Small business is perhaps the most unstable line of business. As the entrance threshold is low, you risk encountering a number of competitors in almost any niche (unless, of course, you are living in a small town and serve only local customers).
If you are a small business owner who plans to operate for a long time in a highly competitive market, you should strive to improve the quality of your service and the customer interactions your sales team engages in to make people want to purchase your product or service.
A Customer Relationship Management CRM system can help you optimize all of these processes. In this article, you’ll learn what a CRM system is, the key benefits of CRM to customers, and why you need CRM software for your small business.
The key to maintaining a positive reputation among existing and potential customers is to deliver mutually beneficial customer interactions, optimizing your marketing automation and marketing campaigns, and creating a finely tuned sales process. Moreover, customer service doesn’t stop right after the purchase is made – it is no less important to provide the customers with a flexible discount system, regular notifications about new products and special offers, and customer support if needed.
What Does CRM Stand For?
A CRM solution, also known as customer relationship management is ideal for managing your customer interactions, contact information, customer information, marketing automation, and more. CRMs allow you to transfer all the data you used to keep in scattered spreadsheets or notebooks into one centralized system.
A CRM tool keeps track of all the personal and contact details about your customers, revenue from their purchases, their preferences in terms of products/services/etc., and any other useful information. You can use this data to optimize customer interactions and support.
Moreover, thanks to having such a centralized data storage space, it is easier for business owners to obtain a multidimensional understanding of all the processes related to interacting and tracking customers. For instance, some CRM systems record phone calls, store messaging histories, and more.
Who Manages a CRM?
If you find the right CRM solution, all of the teams that make up your company can benefit from a CRM. For example, Nimble is integrated with over 130 SaaS business apps; this can be leveraged to benefit accounting departments, sales teams, marketing departments, customer service teams, social media managers, and more.
Some CRMs (such as Nimble) even integrate with your G Suite or Outlook apps, enabling you to work smarter across inboxes, calendars, and more.
As for managing the CRM software, an assigned system administrator is responsible for adjusting the various settings and distributing access permissions to the team. The majority of modern CRM systems have intuitive admin panels that are easy to use, even for a not-so-tech-savvy person. A CRM can also be managed by a representative of the CRM vendor itself on your behalf.
Top 10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A CRM
Let’s take a closer look at the top ten reasons why your small business needs A CRM:
1. You want to expand your business
The more customers you have, the more workload your employees will have to deal with. You will need to hire new employees which means increasing labor costs, renting a new office, acquiring new equipment, etc. Alternatively, you can look for more cost-efficient optimization options – and implementing a CRM solution is one of them.
2. You aim to optimize your employees’ work
A CRM system unifies customer information among your employees as efficiently as possible, in real time. Your team won’t have to waste countless hours looking for contact information, lead information on potential customers, and the like.
3. You run a recently opened business
If you are taking your first steps in running your own business, a CRM system will help you stay focused and create optimized working processes for your team from the very beginning. This makes more sense than trying to change the working algorithms your employees got used to in a year or two, doesn’t it?
4. Your business isn’t growing to scale
If you’re not seeing the sales results that you desire, ineffective marketing campaigns and lackluster customer service may be impacting your progress. A CRM system can help optimize these processes while letting you focus on building better relationships with current or potential customers.
5. Your sales department is growing
If someone on your sales team calls out sick or goes on a vacation, keeping track of his or her customer information can become a huge problem. Unless, of course, that employee spends a couple of days explaining everything to another employee and sharing all the important files. With a CRM, your employees won’t have to waste their time on such an issue.
6. You want to revitalize your marketing strategy
With every year, traditional marketing campaigns aimed at a nonspecific audience are becoming less and less effective. If you want to increase your sales, you should create more personalized offers and take the time to truly understand your customers and their needs. A CRM, in its turn, can help you with this. It can also help with marketing automation such as scheduling email blasts (Nimble even integrates with Office 365 to allow you to use your CRM within your Outlook inbox) or social media posts.
7. You are constantly looking for touch points within your sales funnel
To stand out amongst their competitors, a brand has to do a lot of research on their target audience and the market they should be catering to. This work is usually done by several people. To speed up these tasks, a CRM system includes features such as pipeline management, task management, and various analytical tools for creating reports and providing insights on consumer behavior.
