Growth Without the Growing Pains

Millions of small businesses rely on the functionality of contact managers for their extensive customer lists. Contact managers have been on the market for more than 16 years, and have helped sales professionals manage leads and turn them into business. The goal of most small businesses is to grow, and once they do the technology in place must grow with them. For many small businesses the increased level of customers, prospects, and overall business processes involved in growing into a midsize organization can be overwhelming. A small business that is faced with growth must have the option to migrate from a contact manager to a CRM solution with the ability to handle the high-volume sales cycle associated with a midsize company, while consistently achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. Ideally, a small business migrating from a contact manager to a CRM solution for the midmarket will choose a solution that will allow the firm to build on the features and functionality it's already accustomed to. This will make the transition to a larger solution natural, putting the sales team at ease and reducing the time of training needed, allowing the sales team to do what it does best: sell. The decision to move from a contact manager to a full CRM solution is not an easy one. Some markers for small businesses that may need to consider a CRM solution targeted to midmarket organizations are:
  • If you feel the need to consolidate your marketing, sales, and support information into a database so that sales professionals can share vital customer information.
  • Key business units within the organization look to customer information to form campaigns and programs.
  • You see the need to track customers and prospects by customer accounts or opportunities, as well as by individual contacts.
  • Your business has grown enough that it would benefit the organization to link front- and back-office processes. One of the greatest benefits of moving to a CRM solution is the ability to integrate front- and back-office processes. The ability to link up your CRM solution to the accounting team, for instance, provides unlimited cross- and upsell opportunities. Every individual in an organization is empowered to work towards improving profitable customer relationships. Sales and marketing, accounting, finance, and shipping are all connected towards one goal of efficient business processes that provide a high level of ROI. Once a small business makes the move to a full CRM solution, it can begin to increase productivity, identify and target the most profitable customers, improve customer relations, and save dollars at a level that fits its business size and business goals. About the Author Jon van Duyne joined SalesLogix' midmarket CRM solutions business unit in November of 2003. As senior vice president and general manager, he is responsible for production and logistics for North America and global SalesLogix research and development. Jon's team comprises sales, marketing, product management, research and development, finance, human resources, customer support, and professional services. Jon spent 22 years in a variety of sales, marketing, and general management roles and has worked in more than 30 countries worldwide and specializes in developing new markets/channels and turnarounds in a variety of sectors. During the past several years Jon has been actively involved in a variety of CRM projects and programs, the majority of which focused on sales force automation (SFA). He holds an MBA from the University of Rochester in addition to a dual BA in journalism and history from Syracuse University.
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