What is CRM?
Customer Relationship Management or CRM, an acronym frequently heard and seen, yet for many small businesses not something that’s really embraced.
CRM is the strategy a company has to manage all the communication it has, be it over social media, email, telephone, letter, in person etc., with prospective and active customers. Its main goal is to make sure that potential customers become active customers, and active customers become loyal, long term customers. It’s fundamentally about improving relationships and giving the best possible customer service which in turn increases revenue.
Why have a CRM strategy?
The blunt answer is revenue, most companies create a CRM strategy because they want to increase it, either by converting more sales leads or creating more business from their existing customer base. By thinking about the processes inside their business, for example processing sales leads, they make sure that all staff follow the same procedures which usually means that they miss far less sales opportunities.
Do I need a CRM system?
Using software is essential for CRM, it won’t magically improve sales overnight, that’s down to good staff and a solid strategy, but it does make the cogs turn and help put the strategy into practice. The 2 key things good CRM software can do for you is automation and metrics.
Automation can gather information about your prospective or active customer, it can set up tasks for you and remind you to do them, it can keep all the communication with that customer in one place.
Metrics, among others, help analyse sales pipelines, products, team performance and patterns. If you lost an opportunity, why did you lose it? By using this information collected you can tweak your sales and marketing to improve processes and ultimately revenue.
Which CRM systems are good for small businesses?
Which flavour ice cream do you like? There are all sorts of systems to suit all sorts of tastes and budgets. One thing to be sure of, you need to love using it otherwise you’ll become part of this statistic:
43% of businesses that use a CRM system, fail to use even half of it correctly.
A lot of businesses put CRM system in just because they feel they ought to have one, without really getting the best from them.
Here are a few we’ve successfully helped clients implement:
Hubspot – Free and an excellent starting point for CRM
Capsule – Great value everyday CRM that covers the basics, has some good automation and also includes ongoing case or (lightweight) project management. Also integrates with Xero.
PipeDrive – Lovely clear design, very easy to use and really good for businesses who capture a lot of different leads from their websites. Xero integration available via Zapier.
Insightly – Less appealing visually but great at automation and stronger project management. Some lightweight Xero integration also available.
Pipeline Deals – Google email & calendar users like this, also great mobile app. Xero integration available via Zapier.
Implementing a CRM requires some careful thought on what you are trying to achieve, the processes you want to put in place to get there, then mapping those to the right software for your business. If you’d like help with this, drop us a line.