8. You aim to automate your business processes
Not a single business can operate properly without at least some automation today. Automating routine tasks such as data entry and deals management can improve your employees’ productivity and boost overall sales. Besides, an algorithm won’t ever let you down — unlike an inattentive or inexperienced employee.
9. You strive to constantly improve the quality of your employees’ work
Many online crmCRM systems allow you to record phone calls and store messaging history, so you will be able to track customer interactions. You will have a better understanding of how to improve your CRM for sales process and what insight to provide your team in order to close more deals.
10. Your former business strategy turned out to be unsuccessful
Do you need to restore your reputation among your customers? You can do it by improving the quality of the customer service. Obviously, a CRM will be a great help in this endeavor.
Who Needs A CRM?
Who needs a CRM system? Long story short, the answer is any company that strives to make interaction with customers better. Both B2B and B2C companies can reap the benefits of CRM software for sales. B2B companies usually aim to obtain loyal customers and build stable partnerships. B2C companies have to react to customers’ requests as fast as possible and process huge amounts of data every day.
The State of the CRM Market
The CRM software market is constantly growing with more and more solutions for small businesses, in particular, launched every now and then. It’s impossible to deny that there is a demand for CRM systems among small businesses. Based on our company’s own experience, this type of software solution is particularly popular with IT companies and real estate firms.
However, all industries benefit from implementing a CRM. In fact, studies indicate that 95% of small businesses require a CRM.
What Features Should You Be Looking For In A CRM?
The functionality of a CRM system can be divided into the following categories:
- Storing and managing contacts. Thanks to creating a single customer database (and partners and/or competitors database if needed), business owners and their employees can avoid wasting tons of time looking for a particular contact or gathering all the needed data.
- Interacting with customers. With the help of a CRM system, your sales department employees will have the whole history of interacting with every customer. They will be better equipped to react to their complaints and requests.
- Managing deals. CRM systems help you keep track of every deal from the very beginning till the very end. You will not miss a single detail or event.
- Planning business processes. If you have a centralized business processes management tool, planning new business tasks becomes a lot easier.
- Forming offers. Most CRM systems already have inbuilt templates for trade offers that you can customize depending on your business’ specifics.
- Analytics and reports. As all the data is stored in one place and CRM includes the analytics tools and reports’ templates, creating them won’t be as difficult and time-consuming as it used to be before such software appeared.
Are You Ready For Integration?
How can you understand why you need CRM for small business? Well, first of all, if you are reading this article, you’re looking to optimize the business processes related to interacting with customers.
For instance, many companies (especially small ones) store all the data about their customers in spreadsheets and sticky notes. It would be ideal to store this information in a cloud-based CRM, but many business owners create such files on local machines only. If the computers break down (for instance, a hard drive gets damaged), this database gets lost forever.
Moreover, even if your hardware and software functions properly, such spreadsheets are efficient only up to the moment when the number of your customers gets too huge for you to be able to navigate this amount of constantly updated data.
It is impossible to visualize connections between different contacts in an Excel spreadsheet – and no, using different colors for this purpose is not the solution to your problems. Besides, switching between several databases significantly slows down your employees. In the case of someone leaving your company or going on vacation, you will waste tons of time restoring their previous interactions with customers and all the data needed for processing past orders.
Before your staff reaches such chaos, it is a good time to start looking for a perfect CRM without any hurry or stress.
The Bottom Line
As we can see, a CRM is a go-to solution for small businesses. It allows you to avoid hiring more people in order to optimize interacting with customers. You won’t have to increase the staffing of your call center as soon as the number of your customers exceeds several hundred.
If you are looking for a CRM with a good price-quality ratio, we strongly recommend you to take a closer look at (surprise!) Nimble. Its cost doesn’t exceed $25 per user/month. As for its functionality, it has everything you may need for customer service, marketing automation, accounting services, sales teams, and more. You can easily integrate this CRM with other software you already use with the help of APIs, including Office 365.
Visit our FAQ to learn more about Nimble CRM benefits for business.