A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, as defined by HubSpot, is a system designed to manage relationships between a business and its customers. For a small business, running a CRM system may seem like overkill, particularly when you have other software, such as for your accounting, to buy. However, even in small companies, CRM’s pull their weight and contribute to return business and help the business to put customer satisfaction first. What should a small business be aware of when considering implementing a CRM system?
1. Assess Your Current Customer Base
For a small business to capitalize on its customer relationships, it first needs to figure out who those customers are and what they enjoy. Inc. suggests that looking at a business’ customer base requires figuring out why clients use your goods or services and what makes your business better than others. These give the company a starting point from where it can solidify those existing ties between the customer and itself through marketing and sales campaigns.
2. Using a CRM System As More Than Just Software
For a company to honestly use the power of a CRM system, it needs to start thinking about the system as more than just software to store customer interactions. EContent Magazine mentions that customer service improvement happens at the point where real-time behavioral data and historical data based on prior customer interaction with the business meet.
The business can set the CRM system to collect data for each customer interaction automatically and then use that data to customize the client’s experience. Ideally, this captured data should be used to affect how employees interact with customers, especially ones that are traditionally difficult to give better overall customer interaction.
3. Combining CRM With Data Analytics
PC Mag notes that both CRM and Business Intelligence (BI) software have the same goal – informing the business about how it can improve itself. By combining the data from a CRM with the analytics capability of BI software a company can potentially provide a streamlined experience for users, making it easier for them to get what they want. Integration of different data sources makes for a more well-rounded decision-making process for the business as a whole.
4. Using The Right Type Of CRM Software
Nextiva states that there are three distinct, major types of CRM systems: Operational, Analytical, and Collaborative. A company can implement any of these to suit its needs. Operational CRMs deal with streamlining customer interaction with a company. Analytical CRMs collect, store, and process data to better inform business decisions. Collaborative CRMs are used to share data between multiple locations within the business. Sometimes, a business requires a CRM that has elements of all three types to realize an improvement in its customer service system fully.
5. How Much Will CRM Implementation Cost?
The cost of CRM implementation is more than just the amount the business will pay to install the system. Additional charges such as training hours as well as fees for hosting servers and software also factor into the final impact a CRM may have on a company’s budget. A small business intending to implement a CRM needs to do a breakdown analysis of what each phase of implementation will incur as well as its ongoing costs to have an accurate picture of how it may impact the company’s finances.
6. Using A CRM For Connecting with Customers
In an ideal situation, a CRM system would be used primarily for establishing and maintaining connections with customers. To better serve consumers, a company should look into integrating their social media presence with their CRM.
Social media provides points of contact that can feed into a CRM’s interaction system to better inform the business about the individual customer’s wants and needs. A company may be able to do the same for email contacts through a mailing list. Each unique point of contact allows for more information to be added to the CRM for the particular customer, informing how the business deals with their specific needs.
7. The Choice Of CRM Software
For a small business, the choice of a CRM system may be difficult because of the number of options available. Finances Online has suggested the most suitable CRM systems for small businesses, giving small business owners a more concise list of providers. For any business, determining the needs of the company and what each CRM provides is essential to making the right choice.
CRMs Aid Business Development
Forbes states that as many as 86% of buyers are willing to pay for an improved customer experience. Customers that feel as though the business cares about their needs are more likely to return to the company and bring repeat business.
Growth of a business, regardless of its size, comes from converting customers. Business.com suggests that as little as 25% of leads for a business are viable ones, suggesting that companies need to do more if they intend to grow. CRM systems offer simplified ways to follow up with customers and streamlined the process of conversion.
More than anything, CRM systems offer ways for a business to grow and improve simply by making it easier for the business to interact with customers in a natural way. It informs employees of the needs and wants of consumers and informs the business how it can market to consumers. With integration with BI software, it can even offer analytical insights based on prior interactions. Small businesses need tools like CRM systems to be able to compete in a globalized marketplace.
Author Bio: Emily Jacobs is Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org. She loves to write latest technology trends and love to share her knowledge through her articles.