CRM: An all-in-one solution for small business marketing

Customer Relationship Management software, otherwise known as CRM, can strike fear into the heart of even the bravest entrepreneur.

And yet, once they understand the power of a CRM to allow them to connect to their customers and increase profits, entrepreneurs often change their mind.   

In the past, many thought that CRMs were only for large organizations or businesses. And they were fairly expensive.

But today, even solopreneurs and entrepreneurs can benefit from using one of the more modern CRMs especially given how cost-effective they have become.

In a blog post looking at marketing trends for 2021, HubSpot highlighted the growth of “customer-centricity” as a key trend to move brands forward. Natalie Severino, VP, Marketing at Chorus.ai, said teams have traditionally weathered bad economic times by putting the customer at the center of all decisions. 

She adds: “This is only made possible through total alignment between sales, marketing, and customer teams, as all must rely on using the actual voice, pain points, and goals to create a winning partnership.”

And one of the best ways to get your teams aligned with your customers at the center of your business is through the use of a CRM. 

So, what exactly is CRM and how do you choose one for your small or midsize business?

The Basics of CRM

In essence, a CRM is a software program that lets you keep information on all of your customers or business prospects, including all the communication you have had with them. 

Organizing this information in a single repository and having it at your fingertips allows you to have stronger relationships with your customers. 

The types of information that you can keep in these handy programs include:

  • Customer contact and demographic information that can be organized easily
  • Customer purchase records
  • Status of a customers current order
  • Outstanding customer service issues
  • Communications with customers and potential customers across all mediums (social media, email, text messages and phone calls, among others)

Information in your CRM is available to all members of your team so that everyone can work together and have the same information about each customer or business prospect in your system. 

Benefits of a CRM

Salesforce boils the benefit of having a  CRM system down to this:Improve business relationships to grow your business.

Managing your customer information through a CRM offers many useful features to small and midsize businesses. According to crm.org, the benefits of a CRM include:

  • Improved customer service
  • Increased sales
  • Better customer retention
  • Better analytics
  • More efficiency in your day-to-day business
  • Better knowledge sharing and transparency withon your staff.

What to look for in a CRM for a small business

In a recent article, crm.org highlighted some of the top CRMs for small businesses. Finding the right CRM can mean a significant increase in sales, even for the smallest business.

One of the most important features for a CRM for a small or midsize business is that it is easy to use and doesn’t break the bank. In fact, some CRMs are even free with just one or two users.

Finding a CRM that helps you identify who your customers are is vital.  Do your best customers live in one part of the country?  Urban or rural?  What is their age group and education level?  

Understanding these demographics will help a small business create marketing campaigns with ease, especially when it comes to email marketing.

Look for a CRM that allows you to generate useful reports, such as sales activity and sales trends, that will let you put your limited resources in the most useful place.

Being able to customize a CRM is vital to a small business, especially when you are first starting out with one.  Each business is run differently and you will want to be able to add features that make sense for your sales workflow.

As you look at various CRMs, make sure to ask each company what type of support you can expect if you have problems with your program or need help customizing the app to fit your company.  Many small businesses don’t have IT departments to sort out issues, so a responsive customer support department will be key when you are looking at which CRM to choose.

Your marketing foundation needs a CRM 

As we described in an earlier blog post, a CRM is one of the four strategic tools that are essential in building a strong foundational marketing program (along with a great brand identity, an online presence and an effective email marketing program).   

A CRM can be used to segment your audience for targeted email programs, as well as other inbound and outbound marketing efforts.  You’ll be able to track your communications with your customers or prospects and ensure you are consistently reaching out to the right audience at the right time.

If you would like a quick snapshot of how strong your marketing foundation is, take our free assessment to see how well you are doing. And if you want to know where to go from there, we’re happy to do a quick call to give you some direction.

The good news is that you don’t have to do everything at once, but it’s definitely a great time to get started.  

And taking the first step toward that strong marketing program by implementing a CRM will be one of the best investments of time and money that your small business will make in the coming year.

Tomato Fish Is An Indianapolis Consulting Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.