A Customer Relationship Management System or CRM for small business, is more popularly described as CRM serves functions that are true to its name. As defined, it is a system that helps a company manage and analyze its relationship with both customers and potential customers. The aim behind the usage of CRM is for a company to better understand its customers and to be able to forge powerful relationships from the insights derived. CRMs, if used right, serve a wide variety of purposes for the company.
What does a CRM system do
First, CRMs can easily store customer contact data. And that makes it easy for a company to find a customer’s contacts and instantly communicate with them as required. Also, CRMs let companies efficiently provide post-sales support to their customers who might need it. In the world of commerce, a business deal should not end when a sale has been made. Customers are very liable to misunderstand the usage of a product and hence, the need for them to ask questions. When they can ask these questions and get the right answers from the business, they easily trust the company’s services and find it very easy to patronize again. Simply put, using a customer relationship management system can help your business retain customer loyalty and in turn, drive more sales.
Most importantly, using a CRM to manage your customer data helps your company categorize your leads and enables you to decide on which set of people to prioritize with your sales strategies. It is a common understanding that the best sales results can only be achieved when the sales efforts are targeted towards people with a keen interest in the product or service being sold. Through valuable insights provided by the CRM’s tracking of individual customer actions, you can easily estimate the level of interest shown by each lead and promote the products to them.
Features of a good CRM
There are, of course, certain features that make a CRM qualify as good. These features will be duly discussed.
First, an excellent CRM should be easy to use. The whole aim of a CRM is to help businesses quickly perform actions that would have otherwise been performed by hand. These actions include the creation, deletion, and importation of data from existing databases. If your CRM still makes you do as much as you would without it, that means it is terrible and should be discarded.
Secondly, a standard CRM system must be easily usable. One of the most critical features is definitely the usability. Such a system should have a clear-cut user interface, efficient user documentation for references, and excellent user support. The time required to train one employee on the usage of the CRM must be as short as possible. This is more so because the original aim of a CRM is to help increase business efficiency and reduce time spent performing necessary actions.
Also, any sound CRM system must be easily adaptable to growth and changes. Any business aims to grow and become bigger; your CRM should do that too. The adaptability of a CRM system is also affected by its ability to easily integrate with other hardware and software systems that help improve the overall experience.
Lastly, as it is known that the real aim of a business is to make sales, using a good CRM should help in this regard. The operation of a CRM must help increase customer satisfaction and overall sales. The system should be able to do more than just storing the addresses of customers. It should provide useful customer data for sales personnel and help them understand each customer’s traits at first glance. If it is used by a small business, it should also be able to provide these functions to whoever operates the system.
CRM and email marketing for small business
Some times businesses confuse the functions of email marketing software for that of a CRM. However, these two types of software are different in their entirety. Email marketing software only helps store contacts of customers and makes it possible for your business to create email marketing campaigns. On the other hand, CRM is the total package. CRMs, unlike email marketing software, treat contacts as a person and not just an address. Email marketing simply provides a medium through which your business can contact your customers and send them quick campaigns. It also helps you track valuable marketing information such as the contacts who opened your emails and interacted with the links from each campaign, but it doesn’t capture any other useful information about them or your business relationship with them. A CRM not only helps you maintain a database of your customers and potential customers, but it also helps you fully understand them and tailor your business decisions to favor their individual needs.
However, since it has been proven that email marketing strategy is the cheapest and yet the most effective form of marketing for business, it is only wise for one to combine both email marketing and CRM for any business. The data obtained from successive campaigns can help small enterprises to personalize the marketing campaigns for better results. A personalized campaign, in turn, helps companies get more returns on investments in marketing strategies.
Best CRM for one person businesses
Just like companies with multiple staff, businesses run by only one person, otherwise known as ‘solopreneurs,’ are quite popular. In the case of a one-person shop, there are a set of features that must be present in a CRM before it becomes suitable for use. The number one problem faced by most one-man businesses is funding. It is doubtful that a one-person business would be able to pay a few thousands of dollars for a piece of software. In this case, price and capability must be considered before the final choice is made. Also, you must be sure to choose a CRM which comes with additional features like marketing automation and customer support. There are a few free ones available that suit this description. All you have to do is research all your options.
Also, your choice CRM for your business must be easy to learn and use for you. If otherwise, your usage of the CRM will make you less efficient, and that defeats the whole aim of getting a CRM in the first place. When choosing a CRM for your business, you must also consider the extent of support provided by the CRM company. The best CRM service providers ensure that they give a brief walk through of the implementation process just to make sure you understand the product being used. In all you do, make sure to choose a CRM provider that gives you the much-needed support during and after the installation process.
One widely accepted standard among CRM systems is the presence of a highly customizable dashboard that lets the user decide what to see and whatnot. A dashboard, when customized to taste, allows you to open your CRM and take note of the most critical data and see useful projections presented in charts and other info graphics in the shortest time possible.
In the business world of today, social media is the go-to place for lead generation. This is why it is imperative to get a CRM system that allows you to manage social media interactions with customers through the system. Also, a good CRM should provide real-time updates about social media tags and mentions for you to respond and generate possible leads. Humans are mobile beings; this is even more expected of systems used by. One common feature that should be found in every good business is mobility. Keeping this in mind, any good CRM should provide you instant access as long as you have a mobile device and data connection. This also requires that your CRM software is mobile-friendly as you cannot always remain in a location that allows for an elaborate set up of your system. However, the technical requirement for mobility in the case of CRMs is that the system is cloud-based.
Being that the primary function of CRMs is to help a business manage the relationship between them and the customers, it is also significant for you, as a small business owner, that your CRM software has modern features to support your marketing efforts. An effective CRM, should in one way or the other, make it easy for you to carry the most important marketing tasks such as list segmentation, etc. Also, the system should have features that let you automate your marketing strategies. By automation, it means the system should be able to automatically generate follow-up emails for new subscribers and to also add a touch of personalization to your email newsletters.
However, it is crucial to understand that using a CRM doesn’t just make the sales for you without your efforts. I believe you have to be willing to go the extra mile to ensure that your marketing strategies give maximum returns on investment.