Business GrowthCRM BasicsCRM Best Practices

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Small Businesses

What’s considered a “small business”?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 99.9 percent of all companies in America are considered, “small businesses” (fewer than 500 employees). And their most recent statistics show there are over 30 million small businesses in the United States today.

As far as their importance to our 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 larger companies.

CRM is the key to growing your business

Regardless of a company’s size, if you want to improve productivity, increase sales, and keep customers happy-you need a web-based CRM system. In fact, a recent study reported that a properly deployed CRM can increase sales by nearly 30 percent and sales productivity by 34 percent.

What is the BEST CRM solution for your small business?

So if your company is considered “small” by U.S. standards, you need a CRM solution. But which one should you buy? Should you get a simple CRM that focuses on small businesses? What about a CRM system that specializes in your industry and for small businesses? Or maybe you only need a small business marketing solution? The answer is simple, you need the best CRM solution that fits your growing business.

Don’t limit your options based on what you need now. Find a CRM system that fits your current needs and that also allows you to grow to use the total solution. And that includes the flexibility of features and pricing.

Most CRM solutions have four key areas – contact management, marketing automation, sales force automation, and customer service. Overlay features include mobile CRM, workflow automation, email integration and business intelligence. You may not need all these features and functions today, but if your goal is to grow your company, you will need these options at some point. And rather than looking for a good solution now and then do the same research again later, find one that will work for you long-term. Get the best solution for you now and add on users and features as your small business grows.

Overlay features include mobile CRM, workflow automation, email integration, and business intelligence. You may not need all these features and functions today, but if your goal is to grow your company, you will need these options at some point. And rather than looking for a good solution now and then do the same research again later, find one that will work for you long-term. Get the best solution for you now and add on users and features as your small business grows.

What CRM features do you need now?

Every company needs to centralize and communicate important contact details. A lot of small companies allow their employees to keep track of their own customers with spreadsheets or other simple solutions. But what if they leave? They will take that data with them. And what if you need that information right now? You’ll have to wait for them to email it to you. You need a central repository that organizes all your clients and future customer’s data. And then be able to share this data real-time and run reports on this information.

Benefits of Contact Management for Small Businesses:

  • Keeping details about customers
  • Sharing details internally
  • Having real-time access
  • Creating tasks or reminders for yourself or others-escalating when necessary

Now your data is centralized in one location, you will need to communicate with your clients and future customers on a recurring basis. You need a marketing system. You need a tool that sends out custom emails based on past purchases (warranty information or up-sell related products). A tool that informs others of new products and services. A good marketing component of a CRM will also show opened and clicked links and then report your ROI.

Benefits of Marketing Automation for Small Businesses:

  • Ongoing personalized email marketing
  • Lead scoring & lead nurturing
  • Reports of emails opened and links that are clicked

If you have a sales team with lots of opportunities to track, and manual sales processes-you need a sales automation system. This allows your sales people to work from the same templates keeping your data consistent for forecasts and pipelines. Most CRM offerings provide sales quoting tools with contract and project management. Having this data in one place makes it easy to get updates and last minute changes automatically. And with CRM dashboards, you will have your important details at your fingertips.

Benefits of Sales Automation for Small Businesses:

  • Real-time access to forecast reports & sales pipelines
  • Sales quoting tools
  • Sales activities in a central location
  • Pipeline charts and graphs

Customer Service applications are also part of a complete CRM system. This is critical for tracking customer’s questions and issues. Your teams can quickly answer questions by looking up resolutions in a knowledge base or escalating to the right team member.
Having immediate access to solutions will keep your customers happy long-term.

Benefits of Customer Support for Small Businesses:

  • Helpdesk ticket management-customer portal, emails, and phone calls
  • Quick access to knowledge base resolutions
  • Automatic escalation for problem tickets
  • Project management for post-sales process tracking

Conclusion

If you have a small business, you need a CRM system. It won’t take a large investment for you to get a complete CRM management system that can grow with you. Look for solutions that have a low user minimum that also allows you to buy only the modules you need now.

If you are looking for a free solution, you will get what you pay for. And then, you will eventually pay a substantial amount when you need more features and users. Focus on CRM companies that care about your business and have the software that fits your processes and not the other way around!

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