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Benefits Of CRM For Small Businesses – But Is CRM Right For You?

CRM software was once an expensive tool reserved only for large enterprises with big budgets. However, there are now great Customer Relationship Management options appropriate for organizations of almost any size. Patricio Robles recently wrote an article about the benefits of CRM. We share a slightly a different point of view, with a note of caution.

Create a better experience by focusing on customer needs.

Better Conversations. With a single view of an entire customer account, including contacts and history, sales professionals can have more intelligent conversations with customers and make smarter recommendations.

No One Left Behind. Customers don’t get overlooked or fall through the cracks. Customer Relationship Management systems can be integrated with calendar applications so that tasks and appointments are tracked – the team will never forget a customer follow-up again.

Personalized Communications. Hate mass emails? Your customers do, too. Personalize and tailor communications to groups of customers with a few simple clicks.

Standardized Processes. Every sales professional works differently, but your customers shouldn’t wonder what to expect from your company. Consistent processes mean your customers get the same experience, every time, no matter who serves them.

Fewer Customer Complaints. With standardized processes and consistent information, sales reps make fewer mistakes and customers are more satisfied. Bonus: Costs are reduced because there are fewer issues to fix.

When your team works smarter, they sell more.

Gain Efficiency. A good CRM system will help your team become more efficient. Reps focus on more profitable customers, send communications in less time and waste fewer hours on administrative tasks. Bonus: A more efficient process means that your reps can spend more time serving customers, making them happier, too.

Cross-sell / Upsell. With a complete view of the account, reps can make recommendations on other products and services that a customer may find helpful.

Professional Templates. Create a handful of professional templates and share those templates with the entire team. Sales reps can create polished communications with just a few clicks. For example, Claritysoft CRM integrates with Microsoft Outlook, making it easy to use email templates and automatically track email activities. Bonus: Templates reduce the amount of the time it takes to send communications, helping the team be more efficient.

Go Anywhere. Many vendors offer mobile applications for cell phones and tablets. There’s no need for reps to take notes on-site and wait until they get back to the office to re-enter data. Another benefit of some solutions is the ability to access customer data, even when you don’t have access to the Internet.

Become a better sales manager with access to more information and insights.

Report & Forecast. With Customer Relationship Management software, you no longer have to battle spreadsheets to calculate last quarter’s sales report or forecast next year’s revenue. View the entire pipeline and every stage of the sales process in a single dashboard.

Enhance Communications. Sales Managers don’t have to call reps to get account updates, the information is immediately available.

Manage Sales Activities. Many systems make it possible for managers to assign and delegate sales and service tasks.

Segment Customers. Moving from spreadsheets to a full-featured CRM means that your team can slice and dice customer information in any way they choose, concentrating on customers in specific geographies, industries, or any characteristic you choose.

Organize & Prioritize. Organize sales activities across the team and focus on the most important, best-qualified leads, using lead, opportunity and customer segmentation.

Analyze & Gain Insight. Customer Relationship Management systems make it possible for managers to complete win/loss analyses and identify weaknesses in the sales process, as well as strengths. If a competitor is making inroads in your market, you can identify the threat and find ways to regain market share.

Whether you lose an employee, a laptop, or an important file, be prepared.

Centralize & Secure Data. Most vendors centralize customer and prospect information in a secure database. By moving data off laptops and off-site, you can rely on an expert to keep your data safe. Note: Software is the starting point for data security. Employees must follow processes and keep data in the system to ensure data security.

Back Up Data. If customer data is scattered across employees’ computers and a hard drive crashes, you could lose a lot of customer information. Some vendors offer the ability to recover information, even when an employee overwrites customer files by mistake. As you talk to vendors, be sure to ask about this feature for your team.

Retain Customer Data, Even When Employees Leave. It’s sad to see an employee go and even sadder if they take customer information with them. By centralizing data, you can retain all the relevant customer information, even if you have employee turnover.

Warning


Customer Relationship Management software isn’t for everyone. Investing in CRM means more than buying software – you’ll want to take time to streamline sales processes and train your staff.