How CRM Is Revolutionizing Small Business
- February 19, 2017
- Category: Banking, Business, Finance, Markets
Small businesses may think that they can survive tracking their sales and customers with Post-It notes, Google Docs, or Excel. But more and more small businesses are jumping at the chance to latch onto customer relationship management (CRM) tools.
A few years ago, this opportunity would be unheard of. CRM was for businesses large enough to have a dedicated IT department, who would monitor the data and report their results to their bosses. But as CRM software grows cheaper and more user-friendly, small businesses owners can now take the time needed to get started with CRM and improve their businesses and sales
But why is this necessary? When Salesforce claims that CRM applications increase sales by 29 percent and boosts sales productivity by up to 34 percent, what precisely happens? And how can a company avoid the pitfalls of other business who act like a good CRM system will completely fix their business and end up rudely awakened?
The benefits of CRM Technology
Customer relationship management software is well, about managing customer relationships. Salesforce describes it as managing “business relationships and the data and information associated with them.”
But in a globalized market with more and more competitors and opportunities, it can become difficult for a business to track all of its customers. A business can lose track of a repeat customer, and thus lose a bond and connections which grant new opportunities.
As noted above, an extremely small business can use more familiar, cheaper software like spreadsheets and Post-Its to keep track for a time. But that is not a centralized system, and it increases the difficulty of ensuring that everyone in your small business is aware of the company’s long-term strategy and which markets it plans to exploit. If a salesman who has had a long-term relationship with a particular client chooses to leave the company, it can be extremely difficult for a small business without CRM to get the replacement up to speed on that client’s habits and preferences.
By managing your data, CRM software can give a business owner new insights about upcoming opportunities. For example, a business can use CRM software to discover trends in their repeat customers which would otherwise to be difficult to discern under a tidal wave of data. This can be something such as realizing that a firm does great business with pharmaceuticals, which means that the firm should be hiring workers who possess a familiarity with that industry.
CRM Software is Available and Affordable
Even if a business owner remains skeptical about CRM software’s ability to centralize its sales targets and ensure better internal communication, the increasing availability and affordability of these cloud-based programs means that there is less harm in giving them a try. Notable examples of CRM tools include bpm’online, Insightly, Salesforce, and Zoho.
Bpm’online’s differentiator is embodied in its name—its initials stand for built-in business process management. Its software focuses on the entire business processes with the ability for sales managers to set up guided activities for reps’ field visits, as well GPS tracking to help determine which reps are the most efficient. It also integrates social tools, sales, marketing and service functions into one platform.
Insightly is easy to use even for someone unfamiliar with CRM software. It charges just $12 per user per month, and includes an integrated project management solution which thus ensures better communication between a business and its customers.
Insightly lacks a few features such as coordinating a business’s social media, but smaller businesses can generally handle such matters by themselves.
Zoho is for businesses which want to ask more out of their CRM software in exchange for a higher price of $35 per month. Zoho is better integrated with Gmail and Google and owners can set alerts for managers to take notice of. In addition, a key feature called the Opportunity Tracking Tool helps give businesses a more comprehensive view of all of its sales activity. Users can also link their social media with Zoho, ensuring that they are always connected.
All of these choices are perfectly valid, as well as other software such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or Act! But even a small business can now use CRM software while paying an absolute pittance.
Know how to use CRM Correctly
Even though CRM software can revolutionize any business, a software can only do what its user tells it to do. There are many businesses which look at the potential of CRM and think that they can use it to make up for sloppy data retention and poor internal sales communication.
At the most basic level, CRM software is a database. This means that all salespeople and involved members have to be thoroughly involved in both inputting the data you know and using the data created by everyone else. But all too often, employees will chafe at using entirely new, unfamiliar software, even if it will save them time and effort over the long run. As Marketing Weekly observes, “CRM software’s biggest disadvantage is the resentment employees may feel toward the software.”
Consequently, CRM requires constant supervision and training. Managers have to expect regular reports, ensure that CRM training is thorough, and pay attention to make sure that these systems are working in the way which they are supposed to. If a business puts in the work to use CRM cloud software correctly, then it can expect strong results as salespeople and management will become cohesive about their goals.
CRM Represents a Revolutionary Future
CRM possesses a great deal of advantages beyond its ability to increase sales. It can help ensure that business are following key regulations, track profitability to give accountants an easier time, and improve a company’s ability to offer the best customer service possible.
These technologies were just the tool of big businesses, and it is true that those businesses still have an easier attracting premium CRM tools. But now, any small business with a great deal can ensure smoother operations thanks to CRM software. It is a fantastic opportunity, and every business should at the bare minimum examine the software mentioned above and figure out if it may be the best fit at a low cost to improve a business.
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