Do I need a CRM for my business?
The short answer is yes. Even if you are just beginning your entrepreneurial journey and have one potential customer now is the perfect time to set up your CRM. Before I delve too much into why you need a CRM, first let’s cover the basics.
What is a CRM?
A CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool is an online program your business can utilize to organize customer data, build relationships with your potential or existing customers and automate many of your marketing activities. The way the information is organized, how it is populated within the program and what automations are available vary from program to program, but the basic features include:
Contact Management. This feature records all customer data including the basic data (name, email, address) as well as more detailed data such as past purchases, birthdate, and job titles.
Campaign Management. This feature allows the business owner to place prospective or existing customers into marketing campaigns that are tailored to their contact details. If your business is running a pricing special for customers that live in a certain geographic region or have purchased from your business within a specific time frame you can tell your CRM to send a series of emails or texts to only these customers.
Lead Management. The Campaign management feature allows you to market to a group of customers the lead management feature allows you to focus on smaller sets or even one prospective customer for your business. This feature records and tracks how the prospect found your business, all communications with them and finally the sale!
Automation. It is no longer necessary to push the send button on every email you want to send to your customers. A CRM allows you to automate many of the routine check in or marketing emails to your customers. Once you set up the series of emails or follow up tasks for your customers or certain segment of customers the CRM will take care of the rest.
Reporting. If you find yourself emailing your sales team or holding countless meeting with your customer service team to assess how your business is doing or overall customer satisfaction your CRM can organize and report this data to you. Each CRM does report the data differently, but most allow you to customize it to show the data that is important to you in your specific role and act on it quickly.
If you are a small business it is easy to record your customer data in a spreadsheet or even in your head, but will you remember to write down notes following each conversation or remember to archive each email you send to your customer? Probably not, but your CRM will.
OK, now back to the question at hand...
Now that you have a better idea of what a CRM actually is you can see how it can help organize and systematize your business, but you might be wondering why you need it now, especially if you are just starting out. I believe setting up your CRM system now will allow you to:
Capture all customer data from day one. If you are a small business it is easy to record your customer data in a spreadsheet or even in your head, but will you remember to write down notes following each conversation or remember to archive each email you send to your customer? Probably not, but your CRM will.
Take the time to learn and set up the CRM to serve your business the best. If you begin using a CRM system early and have limited data you can tweak and learn how you want your CRM to serve you and your business. If you are trying to learn how to use the system with 1000 contacts your learning curve will be much greater and you will most likely just learn to “get by” with the system and never fully realize all the ways it can assist you.
Keep dialogue open with your customers. Today just providing a great service or outstanding product is not enough. Customers, potential or existing, want to build a relationship with your brand. Establishing two way dialogue is a great way to build that relationship. Also, sending a quick email or card on their birthday or anniversary is a great way to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Your CRM makes all of this possible with no extra work on you or your team.
Hopefully you now see the benefits of setting up and using your CRM at any stage of your business. Cost does not need to be a hindrance if you are just starting your business or are monitoring your cash flow. Many CRMs offer free versions up to a certain number of contacts or users or with less features. In my next post, I will cover this more and other factors you should consider when selecting the CRM for your business.
If you have any questions on selecting and implementing a CRM for your organization contact Harper Administrative Services today!