While small businesses are short on cash and short on time, they can make innovations with technology that will help even the smallest businesses look larger
Being a senior business associate, Peter Davidson strives to help different brands and startups to make effective business decisions and plan effective business strategies. With years of rich domain expertise, he loves to share his views on the latest technologies and applications through his well-researched content pieces. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
More than any other type of businesses, small businesses must learn to do more with much less, due to a lack of resources and manpower. However, the technology works to level the playing field for small business. One way that technology can level the playing field for small business is through the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. There are several different ways that CRM software can impact a small business. Not sure how to incorporate CRM software in your small business? Keep reading for some tips.
CRM Makes Many Tasks Automated, Which Frees Up Your Time
Let’s face it, managing a small business is very labor intensive. There is not enough time in the day to field all of the follow-ups to sales leads, file away potential customer interactions, or communicate with customers about a potential problem. With CRM software with G-suite integration, your business can easily keep track of all of those individual data pieces you had such a hard time wrangling before.
For example, a CRM tool can keep track of potential leads, as well as leads you’ve generated. Your sales appointment schedule? Managed, with alerts sent to your multiple devices. Your customer service database, with all of your information on your customers, can now be in one place and accessible to all of your employees. That way, every interaction with a lead or a customer can be tracked and recorded so that everyone stays on the same page.
Any small business owner can tell you, the sale is only the part of a hard-won effort for you and your sales team. CRM software allows you to do nearly everything from sales forecasting and planning for future sales, to managing sales accounts and territories among your salespeople, to looking at the activity within each account, to managing orders. There are even sales tools at the point of sale, such as CS-Cart, that allows you to seamlessly make sales and have the money in your accounts as quickly and efficiently as possible.
No sales team wants to spend their time trying to negotiate a stack of paper messages, loads of spreadsheets with no real pattern, or inboxes full of questions, sales leads or forwarded emails. Instead, sales forces want the most up to date leads possible, ordered in a way that anyone on the sales team can immediately make sense of it. When that is possible, sales leads are less likely to end up in the middle of a plethora of emails or pieces of paper, and you’re less likely to lose a sale.
If you’re only using CRM software to help your salesforce, you’re missing the whole picture. CRM software allows you to figure out which customers need additional marketing, and which ones should be targeted for a promotional campaign or a bundling offer. In addition, marketing allows you to design a campaign and analyze its effectiveness or ineffectiveness for your sales team. You can help figure out what customers need before they know they need something.
Collaboration is Key
Perhaps more than any other benefit, CRM software allows for collaboration with all aspects of your business. In this day and age of automation and discourtesy, companies who are service-oriented with attention to detail earn repeat business, because customers want to feel respected. CRM software allows you to track everything—literally. You can track leads to marketing to sales to service to logistics all in one place and keep everyone informed along the way. This also helps you spot problems and manage those problems—hopefully before they become major problems that cost you a customer.
In addition, customers hate when they need to communicate with someone about a problem, and that person is out of the office, or they are in a meeting and can’t talk. CRM software allows everyone in the business to see the customer’s information, add notes about a problem, mark the problem for other people to consider, and even forward all the information to you if the problem needs an immediate answer.
Customer Communication Grows as Your Business Grows
Think about this for a minute if you are a small business owner. What if you are the owner of a business where customer decisions are made over time, rather than immediately, consider how your business grows. In an older system, leads come in via email and are manually entered into a spreadsheet that is shared with the whole sales force. When your business is first starting out, that can work, but as your business expands, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep track of potential leads and follow up with customers who will need time to make a decision.
In this case, your momentum may be lost, if your sales force has to continually wade through all kinds of leads in order to figure out who needs to be taken care of first?
CRM software allows your communication to grow with your business. When your business is small, you can easily prioritize your emails and integrate your emails, calendar, and even your social media sites, which means you can focus on business growth. As your business grows, you can streamline all of your data, and manage it, so that you can automatically pull up any customer interaction you want, whether you know them personally, or whether you only know them from a social media interaction. Your business can grow without being weighed down by papers and paperwork. You can delegate sales and marketing along with customer service effectively.
There is no question that CRM software is the business tool for every business. In the past, corporations with millions of dollars and thousands of employees were able to afford luxuries that streamlined their businesses in a way that small businesses could not. However, technology has leveled the playing field. Small businesses can streamline their sales, marketing, and customer service applications in a way that was not possible even 10 years ago, no matter what the size of your company was. In the 21st century, CRM software can help even the smallest businesses achieve corporate-level success.