This is a common question many small business owners ask themselves. The answer – Probably. During the confusion and excitement of getting your small business up and running, your need for technology systems is probably not at the forefront of your mind. Although, it really should be considered at some point.
Picking the right fit of technology needs for your small, but growing business is a crucial step. In the beginning, it may be hard to envision how these systems will become an integral part of your operations, but they will.
What is CRM?
In layman’s terms, CRM software is a system that helps businesses maintain their present and prospective customer information in order to provide satisfactory customer service and increase sales. The size of the role CRM will play depends on the needs of the business. It may be as simple as transferring customer information to the cloud, or carrying out more sophisticated tasks such as client communication, personalized emails or social media transactions.
CRM, which stands for customer relationship management software, are an uncertain choice for small business owners. Technically speaking, CRM is nonessential, but it was created to assist businesses build and nurture their relationships with customers, leading to a greater percentage of happy, loyal customers.
When companies don’t have a CRM system in place, most will take care of customer interactions and data using more traditional tools like Google docs, Excel spreadsheets, regular email or even an old-fashioned filing system. While this may work just fine for some small businesses just starting out, it offers little in terms of growth and customer insight.
Is CRM the Right Choice for Your Small Business?
Before you start shopping for CRM software, you should first decide whether you feel a CRM program is right for your company.
Some small businesses incorporate CRM because they want to keep tabs on their sales from the very beginning; others choose to do it for the ability to observe customer interactions and to automate repetitive tasks. When making your decision, try considering not just the position you are in today, but also where you plan on being a year from now.
Once you build up your customer base and you need to nurture those relationships, CRM will become necessary. When it is utilized properly, CRM helps small businesses provide a superior experience to their customers.
Some companies base their decision on need. They may wish to implement a centralized data model along with a system that will enhance and streamline their business processes. This combined with the need to track sales growth, makes CRM a logical choice.
Another deciding factor should be size. If you have a very small operation that receives very little repeat business, installing a complete CRM would be overkill. In these instances, a simple contact manager would probably be more appropriate.
Choosing a CRM Vendor
The first thing you should take into consideration is cost. You will want to choose a CRM program that is affordable and within your budget. The CRM program that your pick should make your day-to-day business matters easier. For those with limited technical knowledge, this means choosing a program that requires very little or no code and is easy to navigate.
Aside from convenience, also take into consideration the amount of automation the program provides, if it is mobile friendly, and its options for analytics, security and third-party integrations. A good reputation is important. Look for a company that is known for excellent customer support and is always ready to help you resolve any issues that may arise.
Always take the time to do your due diligence when considering investments for your small business, CRM programs included. There are dozens of CRM systems available, make sure you choose the one that will work best for your individual business needs.