efforts where they will be most profitable.
The key CRM benefits
You will feel the benefits of a CRM system across your entire organization, not just sales, and marketing.
Everyone in a customer-facing role within your organization will find they can work smarter and more efficiently. Using your CRM system, you and your staff can track every customer and zoom in to get finely detailed data.
Everyone in the context means your customers as well. They will receive better service and support as the CRM system will help you understand customers more deeply.
CRM can boost customer engagement by automating routine back-office tasks for you. Streamlined workflows bring consistency and happier customers.
Drives sales opportunities
If your deal volume has plateaued, a CRM system will help you find your sales mojo once more. CRM can give you a detailed picture of your customers and provide actionable insights by tracking buying patterns and trends. This kind of deep insight helps you to develop tightly targeted marketing plans and sales strategies.
Tracking sales progress
As well as tracking customers, a CRM system will keep tabs on your sales progress across your organization. As the purchasing journey progresses, your CRM platform is the starting line to respond to sales trends and close any gaps. This applies whether you are a one-person band or a large company with an extensive sales team.
In addition to more sales efficiency, your customers will benefit from offers that are tailor-made for them. For example, you can mine all of the data in your CRM platform to build more robust and deeper customer relationships via personalization.
This is a massive bonus since some estimates put personalization as playing a pivotal role in 86% of purchasing decisions by consumers.
Better retention rates
Since a CRM platform gives you a deep and meaningful insight into your customers, you can use this to help retain customers. With a CRM platform, you spot trends and patterns very quickly. It will then flag up customers who are likely to jump ship. This will give you time to develop plans to retain these customers.
How small businesses use CRM
The ability to get an overview of marketing, sales, and customer support for every client are priceless. And just as crucial for small businesses as it is for large multinational companies. Getting this bird’s eye view is incredibly helpful no matter how many people you need to track customer data closely.
As a small business owner, you are all too well aware of how precious your time and money are to success. Being efficient at both can be achieved with a CRM platform. Even calendar scheduling, for example, can save masses of toing-and-froing trying to nail down an appointment. And that’s before you weigh up the streamlining of business processes and increased sales you can count on.
What to look for in a small business-friendly CRM
We have covered all the significant features, but here are a few you may overlook when selecting a CRM platform.
- Support and service – You can fix failing customer service by using the data in your CRM platform to be proactive in resolving problems.
- E-commerce – Ensure the CRM platform can integrate with your existing e-commerce solution. Or will support one in the future.
- Lead scoring – Be sure that the CRM platform will carry out the heavy lifting to identify qualified leads so you can focus on them.
- Email integration – Check that the CRM integrates with Gmail and Outlook and will automatically update records, allow you to add notes, and trigger follow-ups.
- Mobile-friendly – In today’s mobile-first world, this is non-negotiable.
How to get started with CRM
Launching CRM into your business is not as daunting as you may imagine. First, you collect all your existing contacts into a CSV file. The next step is to import and map all your contacts. Most CRM providers will help you with the transition and advise how you should do it.
The next step is to get you, and your staff trained up to use the system. As with any change, there is always skepticism. Be prepared to manage the change and lead from the front in CRM usage.
Small businesses are well suited to benefit from CRM, particularly cloud-based systems, as these are affordable and grow alongside your business. Contact us today. We are the cloud CRM specialists for small businesses and are committed to helping you succeed in CRM.