For small businesses without a dedicated IT department or budget for software, Customer Relationship Management systems are often seen as a luxury rat
For small businesses without a dedicated IT department or budget for software, Customer Relationship Management systems are often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity. Instead of waiting until your business is bigger, introducing a scalable CRM system could actually be the catalyst for change that your business needs to grow.
The power of CRM for small businesses and why you should harness it
Chances are you already have some sort of a contact management application in place, whether it’s an email address book, a pile of business cards or even a spreadsheet. What introducing CRM does is provide a platform that gives you complete visibility of each contact – where they are, what they do, links their social media portals, their order and correspondence history, prompts when they need to be contacted and why – enabling you to improve efficiency across the business. From lead generation to billing and support, CRM systems help your business to deliver better contact management, more effective selling and more targeted marketing.
How to choose the right CRM for your business
Quite simply, the potential is unlimited so scoping out what you want your system to do is critical.
1. Who will use the system?
How many users do you have? Do they need different levels of access for customer service, administration, finance and management reporting?
2. What other resources does it need to integrate with?
From booking, billing, email to social sharing, your other systems need to be compatible to avoid doubling your workload.
3. What are the technical restraints?
Does it need to be cloud based software or data stored on your server? Web-based access for mobile use or desktop?
4. What type of contacts do you need to upload?
Are you business to business or business to consumer? B2B requires a hierarchy of contacts, B2C systems are smaller, simpler and map to social channels easily.
5. What features does it need to have?
Most systems will store emails between you and your contact but not all allow you to attach supporting documents or contracts. When it comes to lead tracking some systems are capable of monitoring activity on your website and identifying new contacts, others can determine activity only for known contacts responding to an email campaign. Different capabilities exist for reporting and analysis depending on the marketing or management perspectives.
This March we are offering a free audit of your current CRM and further guidance to those looking to introduce one. Email us to discuss your requirements and put your stored customer data to work.
Lianne Marie is InFusion’s data specialist. She loves to support the growth of small businesses by introducing scaleable CRM systems.