CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software was initially looked upon as a luxury that could be afforded only by big companies with huge budgets. However, in the past few years multiple vendors have come out with Small Business CRM softwares which are both effective and inexpensive. As a small business owner, how does your need for CRM differ from those of large organizations? Also, what should small businesses look for, in CRM?
Let us look at why CRM for Small Businesses makes sense as a concept.
1) Small Businesses are supposed to know their customers well
If your customer data is not organized correctly, it can lead to chaos in any business. It may result in your sales team forgetting to follow up with potential leads and you may end up losing valuable customers. Tracking leads and sales calls in an excel sheet can result in multiple misses. In a Small Business setup, people already have too much on their plates and the culture is fast-paced. Therefore, the organization of data often gets put on a back-seat in terms of priority. This can also result in customer dissatisfaction as they may have to supply the same information multiple times to your teams or follow up many times with your teams for getting their issues sorted.
A good CRM software can help you to collect relevant customer data and store it in one central location. This data can be remotely accessed by your sales team from anywhere, anytime. CRM can also give a real-time-update to your sales teams, apprising them of the current status of each customer. When a customer calls for help, the team has all the information about what the customer purchased, when, when was his/her last interaction with you, what was the issue etc. This allows them to personalize customer interactions thus making the experience better for both themselves as well as the customers.
2) Small Businesses have to track each and every lead
Irrespective of the size of your business, it is vital to potential follow-up sales leads to ensure that they convert to paying clients. Manually keeping track of the follow-up status of every sales call that your team has conducted will take a lot of time and effort. No one in a small business set up has that much time. Also, unlike large businesses; it is very unlikely that Small businesses have a long line of qualified leads waiting. They cannot afford to lose any lead. Small Business CRM systems can automate most of these processes saving time and energy. They can send out alerts whenever new leads come and also send out reminders when it is time to follow up with the potential customers you have already spoken to.
3) Small Businesses have to upgrade quickly
If you are a small business owner, there is no knowing how soon you can double your client roster. A best CRM software can easily organize double or triple the amount of data, without you having to put in double or triple the amount of energy and effort. If you are an extremely small business having just around 5-10 clients, maybe you could look at an alternative to CRM. However, if you have plans to grow, you should ideally invest in a Small Business CRM software.
4) Small Businesses require support
A big mistake that many companies make while buying a CRM software is that they look for as many features as possible instead of looking at a combination of features, support and how easy it is to use. Your CRM tool may have 100 features – but how many of those features are you really going to use? For example: – If you are a small business servicing about 50 odd customers, your current CRM software does not need features like quote management, scoring of leads, email marketing etc. You need a simple software that your people will be able to use easily. If your software has too many features, it will confuse your team and they will resist using it considering it a waste of their time.
One important feature to look for is – A good onboarding system/process for your team/new users. It can be in the form of physical induction sessions, video-based tutorials, documentation etc. There should also be rock-solid customer support from your CRM vendor. There are bound to be teething issues while your team gets used to the CRM system. If you do not have a large IT support team and if something goes wrong, you need the vendor’s support.
When choosing a CRM for your small business, you could look for features like lead management, auto – notifications, calendaring and task management. It should be intuitive, easy to learn and easy to use. Make sure you read up user reviews before making a purchase. There are multiple online sites that give you unbiased user reviews of CRM software offered by different vendors. Study the market, list down your requirement, read user reviews and then make an informed purchase decision. The right CRM software, when integrated seamlessly into your business can do wonders in easing out your operations.
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