3 ANSWERS ABOUT CRM TOOLS ALL SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS SHOULD KNOW
Question for ya...
What's a small business without customers? A closed one! 😂
(ok, maybe not the best joke...)
But seriously, a small business could have the best product or service in the world, but without customers... it means nothing.
Having a small business (or a start-up) can be difficult at times, especially when it comes to acquiring customers. If the business is brand new, just getting people to your store (both brick-and-mortar and online stores) can be a frustrating experience at the beginning. Conversely, if the business has been around for some time but is needing to increase its share of the market, managing new customer leads can also be a very big task for a small business.
Finding success in both scenarios relies on small business owners establishing strong customer relationships, and a CRM tool can help you achieve the proper management of every potential and existing customer your business interacts with.
SO WHAT IS A CRM ANYWAY?!
CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management.
As explained by Salesforce, a CRM Tool (more commonly referred to as a CRM) is a system that "allows businesses to manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them."
Another way to describe a CRM - a glorified, yet very powerful Rolodex! (does anyone remember those things?)
CRM tools, such as HubSpot and Salesforce, allow you to manage important information regarding your customers and other businesses your small business is associated with. CRM tools can allow you to organize and manage information, including:
- Customer Name
- Business Name
- Company Role/Position
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Business Address
A CRM also allows you to get very detailed with the information you record and collect about your customer accounts: recording birthdays, social media accounts, business industry type, number of employees with the associated business, etc. Why is it necessary to have all of this information? Well, just like your personal relationships, the more information you have about your customer - the better.
Have you ever forgotten your spouse's birthday, or maybe an anniversary?? Yeah... Not a good situation to be in. 😶
CRM Tools Establish A Level Of Familiarity
Think about a small business you frequently visit where an employee (or even the owner) make you feel like you're a part of the family when you visit their business. This feeling of comfort and familiarity is probably achieved by talking to you on a personal level, perhaps asking about how your family is doing, or showing interest in an event you attended last weekend, or maybe even just remembering how you like your coffee in the morning.
While utilizing memory is an incredibly sincere gesture and can establish a very strong relationship with a customer, not everyone has the best memory (** raises hand ✋ **). A CRM tool can relieve a lot of the pressure of remembering details about all your customers by providing consistency and accountability with account management.
By allowing team members to take notes and record important information in to a standardized customer or company account, every team member within your small business will know exactly who the customer is that's communicating with your business. Having an understanding of the personal relationship the customer has to your small business allows you and your entire team to establish that sense of familiarity which is so greatly appreciated.
DOES MY SMALL BUSINESS EVEN NEED A CRM?
The short answer: Yes.
The slightly longer answer: YES. Definitely. 100%. No doubt about it. Is this even a real question? Of course you need a CRM if you're trying to manage customer relationships!
It is a common assumption by many small business owners that they do not need a CRM tool because they are simply too small or that the system is too complex. To these worrisome business owners, I pose these questions to you...
- Is all your customer information (full name, company name, contact info, etc.) and all related interactions (phone calls, emails, meetings, completed forms, notes, etc.) stored in one convenient location that is accessible to everyone in your small business?
- Are you able to quickly generate accurate information about your current sales forecast?
- Are you certain that all leads in your sales pipeline are being followed up appropriately?
- Do you know how many customer service issues have been experienced with your small business over the past year and why they occurred?
- Do you know how many deals your small business lost last quarter and why you lost them?
If the answer is "No" to any of the questions above, you definitely need a CRM. (Source: SuperOffice)
The Basic Types Of Small Businesses That Absolutely Need A CRM
Let's get a bit more specific...
While it is highly recommended that ALL businesses implement a CRM tool, there are certain characteristics that can help identify if one of these systems is right for your small business:
- You have a sales team.
- You create quotes and invoices.
- You focus on showing customers you care.
- You need to increase productivity and efficiency.
- You utilize various forms of marketing campaigns and strategies.
If any of the characteristics above apply to your small business, then it is definitely time to implement a CRM tool. Learning curves aside, your team will immediately experience the benefits of using a CRM as soon as you begin utilizing the tool. Your sales team will have greater knowledge of all your accounts, with improved options for account management across the entire business. The previously manual and mundane tasks associated with account management will feel much less stressful by using a CRM, and many times the system can even automate repetitive processes, such as email sequences!
A CRM will also allow you to proactively track quotes and invoices as well, leading to improved rates of payment satisfaction and resolve for your small business. And customers will begin to have an improved experience with your business as well due to an increase in customer support and outbound relationship management.
There are plenty of businesses who don't use CRMs and still experience success by just using spreadsheets, or even pen and paper. But similar as to why it's easier for people use scissors to cut paper in a straight line rather than trying to rip it perfectly, the use of a CRM tool can improve so much within your small business.
WELL, THEN WHEN SHOULD MY SMALL BUSINESS START USING A CRM?
Now that you know what a CRM is, and why they are beneficial to small businesses, lets talk about when to start using this super helpful tool. To answer this question, I'll refer to the infamous words of the one and only, Drizzy...
You should be using a CRM right now! Whether you have just 3 customers, or 300 accounts with multiple contacts for each company - now is the time to get your CRM in place.
Change is scary, and many times with established small businesses that are not currently using a CRM, there is an understandable fear ( 👻 ) that comes with implementing a new system that will revolutionize customer information. Established small businesses most likely have some form of structure in place - probably an Excel spreadsheet system that has worked well for the time being, but has areas of opportunity for improvement, especially when it comes to customer support.
"Spreadsheets are good for managing information, not building relationships," says Brent Leary, Co-Founder and Partner of CRM Essentials. If your business is looking to improve relationships with its customers, it's time to get a CRM - no matter what size or stage of growth your business is in.
Do you feel you understand the basics of why CRMs are important to small businesses? I hope so!
If you're looking for more information about CRM tools, check out the Additional Resources I provided below. There's some great stuff from some great companies in those articles 👌
Also, if you'd like to share some of your favorite reasons you love using (or look forward to using) a CRM tool, leave a comment below! We'd love to hear your feedback and insight.
- What is CRM?, by Jennifer Burnham of Salesforce
- Why do I need CRM?, by Salesforce
- Top 5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Customer Relationship Management Tool, by Sasha Kalevar of SherWeb
- Part 2: Who Actually Uses CRM Software?, by WORKetc
- When Does a Company Need a CRM System?, by Emma Brudner of HubSpot
- Every Small Business Needs a CRM Software, by Jennifer Lund of SuperOffice