Running a small business is a rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming. There are always so many levers to be managed at any given time. Is the business on track financially? How do we deal with new government regulations? Can I balance my family obligations while running a small business?
These days, multiple tech solutions are cropping up to help simplify business management, but investing in this technology can be daunting for a small organisation. Technology affects every aspect of running a small business, from trivial situations like deciding which smartphone to use or printing stationery, to more essential business operations like managing financial compliance and understanding customers. The more critical the function, the more you're risking by switching systems.
Today, I'd like to discuss why investing in a CRM is absolutely worth that risk.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is an essential technology investment for any business, large or small. When appropriately executed, it provides you with tools to establish, maintain, and enhance relationships with both customers and prospects, allowing you to drive increased customer satisfaction, service, and loyalty. That quickly creates opportunities for increased revenue and profitability.
Too many businesses—especially small businesses—are still relying on an old excel spreadsheet, pieces of paper in a filing cabinet, or even thoughts in a salesperson’s head when it comes to managing their customers. It is not sustainable. A CRM organises all your customer information in one place and then bring this data to life, helping your teams go from scattered insights to targeted outcomes for the business.
At the most basic level, implementing CRM software provides a centralised database for customer engagement. There is so much more to CRM than that, but that is the starting point. With your service history for each contact easily accessible at any time, you can get a deeper understanding of customers and leads. This allows you to return to each subsequent interaction better prepared to make a sale or provide an excellent, tailored experience. What did the customer buy from your organisation last year? What do similar clients buy from you? This is CRM 101, and the good news is that technology allows your data (and these applications) to scale.
From there, it does not take a lot of tech-savvy expertise to go from this basic level of customer understanding to a more comprehensive and 360-degree view of your target audience. You have the opportunity to enhance your depth of knowledge about every customer by including variables such as their support experiences, post-sales engagement, Lifetime Customer Value, and related customers in their network.
Furthermore, the application of advanced analytics and AI provides actionable insights that can drive results for both small businesses or large enterprises. All industries benefit from the use of CRM software, and it is as applicable to B2B companies as it is to B2C. Even government agencies or non-profit organisations have a lot to gain by using a CRM, not only for all the benefits listed above, but also just for the time it saves employees with automation.
Increasingly, small businesses are developing closer relationships with business partners and supply chains to provide a deeper view of the customer. For example, this integrated approach means retailers can work with their couriers for ecommerce, or financial agents can work directly with insurance providers. CRM brings everyone together.
It is vital to understand that investing in a CRM system is easy, cost-effective, and quick to provide business value. When evaluating technology, capioIT looks at the first month. What can I achieve in a month, or better still, a week with my investment in technology? The goals for the first month of deployment need not be completely transformational, but to enable familiarity with the product, test drive some ideas, and understand the outcomes that are available. A successful first month lays the foundation for strong incremental benefits through the course of the deployment.
Put simply, when the correct CRM is implemented—even for the non-tech savvy—small businesses often benefit very quickly.
One local business that has used CRM to successfully drive growth has been MetaGene. MetaGene is a Brisbane-based provider of pathology and cancer research solutions. They used Zoho CRM to enable the following:
• Seamless data transfers to ensure consistency of customer information
• Increased speed and efficiency when acquiring and accessing information
• Customer relationship management from their mobile device
• A reduction in manual data entry that resulted in fewer errors
The Sales Manager for MetaGene, Sarah D, said—
“I was really impressed at how smooth it was to navigate. I found it intuitive for the everyday things like viewing price lists, quoting, looking up customer details, and logging customer requirements.”
Particularly since the impact of COVID-19 on Australian businesses, there has been significant discussion and confusion about what it means to be a digital enterprise. Regardless of whether you're a one-person operation or Australia’s largest corporation, you are not a digital entity without a CRM. Manual processes and legacy systems put you on the sidelines, unable to connect with your customers before your competition and unable to tap into the global market that ecommerce provides. A CRM does not guarantee your business can navigate the digital business world successfully, but at the very least, it is the investment you need to get out on the field and start playing the game.