“I don’t have the budget for CRM.”
“CRM – No way, its only for large enterprises.”
“How can I integrate CRM when my small business is just in the development phase?”
When the topic of CRM arises, these are some of the many assumptions that are made by the small business owners. Small and medium-sized business owners or the SMB’s (as referred to in the entrepreneur industry) believe that only large enterprises or well-established companies can take full advantage of CRM. Additionally, most companies are reluctant about adopting the CRM model claiming it to be costly and complicated beyond their skills. Since SMB’s are often running on a tight budget, the entrepreneurs are hesitant about putting in the extra cost for new software and training their employees to use the new tool.
However, a CRM software is equally beneficial for small to mid-sized businesses. In fact, companies who have integrated CRM in their business infrastructure have claimed to see an increase in profit margin by 20%. Additional statistics also reveal that an average ROI on CRM is around 5.60% for every dollar spent.
What is a CRM?
CRM or a Customer Relationship Management software is a database of consumer’s data used by business owners to track their communications with the company. Additionally, CRM software allows the sales team to gather detailed information about the customers along with their buying habits and preferences. The best CRM software makes it easy for business owners to track pending tasks, schedule appointments and calls, forecast sales and make quotes. In short, a CRM helps remind business owners that they are in the industry to achieve one goal – grow their business.
Prior to the emergence of CRM systems, business owners made use of Excel Spreadsheet, note cards, and even Rolodex to handle consumer’s interactions. Although these worked fine for businesses that were starting out, they didn’t provide much scalability to the company in the long run. In fact, LinkedIn surveyed more than 7,000 professionals and revealed that Rolodex and desk phones are part of the top 10 list of items that are likely to disappear from offices within the next five years.
Simply put, CRM can serve as a game-changer for your small business and if you have not yet integrated the system, then perhaps 2018 is the year for you to give it a try.
To help you make the decision, here are some benefits of CRM for your small and mid-sized business:
- Increase in sales
The most significant reason for adopting CRM software is to increase sales. “But won’t sales increase automatically if my product is worthwhile for the customer?” Of course, it will. But with a CRM software, sales personnel will have a more granular view of the sales cycle. For example, a CRM software will help the sales team identify the buying preferences of both – existing and potential customer. By knowing their requirements, the sales team can quickly put their efforts in targeting the right customers and nurturing the current leads instead of wasting time following prospects.
Here are some studies that support this fact:
- Innoppl technologies conducted research which showed that 65% of the sales rep who adopted mobile CRM claimed to achieve their sales quota of the year.[i]
- 74% of business owners are also saying that CRM software has increased their access to consumer data.
- Furthermore, having immediate access to consumer’s data has shortened the sales cycle to 8 – 14%.
- Increased efficiency
Offering CRM access to the workforce also helps improve the effectiveness of the workforce. Take a salon owner for example. To be successful in the booming industry, one doesn’t only have to recognize each client but should also be aware of his or her preferences as well as personal style requirements. Imagine what would happen if you suggested a bob to someone who always preferred to keep their hair in layers. Or dyed a slightly different shade on a client’s hair who wanted the same one you did six months ago. The client who visits you frequently expects you to remember the small tidbits about them and don’t like to remind you of what they require each time they come to your salon. A CRM system can assist you in keeping all the detailed information about a client including their style statement in a single dashboard. Most CRM systems also offer mobile apps that are helpful in updating information on the go.
Additionally, customer’s interactions such as emails and phone calls can also be recorded to keep track of client’s appointments, queries, and suggestions.
- Organization of data
Undoubtedly, the CRM is an all-rounder and keeps your data accessible at all times. In fact, a CRM can take the burden of many tasks off your shoulders. Even if you have a small business, there is a lot to do. Attend phone calls, schedule meetings, reply to emails, track financial records, and many day-to-day tasks end up becoming hasslesome for business owners and their employees. Moreover, these menial tasks take time and can exhaust a person.
However, a CRM works as a gatekeeper and takes care of all business operations including keeping track of your meetings, assessing financial records, filing consumer’s data, and other mundane tasks. Additionally, the systematic methodology frees up the employees, thus allowing them to focus on jobs that require their immediate attention. Statistics also show that employees experience a surge in their productivity of about 15% with the integration of CRM in the company.
- Improved relationship with the client
We, humans, like to voice our opinions. Whether it’s our ideas, excitement, frustrations, or even our disappointment – we want someone to hear us out. Our customers are no different either. Time and again, research has shown that customer’s satisfaction is the key to success in any business.
