Customer relationship management (or CRM) is the practices, strategies and technologies that businesses utilize to help them manage and analyze their customer interactions throughout the customer life cycle. Customer relationship management’s goal is to improve the overall business relationships with customers. It is primarily focused on areas like customer retention, the identification of new leads and sales opportunities, and to drive the overall sales growth for the business or company.
1. Learn the basics of CRM software
Customer relationship management systems and the software associated with CRM are designed to compile information on customers across different contact points between the customer and the business. This could include helping to better organize a company’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials as well as their social media outreach.
CRM systems provide companies with detailed information on customers that might include their purchase history, buying preferences and any specific needs or concerns. It allows the business to develop a stronger relationship with their current customers and build new ones for the future.
2. CRM is useful for small businesses
While customer relationship management systems and software has been used by major corporations for years, many small businesses are now utilizing CRM to gain access to new markets and new sales opportunities. The main different between large enterprise customer relationship management systems and those for small business is mostly on scale.
Small business CRM is often used to describe a lighter or lightweight application or software that is not as complicated or complex as the ones used by big corporate entities. It still has the same objectives to collect customer business data and information that allows the small business to offer services and products that their current customers want and need.
As well as giving better overall customer service, and the other aspects of regular CRM which are to cross-sell, up sell more effectively, close the deal when opportunities arise and better understand their customer base and potential.
3. Small business CRM is different from corporate CRM
As noted above the basic premise of small business customer relationship management is the same as for large businesses. That is to help manage business contacts, clients, win contracts and identify sales leads and opportunities.
One difference is that a large or enterprise CRM would normally have a dedicated team of staff to develop custom CRM modules and another team to analyze the resulting data and reports. They would also have an internal IT staff team to manage any upgrades and the deployment of the software and associated tools. A small business CRM application might have assistance in the installation stage but the rest would be handled and managed in-house. By nature, that would lead to more simpler applications and obviously a much lower pricing model than the larger CRM systems.
4. CRM systems can efficiently generate leads
Despite its downscaled version of software and tools a small business customer relationship management system can still be very effective, especially in particular areas of business like real restate and the service sector. They help the sales of these organizations grow even without a large sales team.
CRM systems can generate as many leads and opportunities as any small business can manage and when the company is ready to grow, so too is the CRM software and system. In many ways, it is ideal for small businesses that are trying to build and grow their sales because it gives them a systematic way to manage all of the information that is coming in all at once.
It also takes away a lot of the pressure from the principals of a small business and lets them focus on building better products and services while the CRM system works in the background to increase sales and improve customer service.