Large-scale businesses use various tools and marketing methods to reach new clients, investors, suppliers, and more. Small business owners may feel that the same resources are not available to them, but that is inaccurate.
CRM (or customer relationship management) is a tool many large corporations use to create a database of customer information. Today, small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of this powerful tool to manage everything from customer service improvements to marketing campaigns. Consult the short guide below for more details about CRM for a small business.
Table of Contents
What Is a CRM?
CRM is a type of software or online tool that gives businesses of all sizes a single location for vital company information, including:
- Client names
- Client contact details
- Purchase history and company interactions
- Company notes about the customer
- Client businesses and contact information
The technology allows business owners to collect information via live chat, telephone, websites, and more. The software also enables the company to organize the data in whatever way fits the business. For example, the system can manage data based on client appointments, company notes, or contact details.
Businesses can also use CRM to do the following:
- Track a client’s stages of purchase in the pipeline
- Identify upselling opportunities
- Create sales and marketing reports
Types of CRM Software
CRM software is one of the most important online tools a small business could have at its disposal. Depending on your business’s needs, you can choose from a variety of software. They all perform the same essential functions, like tracking customer information, but different CRMs will help you achieve specific company objectives.
Here are the five primary types of CRM software:
- Collaborative CRM: This software category is for companies desiring better interactions with distributors, supplies, and partners.
- Operational CRM: Operational CRM helps small businesses run daily operations more smoothly.
- Strategic CRM: Strategic software are ideal for companies that want to prioritize customers by storing and organizing consumer details and market trends to make more informed business decisions.
- Analytical CRM: Analytical software provides businesses with data and insights about the companies’ current clientele and the types of growth opportunities available.
- Campaign Management CRM: This type of software blends operational and analytical CRMs to assist with running automated marketing campaigns and sales using the data within the system.
Why Invest in CRM for Small Business?
CRM for a small business is essential for streamlining various processes useful for improving business partnerships, team relationships, and customer interactions. All three factors are vital to a company’s ability to grow and expand, resulting in long-term profitability because:
- Successful business partnerships give small businesses more opportunities to acquire better products, services, and lines of credit at competitive rates.
- Happy employees with the right tools tend to be more productive and have higher team morale.
- Satisfied clients buy more and become marketing tools through word-of-mouth references and reviews.
Here are other reasons to consider CRM for your small business.
1. Replace Spreadsheets
Manually inputting information into spreadsheets can take up a substantial amount of time each day, reducing the time available to tend to other aspects of daily operations. Though many small businesses use spreadsheets to store and manage data, the tools will become too cumbersome as the business grows.
Replacing spreadsheets with a CRM yields a more significant long-term payoff than keeping an old system. A CRM can maintain notes from client meetings, call logs, and other correspondence. Owners can also arrange the customer information in chronological order as they develop the business’s processes.
Attempting to store this information in spreadsheets will likely require several documents. A CRM enables easy organization of various data types in a single location.
2. Improve Customer Satisfaction
It’s not enough to determine a business’s target customers. The business needs to also keep them satisfied. Not only will happy customers continue dealing with the small business, but they are also more likely to talk with people about its products and services in a positive way, resulting in organic company growth.
Having a CRM in place will enhance customers’ satisfaction because the business can tailor their experiences with it based on their history with the company. For example, the database can include details about a person’s interaction with the company and generate a follow-up activity, such as a thank-you email or courtesy phone call reminder for an upcoming meeting or new product.
Clients consistently appreciate businesses that go the extra step to ensure that their customer service is superior to others within their industries. CRMs that track details like emails, spending history, birthdays, and more will boost customer satisfaction. Owners can use the data to follow up and initiate productive conversations that will turn casual customers into loyal clients.
3. Boost Email and Marketing Efforts
Email marketing is one of the best outreach tools available for small businesses to expand their customer base. For emails campaigns to be effective, a small business owner needs to keep track of several details, such as the client’s purchase history and the list of emails sent previously (to prevent accidentally spamming customers). Otherwise, they could unintentionally leave customers out of the campaign or send repeat information.
CRMs make it simple to have all the information a business owner needs, such as the email addresses for the current campaign and follow-up content. Storing, organizing, and inputting this information one at a time for every customer is time-consuming.
However, many CRMs allow sending emails directly from the software so that staff can also keep track of their customers’ past emails to be able to craft a new one each time. Some CRMs have email templates, making it simple for employees to quickly generate compelling content to use in the future.
Emails aren’t the only way to use CRMs to a small business’s marketing advantage. The system enables employees to categorize clients based on their interests and buying history. This will provide more insight into which customer groups are responsible for the most sales—information that a business owner can use to strategically set up and execute relevant promotions.
4. Share Information With Internal Teams
Having customer data on hand is also beneficial for company employees. By sharing client data between various teams and departments, employees will have more successful collaborative endeavours. When everyone in the company is on the same page, the customer experience will dramatically improve.
Thanks to details within CRM software, every employee a customer interacts with can answer questions and provide information about the company’s products and services. The software could also contain notes about previous interactions so that a new worker could pick up where the last employee left off.
5. Increase Business Scalability
A common misconception about growing a business is that the same tools, protocols, and tactics that a small business has during its early stages will be sufficient as it expands. In reality, the only way to grow is to ensure that the business has the right processes and procedures in place for every department.
Having a centralized location, like a CRM, for documents about standard operating procedures makes it easier to share them among employees. CRMs also make it simple to update information for all relevant parties to view. For instance, if a new sales pipeline includes three specific steps, the sales team will see it and apply the process to their accounts.
6. Access Critical Client Knowledge and Information
With most CRMs, you can access information easily across various devices, including mobile apps. Whenever an employee needs to pull up client information while away from the office, the CRM system will make it easy to do.
A company’s team can make connections with clients at any time. Personalizing the interaction will be a breeze because relevant information will be easily accessible on the software, which staff can view from mobile devices.
7. Make Informed Business Decisions
Even if a company collects valuable client data, employees may struggle to tie the information to something actionable to grow the business. A CRM will handle that. The software can track almost any information that might be helpful for the business.
For example, CRMs can generate reports about a business’s sales cycles and the average size of your closed deals. With those reports, a business owner can develop sales forecasts and market trend predictions to help create effective strategies for growth.
Tips for Selecting the Right CRM for a Small Business
CRMs are highly beneficial, but not all of them will work for a small business. Factors to consider before selecting software include the company size and customer profile. Here are other tips for finding an appropriate CRM:
- Define your needs to determine which type of CRM has the features that will work best for your business goals.
- Read reviews on various software to see their effectiveness for small businesses.
- Sign up for free trials or demos to learn more about your final CRM selection before investing in the tool.
Read about even more ways to streamline your business in our How to Solve Common Business Problems Effectively article.
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