Benefits Of Using CRM Even In Small Business
There is a common belief that CRM systems can effectively support big companies with a large number of clients. Small and micro companies usually cannot afford them.
We are all living in a world where small, 1-2-3 people companies become the core of the service categories around. These are copy writers, coaches, hair dressers, dieticians, beauty doctors but also a consulting officer, financial advisors, and architects. They all assist tens, sometimes fifty but usually not more than one hundred customers. Every client is known by heart, frequently contacted and remains in good relations – in most cases. Such a number of customers one can manage manually using regular calendar or notepad. Many service people still use these thick, full of little lose pieces of paper books. The thicker the better! They contain not only contact information but usually particular customer preferences (like for instance color combination for hair dying), his/her typical services taken and what is most important average check level. Some other service providers prefer an electronic version of their magic book so the precious and detailed information about the clients is kept on Excel files or any other data base type files.
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Regardless of the form, it all creates a valuable CRM type information. CRM, in this case, would be standing for Customer Relationship Management i.e. it creates a system to contain and review the customer related information which is specific to your particular service. From a growth standpoint, CRM is used to find leads, follow up with prospects and nurture them through the sales pipeline. CRM is also used to maintain customer loyalty by storing key information to boost sales – for instance, by personalizing the experience and providing excellent customer support.
With a relatively small number of customers’ data you can work manually, one would say and one would be right. You can, but the question is – do you want to? Manual labor will take your precious time from you. Today, even small businesses can afford to invest in powerful customer relationship management software, thanks to the development of affordable SaaS solutions. You can choose between solutions 25-50$ per user per month. The key questions you need to ask while considering CRM is how big is your organization, i.e. is solution appropriate for the small or micro company? Do you have any sales process management system, what are the key functionalities you expect from the system – lead tracking, sales results tracking, customer efficiency evaluation? Do you require the new system to be integrated with whatever system you use currently? These are not trivial questions and they require serious thought. I am not pushing you towards any solution, you need to think what is best for you and your business. I was managing a few hundreds of new clients monthly on Excel sheets and I did not die, but it was really time-consuming. I believe there are simply better solutions now.
For me, the most important piece of information I was looking for within the data was the VALUE of the customer and characteristic of the ones who create major value for my business. Imagine that you observe through your data the pattern typical to your high ticket customers. It may be the channel they are coming in, it may be their profession or common problem they acquired you. You need to figure it out, but once you know that it is relatively easy to replicate it, create a client persona and design specific campaign towards targets similar to them. From now on your life should be so much easier!