If you want to understand the U.S. economy, you need to focus on small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 99.9 percent of all companies in America are considered small businesses—which the SBA defines as having fewer than 500 employees. According to the SBA’s most recent statistics, there are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S. and between 2000 and 2017 these companies accounted for about 65 percent of net new job creation.
In terms of their importance to the nation as a whole, there’s nothing small about small businesses. Which is why it’s so important for small companies to take full advantage of the tools and technologies that can fuel their success. Today, that means utilizing a CRM, which has long been regarded as the exclusive domain of large enterprises.
CRM is the key to sustainable growth
There are many reasons why this should not be the case, though underlying all of those reasons is the fact that a CRM is indispensible for small companies aiming to grow by improving how they communicate with prospective customers and serve existing ones. In fact, one recent study reported that a properly deployed and used CRM can increase sales by nearly 30 percent and sales productivity by as much as 34 percent.
A number of CRM tools and features deliver those capabilities and benefits to small businesses. Perhaps the most important is the ability to centralize and track every bit of information a company collects about its prospects and existing customers. This can be particularly vital for small businesses that have grown from just an employee or two, because it means the company’s success and growth are no longer dependent on the individual tools (like slips of paper or email contacts) used by each employee.
By using a CRM, all of a small business’s customer communications—be it from sales people or customer service—are quickly accessible to anybody in the company who needs them. This is helpful in avoiding needlessly repetitive outreach and messages to customers and prospects but also as a way to track that any problems have been resolved. For sales people, quick visibility into customer communications can also be paired with information about past purchases as a way to offer a reminder to customers in case they forget to reorder supplies or if there may be new products you can deliver that they will value.
CRM can help focus your marketing as you grow
As a small business grows, it will inevitably gather an increasingly diverse group of clients and customers. A CRM can help segment a company’s prospects and customers by geography, business size or simply past interactions. When this happens, a small business can increase the relevance of its marketing and sales communications; a valuable existing customer should be catered to differently than a customer who opted to sign up for an email list.
A CRM with marketing automation capabilities can ensure that you stay in regular contact with customers without having to devote precious staff time to sending out emails and other promotional campaigns. When those tasks are automated your staff can devote time to creating new products and proactively reaching out to customers to make sure they’re happy. When all of these capabilities are available to the owners and employees of a small business, they have plenty of time to think big.