Growing a business requires not only top notch products and staff but also the time it takes to create and cultivate good customer relationships. While it may seem at first as though there is a limitless supply of potential clients, it soon becomes apparent that a systematic way of handling prospects and providing professional customer service is essential if you’re to make the most of your available market.
When sales, marketing and customer support staff are too busy wrestling with data to spend time on the truly important task of relationship management, customers start falling through the cracks. That leads to lost revenue and an increased cost of customer acquisition. Small business CRM solutions provide a scalable and cost effective solution for organising and tracking customer and prospect interaction which is suitable to the growing enterprise.
Small Business CRM Benefits
A CRM system collects and organises data on all your customer and prospect interactions which provides benefits to several areas of the business:
Salespeople can easily manage contacts and record their actions. They can also schedule calls, email and related activities through integration with their Outlook account. Sales managers have access to data on all their team members allowing them to make accurate reports and forecasts.
Marketers need to be able to track the success on their activities. A CRM system tracks both the number and sources of leads across multiple channels, providing accurate ROI data for campaign fine tuning.
- Customer Services
In order to provide a professional service that keeps the customer satisfied and coming back, customer service staff need access to accurate, up to date information instantly. A CRM system supplies this service, along with detailed recording of actions and outcomes and scheduling & automation of simple tasks.
Small Business CRM Options
The most common form of CRM solution for small businesses is a cloud or remote hosted CRM product. Such a CRM is hosted externally along with all your data, doing away with the need for expensive IT hardware.
You are then charged a monthly fee for each member of staff that needs access to the CRM. Access is normally via web browser. The interface allows some customisation but you’re essentially getting an off-the-shelf solution. Providers of hosted CRMs usually guarantee a minimum service level of 95% or more (i.e. you will be able to access the service at least 95% of the time) and provide help-desk support.
The other option is a bespoke small business CRM which is tailored to your company’s exact needs, hosted on your own server and which you have perpetual licence to use. This requires a much larger up-front investment of both capital and time, making it a much less popular option for growing organisations.
Best CRM Software for Small Businesses
Capsule is a great option for small businesses due to their value for money and easy set-up. Capsule’s free option allows for 250 free contact listings, which could prove invaluable when you are just starting out. Capsule is available as a hosted system, meaning that initial installation costs can be kept low. The functionality of Capsule is straight-forward and easy to pick up, so there is little need for additional training.
Read more about Capsule.
Microsoft are a huge player in the world of CRM, but that doesn't mean that they only cater to big businesses. One of the main selling points of the Dynamics software range is its ability to be customised to suit any business through a series of specialist apps and add-ons. This means that small businesses can ensure they only pay for what they need and do not waste money on software that is unsuitable or unnecessary.
Read more about Microsoft Dynamics.
Zoho offers a free version of their software for up to 3 users, this could be very useful when your business is just getting off the ground. When your business is up and running, but still restricted by tight budgets, Zoho offers a full service at good value for money. Many small businesses now know how important social media is when trying to engage with customers; Zoho integrates with your social media accounts, allowing you to stay on top of customer interaction from all channels.
Read more about Zoho.
Finding the Right CRM for Your Small Business
It is recommended that you seek at least 3 quotes before making any decisions regarding CRM, as prices vary dramatically between suppliers. Approved Index provides a fast and free way to compare quotes from leading UK suppliers of Small Business CRM solutions.
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