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3 Reasons Why CRM Systems Are Even More Important for Small Businesses

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When most business owners think about a CRM system, their minds likely turn to the cloud-based platforms used by mid- to large-scale enterprises with dozens—if not hundreds—of sales reps. Every prospective and current customer interaction is tracked at scale, leading to increased sales and loyalty. For these types of organizations, investing in a CRM solution is a necessity.

But what about small businesses that don’t have structured sales teams and only a few employees? The truth is, when you have customer, supplier, or even just employee data that you need to record and update, Excel and similar platforms will only take you so far. You really need a CRM to take you further. It’s best to start out with something easy to use and simple to get going. Every company—small or large—needs a CRM system in place. In fact, one could argue that a CRM system is even more crucial for small businesses.

Here’s why: Customers expect to have closer relationships with a small-business merchant. The assumption is that you have a manageable customer pool, and if so, you should have the ability to intimately know your customers. Therefore, a CRM platform that is quick to get started, easy to use, and flexible enough to tailor to your business needs and processes is essential.

Once you determine the best solution for your business and begin using the software, the benefits are immense. Here are three key benefits small businesses can expect from a CRM system:

1. Marketing efforts are maximized.

Without a CRM system, 79 percent of all marketing leads are never converted to sales. Whether you have a modest or a large marketing budget, your efforts are not being tracked well enough without a CRM. Exposing current and prospective customers to the brand via email, social media, events, or digital advertising has inherent value. By connecting those leads to your CRM system, you can get a 360-degree view of their history and interactions with your company to create customized and engaging communications moving forward.

2. Upsells and repeat business increases.

Both the likelihood and cost of turning a new prospect into a customer is significantly higher than the cost and likelihood of a current customer buying again. While filling the pipeline and new customer acquisition are key ingredients for growth and shouldn’t be halted as part of your sales efforts, a CRM system can help streamline and increase upsells to your current customer base. When sales information is housed within the platform, it allows you to uncover trends, determine what products are often purchased together, in what order products are generally purchased, individual customer preferences, how often someone purchases and in what price range, and more. This data and analysis will provide greater opportunity to get more value from current customers.

3. Employee productivity soars.

How much time does your team currently spend on non-revenue-generating activity? Without technology to streamline customer acquisition and retention, the hours build up. From sales update meetings to manual data entry and sorting through paperwork, efficiency is a challenge when relying on legacy processes (or no processes at all). Adopting a CRM gives hours back to your team, allowing more time to connect and build relationships with customers. A CRM streamlines through integration;, for example, it can sync with your accounting and email marketing software so that you get all the information from one record and don’t have to pull reports from several different things and manually compile the data.

Remember, as with any software investment, it is only as good as the commitment you make to implementing and using a CRM. A few tips for success include:

  • Appoint a CRM project leader who’ll drive the CRM and own the delivery from start to finish (and beyond). This should ideally be a voluntary leader vs. assigned.
  • Get the buy-in of the executive team. If the people at the top (founder, CEO, VP of Sales) support the CRM and promote the strategic benefits to the business, it’s more likely to succeed.
  • Set expectations. Goals and expectations for the CRM should be set and understood by all parties so it’s easier to see the value right from the start.

By getting buy-in, securing internal champions of the software, and ensuring your team is properly trained, the ROI will be evident. Whether you are the CEO and solo salesperson or have a team of business development reps, CRM systems built for small business can be essential for optimizing and streamlining sales efforts.

Duncan Stockdill is cofounder and CEO of Capsule, a CRM provider based in the United Kingdom. Stockdill looks after marketing, product, and design decisions, guiding the team to deliver a world-class product that helps thousands of businesses around the globe. Follow him on Twitter @DuncanStockdill.

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