Small businesses need to be as dynamic as possible to be successful. With often limited resources and a small team of staffers, small businesses are always looking for ways to maximize efficiency and output. They need to consistently identify inefficiencies in their process to work as effectively as possible. Increasingly, the software is one of the first things that small businesses turn to for increased efficiency and, in particular, customer relationship management (CRM) software. With a robust system in place, a small business can operate as a large one, and a small team can achieve the output of a group many times larger.
What is CRM software?
Let us start with the basics. It provides your business with a single repository of customer and prospect information. Each contact in the database has a contact page, and all the details about that individual and their company are stored init. It also tracks all your opportunities back to these contacts. All of that information is collaboratively updated by everyone in your business, depending on which function they perform. Finally, some solutions integrate with marketing automation and customer support solutions, and in those cases, the system stores even more data. Some CRMs even provide those capabilities out of the box. We will dig into this below, as we cover the top 10 reasons why small businesses should implement and use a CRM to drive growth.
1. Makes Everyone More Efficient
Because every team member pitches in to compile the information in each contact record, every team member can also take action off that same information. It unites your entire workforce around one source of truth about prospects and customers. This reduces duplication of work across your business and allows everyone to access the data they need instantly. For example, if your sales team needs information on an open customer support case, they can access it themselves without taping it into another team’s database to get it. Moreover, it automates various time-consuming administrative tasks, such as alerting the finance department when a new deal is closed or alerting your renewal department when a current contract is about to expire. This saves time and allows team members to focus their time and energy on higher-value work. Ultimately, it makes everyone in your business more productive so that they can complete more work in less time.
2. Everything Becomes More Organized
Because all your customer and prospect data is housed in one centralized database, the accuracy and reliability of your data go up. Everyone knows where to find the information they need, and they never need to request data from other teams. Customer relationship management software also drives more organized project management because it allows for better collaboration across teams. It provides the ability to create tasks with due dates for expected deliverables as part of internal initiatives. You can assign a task to yourself or a colleague, and the system reminds you when the due date is near. If the due date passes, it sends you a past-due alert. When everyone is working this way, from a centralized platform tracking progress against those internal initiatives, it ensures that due dates get hit, and projects don’t fall behind.
3. It Aligns Your Teams’ Efforts
As mentioned above, some solutions allow for the integration of your marketing automation and customer support platforms. A few select systems include marketing automation and customer support capabilities in the overall platform. For example, Agile CRM provides all of that out of the box; it’s essentially an end-to-end business management solution, providing customer relationship management, sales, marketing and customer support features, all in one platform. When this is the case, you improve the alignment of all your respective teams because everything is traced back to the same system. Sales align better with marketing because they collaborate more on lead qualification criteria, lead scoring, and more, which is all done in that one centralized system. Sales align better with customer support because the system tells your support team when sales sign a new deal so that support can reach out to plan to onboard. Small businesses need incredibly tight alignment across teams, and a good CRM solution provides that. Just be sure to look for one that lets you integrate these various functions, or better yet, a solution that provides all that in one platform.
4. Generating More Leads
If the system you choose does in fact, provide marketing automation capabilities—such as Agile CRM, mentioned above—you get the added benefit of being able to leverage those features to generate more leads. This means you can use the system’s web forms and landing pages to capture new leads and bring them into your database for further marketing. You can execute email marketing campaigns that help get the word out about your product and your brand to a larger audience. You can also employ web pop-ups to display messages to visitors on your website and a whole lot more. Then, you can take the extensive information you have on each prospect in your database to personalize messages to them, in pop-ups, on landing pages, or in your marketing emails. All of this adds up to a faster-growing lead database that you can tap into for segmented marketing campaigns, which leads to easier lead conversion.
5. Converting More Leads
Converting more leads equates to signing more new customers and growing your small business. A solid CRM solution aids with that by letting marketing and sales work together to finely tune a lead scoring mechanism that scores leads for various actions, like clicking emails or visiting certain, high-value pages on your website. When a lead reaches the scoring qualification threshold, the system automatically passes them over to sales for outreach. Before sales reach out, they can reference all the touchpoints that lead had with marketing, such as emails opened and content they read. This arms sales with excellent context through which to better understand the lead’s interests, likes, and dislikes, which makes converting them and closing a deal more probable. If sales feel that leads are coming over too soon, they can work with marketing to refine the scoring qualification threshold. Small businesses can use a CRM solution to finely tune this process over time, which further increases lead quality and ensure sales can focus their time on the best sales-ready leads while ignoring dead-end leads.
6. It Provides Scalability
Just because you are a small business now does not mean you do not want to grow over time. One of the great things about a CRM for small businesses is that it will support that growth. If you decide to start using one and you only want to pay for one user, that is fine. If you grow a little and get five more employees, you just buy them user licenses, and they can come in and work with the same data you have been working with and compiling over time. To put it simply, there will never be a point when you outgrow your CRM. That is not how they are designed. Instead, they are designed to grow alongside you at the pace you wish to grow. You can start with a fairly cheap monthly cost, and that only increases as you grow and add more users.
7. A More Personalized Approach to Business
When your marketing automation solution is tied into your overall system, you are able to pull customer and prospect information into the emails you send them. For example, you could have an email reference the geographical location and industry of your prospects in a given marketing email, which makes the message resonate more with them and leaves them more likely to engage with your brand. Plus, everyone on your team will have lots of information on your customers, which will let your team serve them better. Each time a staffer reaches out to a customer, they will be up-to-date on the most recent interactions that the customer has had with your company and can use that to drive customer outreach in a way that helps customers feel like they matter. Business is about relationships, and a personal relationship will always be more productive than an impersonal one.
8. Improved Customer Retention
The more satisfied your customer base is, the lower your rate of customer turnover will be. The automation features let you reduce the time it takes to follow up on customer inquiries. By using one centralized source of truth, you ensure that the information you provide to customers is always accurate and reliable. With everyone taking action off the same data, you eliminate two team members reaching out to a customer to request the same information. And if the solution you choose also provides customer support capabilities, you will be able to provide faster resolutions to customer issues. That, combined with a more personalized approach to your customer relationships, will ensure your customers stay happy and loyal to your brand over the long term.
9. More Insight to Drive growth
These types of solutions generally provide powerful metrics and reporting that let managers and directors keep their fingers on the pulse of the company’s results. It lets them make more informed decisions that will impact the future growth of the business. Typically, you will have access to a dashboard that lets you quickly see essential metrics at a glance, such as the state and health of your sales pipeline, predictive growth analytics based on past sales, and so on. This kind of insight is invaluable to a small business because it essentially provides a roadmap for growth, allowing you to identify what is working well and what needs to be improved.
10. Greater Accountability Across Your Business
It is much easier for directors and managers to monitor the workload, progress, and results of their team members when small businesses use a CRM. This is primarily due to the fact that so many things are tracked back to the same system. They can maintain views into things such as letting their tasks slide, who is not responding to requests from other departments, which salespeople are generating the most revenue, and which marketing tactics are generating and converting the most leads. Greater accountability improves results, and there’s little doubt about that. And there is hardly anything that brings more responsibility to small businesses than a robust CRM solution.