Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a valuable system that helps a small business or organization interact better with customers. While business continues to shift, it is key that small businesses learn to adapt a CRM strategy and system that works best for them and continues to grow with the changes.
What is CRM?
Simply put, CRM refers to principles, practices, and guidelines an organization follows when engaging customers. Any company or organization that does business has interaction with customers at some stage of the process. The entire relationship focuses on direct engagement, sales, and service-related processes including forecasting and analysis of customer trends and behaviors. A good working CRM model will enhance a customer’s overall experience while making the backend process easier for the business or organization. Internet sales are growing exponentially and customer habits are changing at a rapid pace when it comes to what customer service means. Privacy and safety of personal information is one area customers appear to be concerned about most with the advent of more online browsing and shopping. Businesses need to ensure the storage and analysis of customer data have the highest levels of protection against cyber-crime, identity theft, and other breaches of security.
A good CRM system may increase sales by as much as 30%, but it means everyone has to be on board to use it effectively. The following are some tips to help make a CRM system more accessible.
Focus on Integration
One key question to ask when looking at a CRM system is whether it integrates with what already exists at the company or organization. Some questions to consider:
- Can data be easily imported and exported?
- Will this make back-end more user friendly?
- Will customers receive more value from the system?
- What is the cost of integrating pieces of it into the existing framework of the organization or business?
The old adage of “keep it simple, sir,” (KISS) exists for a reason. A team of people, not to mention customers, will not be satisfied if every process is overly complicated or data is too hard to track accurately. Simplicity does not mean retaining old systems or habits. Any CRM system needs some of the following:
- Prospect information
- When and what was discussed
- Follow up reminders and actions
- Who is assigned to any given task
- Dollar values of the opportunity
Knowing these pieces of information can be crucial to increasing sales, revenue, and enhancing the end-user experience for customers, which is the ultimate goal.
Real time reports from data is important. When a business is smaller, it may be easy to track just a few sales people but as it continues to expand, their reach grows and, perhaps, so does the sales force. Sales reps need to track their activity, who they engaged, what top sales opportunities exist, and how products are being received in the field. One other important question for a CRM system is how the sales team will hit target revenues to maximize growth and enhance the customer experience.
A good CRM system will make it easy for people to get the job done. Show the team how to use it most effectively and they can thrive. Failure to do this can frustrate the process and make it difficult to track data efficiently or serve customers. Smart phone and tablet integration are the norm so make it easier to integrate these into existing software. It may be worth considering ways to identify people who excel at using the program and can advocate for the CRM system. The people who do the best with the program can gain rewards that use it effectively while incentivizing others to do the same.
It is worth the time and energy to efficiently prepare a team to utilize a CRM system to its best potential. The benefits to a small business or organization include not only increased revenue opportunities but enhanced customer service experiences which can support long term growth over time.