A study conducted by Salesforce reveals that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if they are satisfied with the company’s customer service. Review Tracker also conducted a similar study and concluded that 52% of consumers expect a response to their query within seven days while those who have posted a negative review demand a feedback within three days. For instance, take a look at banks like Wells Fargo and Barclays who are responsible for the money and property of more than million individuals. The banks take advantage of CRM social media technology that keeps them in touch with their clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to the head at Wells Fargo, “We see the cloud as a way to help people connect with customers, to connect around building products, and to connect around risk management practices.”
Simply put, the customer is always right. They can foresee any problem with your brand – well before you can. The automated CRM system responds to customer’s needs promptly which enhances and improves the customer’s experience.
- Improves customer satisfaction
Why do you think Google shows you ads that are related to your interests? The dentist you visited a year ago sent you a message wishing you a Happy Birthday. Does he actually remember your birthday or does he have an app for it? A software that you purchased three years ago recently had an upgrade, and the company emailed to let you know about it. Does the company have detailed records of all their consumers after this many years?
Truthfully speaking, the dentist probably doesn’t remember you, let alone your birthday. But a CRM system can give customers (like you) the impression that the company you once interacted with still understands your needs and preferences. As mentioned above, all the interaction with a customer is saved in the database of CRM. Since it’s impossible to remember the information about thousands of customers, the advanced features of a CRM system does the job for you and updates them with your company’s happenings.
- Reduces costs
In this age and era, are you still printing papers and storing all documents in different files and folders? Are all orders processed manually by your company?
High paper waste can cost the company both, time and money. Surprisingly, 58% of European companies use paper and stores records on office premises rather than opting for a digital system. On the other hand, how can one expect to offer exceptional product and service to their customers when they are busy administering documents?
Investing in a digital system might seem expensive initially, but ultimately it can help lower operational costs. With CRM, everything is in the cloud. This means that your staff can quickly find relevant information with a single click. It also lowers compliance cost and enhances the ability of the workforce to provide accurate, timely, and transparent information.
Supposedly you go to a trade show where you meet over 100 individuals who can be beneficial for your company in one way or other. Of course, when you go back in the office, you don’t know what to do with all those leads. With a mobile CRM solution, you can conveniently enter the names of the people you interact with and allow technology to prioritize them for you.
Once upon a time, business revolved around an office-based computer system or even the office as a single working place. However, with the emergence of mobile technology, business owners have discovered that anything that can be done digitally and on the go as well. In fact, sales rep are often on the go, and we can all agree that booting up a laptop for any communication is not a viable option. With mobile innovation, everyone in the company – from the CEO to the unpaid intern- can remain in touch with the company, even when on the go.
With mobile CRM, sales personnel can access data regarding customer from multiple devices such as tablets and smartphones. Additionally, continuous real-time updates allow everyone in and out of the office to be aware of any changes.
Furthermore, mobile CRM can also enhance communication with your clients. Take Uber as a model. The company is an excellent example of a business which is using the most advanced mobile technology to optimize their customer’s experience.
Another excellent example of a CRM mobile user is FruitGuys. The San Francisco based company deals in fresh fruit delivery and up until now relied on emails for business queries. However, the company recently adopted CRM and is now able to track their drivers and take customer’s feedback through real-time updates. The mobility has also enabled the team to respond quickly, thus improving the customer’s experience with their products.
How to select a CRM solution for your small business?
The reasons mentioned above are probably enough to justify why you need a CRM in today’s cutthroat business environment. However, once you venture into the market to actually purchase one, you will be surprised at the plethora of choices available. Before buying a CRM for your small business, make sure the one you select is:
- Easy to use
- Hosted on a cloud platform
- Customizable according to the needs of your business
- Scalable and has the ability to grow with your company
It is also a good idea to check out the features that your selected CRM has to offer. For instance, it is certainly helpful if you get a free demo before signing up with the company. The test run will give you a better perspective on how useful the CRM will be for your business environment. Free sales pipeline template, tracking tools, and usability on mobile devices are also notable features to look out for when searching for a CRM solution.
A CRM system is a long-term plan with a long-term impact, so make sure you don’t make a hasty decision and choose wisely. Good luck and let us know how CRM solution has transformed your business.
About Michelle Joe:
Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on twitter: @michellejoe524