If you are a small to medium size company and you haven’t yet adapted to CRM (Customer Relationship Management ) software because perhaps you believe it is unnecessary due to a small or tight unit of staff who work in the area then you may consider this article helpful.
While there may be good reasons for not taking up CRM software such as the financial costs and the resources required to set it up, there could also be huge benefits. One such benefit is the ability to centralise all those notes, spreadsheets, address books and business cards into one system. This will, in most cases increase the organisation of your company and help make management easier and more practical. The ability to not only centralise but provide quick access to information on clients will prevent your staff scrambling for assistance from other colleagues and reduce mistakes. Most modern CRM systems provide intuitive search options to aid companies in exactly what they need, fast.
If financial costs are holding you back then consider there are huge amounts of CRM systems currently on the market, some of which are designed specifically for SME’s, and this is reflected in their pricing. Features vary depending on the system and some offer more or less which is not always dependent on price. Best to check the system you are considering is suitable for you and what your organisation needs to achieve.
Following up with prospective and existing clients in most companies is a useful if not essential practice. If you don’t have a CRM system that you are relying on to make sure this is done effectively, is done via note taking or memory? If so, then this might work it is perhaps not as methodical as it could be using a CRM system, which will allow you to track the progress with each client. Perhaps a prospective client was no longer interested in product or service and no longer wanted to pursue it, but perhaps the record of this was not clear and someone from your company contacts them again which may result in a frustrated business contact or worse, a complaint. It could be argued it is always good to follow up with clients, however perhaps giving them a bit of breathing space in-between would be in most cases recommended; and a CRM system can help you track this over a longer period when perhaps a follow up would be otherwise be forgotten. Conversely, the system can also remind you of clients who want to move ahead with a service or product so that important opportunities are not missed. How a CRM system reminds staff to follow up can work in a number of different ways depending on the system. Some present a popup reminder or send an automated email to a staff member or even the client. Also, usually management can check the systems reporting to take an overview of the process of leads. A CRM system can also provide important information such as how a client wants to be addressed in a follow-up or anything a person should think about before making contact with a client.
Most modern CRM systems are now including some sort of marketing integration. This normally allows the CRM which, when set up should have a large amount of your business contacts to integrate with mass mailing capabilities. This allows for email promotions to be sent for new services or products. It also allows you to send out informational emails en masse about changes to an existing product or service. They normally allow you to have different groups in order to send different messages depending on the criteria set. Your chosen CRM software may also integrate social media marketing so you can send out promotional messages. This all helps your company promote itself and manage your customer relationships in one system. Marketing integration is something which an SME, especially one which intends to grow will find particularly useful.
We touched on reporting earlier, but it is an incredibly import part of CRM software that allows SME management to track and evaluate key performance information. This can be details on a customer or particular group of customers. It can be based on staff performance, as well as performance of a particular product or service. Management can produce reporting on the company as a whole, to understand the bigger picture as to the position of the company in terms of its Sales/Marketing performance. All these reports may not otherwise be easily available without the use of a system such as a CRM package.
Most modern CRM systems are designed to be web based. Web based systems are generally designed to be light on resources but still work quickly from a user’s perspective. So, if you chose to install your CRM system internally, it provides an advantage to an SME who doesn’t want to invest in expensive computer equipment. Although we wouldn’t recommend it, a webserver could even be run from most desktop computers, to give you some idea of the resource required. For those SME’s who do not want to invest any money in additional resources, many CRM providers provide hosted solutions where you simply set up an account and access the system on the developers servers. This has become one of the most popular models, as the system can be reliably provided, updated and maintained by the developers of the software, allowing them to apply their expert knowledge. This takes away the requirement from Internal IT staff to carry out internally, which can save an SMEs valuable staff resource. Also, a web based system comes with a flexible to allow staff to work from anywhere, be it in another country, at home, when visiting a client inside an office located anywhere in the world. Also web based CRM can accommodate multiple types of devices including phone, tablets, PC’s and laptops. This flexibility with staff can be essential for SMEs to allow the company to work in a way that most suits its activities.
In conclusion, there are many benefits for SME’s in terms of early CRM adoption and most significantly, it can help a company push forward with its objectives quicker through more efficient, dynamic and controlled Customer Relationship Management.