Why would a small business implement Customer Resource Management (CRM)? If you own a small business, and you’ve been thinking that a CRM system is only for larger companies, you may want to reconsider your position on the matter, because in truth CRM is one of the most important systems any business can have.
It’s a well-known fact that almost half of all small businesses fail within the first 12 months, often for reasons that relate to inadequate customer relationships or a customer base which never really grew.
CRM software can help you overcome these kinds of deficiencies by maintaining an accurate, up-to-date database of customer information, along with detailed data that shows the history of every contact with them, and where their interests lie. Small business CRM can be as useful to your company as a huge, full-blown CRM is to a corporate giant. Here are 10 reasons why that’s true.
Your data will be organized
Organization is one of the most appealing benefits of a CRM system, because it allows you to input and manage all the data about your leads, prospects, and existing customers. The software is designed in such a way that’s perfect for accommodating this kind of information, so that you won’t have to maintain it in some other external medium like a contact list.
Whenever you are in touch with a particular customer or lead, your CRM will be able to provide you with all prior history of communication exchanges with that person, so that you can talk intelligently and demonstrate that you have not forgotten about the customer.
Your team will be in sync
Some CRM systems permit collaboration between all members of your team, which can be a huge benefit in terms of keeping everyone on the same page, and well-informed.
For instance, when one team member communicates with a client or a lead, he can input the results of that exchange into the CRM, so that it can be seen by another team member on a later communication, and can still be accounted for in that next exchange.
Your business will grow
One of the great things about small business CRM is that it gives your business the capability to scale up, without having to modify your business structurally.
When your business started out, there may have been no one but yourself to manage all customer relations and communications. With a CRM in place, your customer database can literally grow to any size, and you still have the same accuracy and organization which allows you to contact customers, follow up with them, and make sure they stay happy. You may have gotten by with a spreadsheet in the early days, but once you get as many as 10 customers, you need to be prepared to scale your business up with a CRM.
Nurturing your leads
Since the whole point of any small business is to increase sales, maximum use should be derived from your CRM system, so that your goals and objectives relative to sales volume can be achieved.
By maintaining accurate and organized information on your leads, you will be able to follow up periodically with them, continue to keep your company name before them, and update them on any significant developments with your business. With each exchange between yourself and a lead, there is the potential for learning something more about them, or discovering a way to advance them along the purchasing path, so they can eventually be converted into a customer.
Keeping in touch with many customers and/or many prospects normally takes a great deal of time and effort, and if you don’t go about it in the most efficient manner, it might even get to be time-prohibitive.
Because your exchanges can be streamlined and organized by segmenting customers into specific interest groups, you can save a great deal of time, since you would be handling similar prospects and customers all at same time.
Helps establish customer loyalty
Once you know that customers have already purchased from you, it’s important to do whatever is necessary to keep them coming back for more, and to establish a sense of loyalty with your company. In order to do that, you have to target specific groups of customers with a message tailored to their interests and their needs, which is based in part on their past purchase history.
A good example would be whenever your company comes out with a new product in the same product line that a customer purchased from you once before. You’d want to know that and follow up on it, because they would be a good candidate for the new product as well.
Access to metrics
The reports and metrics which are available to you, based on information and communications you have with leads and customers, can all help you make better and more informed decisions in the future. Any trends or patterns that you identify from metrics provided by your small business CRM, can help you to refine your marketing message to target specific groups of customers.
Building good business habits
Using accurate data from your CRM to best advantage, for instance capitalizing on metrics and analytics, can initiate a cycle of good business practices in your company going forward. When you get in the habit of making sound decisions which are based on real market data and current consumer behaviors, you’ll find that you are in tune with your target audience, and you have a pulse on their buying habits.
Integrates well with other systems
The power of your CRM system can be leveraged strongly by integrating it with your other business systems, for instance your order management and shipping systems. When you have most of your business software inter-communicating well, you can gain tremendous efficiencies that help your business to grow and help you to forge past your competitors.
CRM works with social data
Social media marketing is a big part of most companies’ marketing strategy, which means it would be very useful if your CRM could accept and make use of social media data, so you can incorporate that into your total business approach.
Some of the newer CRM systems do exactly that, and can access various social platforms to gather useful data about potential customers, providing you with even more usable data to help you make conversions and increase sales.