Why CRM Is Critical to Small-Business Success Right Now

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The coronavirus has dramatically plunged the world economy into a crisis unlike any other, forcing many businesses to transform into cloud-based operations or risk closing permanently. In fact, 1 in 5 businesses are expecting to wait a year before experiencing a full recovery, and the estimated cost of coronavirus sits at more than $64,000 per company.

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have been disproportionately affected by the global pandemic as they adapt to stay top of mind without direct access to customers. As a result, many SMBs have implemented customer relationship management (CRM) solutions at lightning speed, and it’s no secret why.

Those that have capitalized on these advanced solutions to improve customer loyalty, engagement, and retention are faring far better than those who haven’t. According to Bain & Company, an increase in client retention as little as 5 percent can provide companies with a 75 percent boost in profits.

As we all know, maintaining customer contact is the lifeline to any company, no matter the industry. Utilizing a CRM is good for business, as there’s a major difference between those who are thriving and those who are struggling to survive.

CRMs Give SMBs the Edge

Long before the pandemic turned the world upside down, customers were demanding more seamless, personalized interactions. There were limitless CRM options for enterprise-level companies, but nothing that spoke to the needs and budgets of SMBs. As the world makes a heavy shift to more virtual connections, now is the time for small businesses to invest in these innovative software solutions.

CRM technology has long been regarded as an essential tool for all businesses. But with new operational challenges due to health and safety restrictions, it has become essential to stay afloat. It not only empowers a first-class customer experience, but also simultaneously drives revenue and gives SMBs a competitive advantage.

Simplified Client Management

One of the main reasons that more SMBs invest in CRM solutions is its incredible ability to simplify client management by centralizing customer data. In fact, a recent report found that 74 percent of CRM users said their system gave them improved access to customer data.

Top CRM platforms streamline the storage of customer data into a singular dashboard, making it accessible to all departments and providing a 360-degree view of customers in real time. This cuts down on time wasted searching for accurate customer information, allowing service teams to rapidly access the data needed to support customers while driving value, engagement, and sales. With simplified processes for small customer service tasks, CRM can drastically increase productivity while generating more high-quality leads.

Seamless Sales Strategy

CRM applications can help increase sales by up to 29 percent, sales productivity by up to 34 percent, and sales forecast accuracy by 42 percent. With CRM helping to easily locate where current and potential customers are in the customer cycle, marketers can prioritize who to contact while staying organized to ensure important leads don’t fall through the cracks. By identifying and re-engaging dormant customers with automated email marketing campaigns, customers will stay engaged at the right time to generate optimal responses.

Backed up by reliable reporting tools and access to customer history, CRM solutions make it easier than ever to accurately forecast a company’s pipeline. Every stage of a customer's life cycle can be monitored and acted upon while ensuring strategic alignment across the entire business.

Automated Target Marketing

Today’s consumers not only long for personalized and relevant content, but they demand it. While the one-size-fits-all approach is archaic and outdated, the execution of personalized marketing efforts can be extremely time-consuming, especially when customer data is disorganized. CRM ensures customer data is more digestible, making it easier to pinpoint and target specific key audiences.

CRM software also collects data on customer behavior and preferences, which allows marketers to take informed actions to drastically improve customer experiences. Getting away from mass marketing and creating a two-way dialogue between marketers and customers will set any business apart from the competition.

In addition, a CRM solution analyzes past marketing campaigns to identify what key trends yielded necessary results, allowing marketers to make more informed campaign decisions and take the guesswork out of building quality campaigns.

Increased Profits

CRM is critical to any business looking to utilize a customer database to maximum profitability. Installing a successful CRM can save SMBs valuable hours of employee time, in turn saving money by engaging in more productive efforts. As sales and productivity increase, companies can have higher client retention rates while conversely lowering customer attrition and defection rates to generate more profits. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, a 5 percent reduction in customer defection rates can increase profits as high as 95 percent.

Using CRM to the Fullest

CRM software has the potential to enhance many aspects of a small business, but only if you use its features to their full potential. On average, businesses only use 20 percent of their CRM capabilities. If a business is just beginning to use a CRM software or they don’t have the bandwidth to operate a system, freelancers can be a useful tactic.

Highly trained and certified freelancers can deliver a customized CRM approach and deliver the exact solutions a business needs without long-term contracts, limits, or minimums. Utilizing freelancers who know the platform inside and out can increase opportunities for business success and growth. Freelancers are trained to seamlessly integrate CRM into an existing organization and quickly identify and solve even the biggest business challenges.

The unique nature of the pandemic poses new challenges for businesses of all sizes as they climb toward recovery. Fortunately, CRM technology gives businesses a leg up by helping them target the highest-quality leads, ramp up retention efforts, increase sales productivity, and distribute more personalized messaging to existing customers. Investing in necessary technology will create additional growth for any business, even during this period of economic uncertainty.

Susan Marshall is a 25-plus-year technology professional who’s worked at Adobe, Apple, and Salesforce. As the visionary behind Torchlite, Marshall brought the first Torchlite Marketplace online in 2015 to create a road map for marketers to successfully navigate the digital learning curve ahead, while giving highly skilled, professional freelancers the opportunity to expand their own businesses. Now a Certified Salesforce Partner, Torchlite’s primary focus is to serve businesses working with cross-cloud Salesforce products. Susan loves technology, digital marketing, and building teams of super-smart people.

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