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Why Use a CRM? 4 Reasons it’s an Important Tool for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you undeniably have distinct relationships with many of your customers.

You understand their specific business wants and needs, allowing you to deliver customized service to loyal fans and supporters.

You already have a leg up on customer relationships, but what if you could enhance this essential ingredient, stand out from the competition, and grow your business, all at the same time?

A customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you reach these goals, and propel your small business to the next level.

Let’s break it down: CRM 101

Many of us can relate: there is an overwhelming amount of customer information swirling around in our head, as well as scattered amidst email messages, old-school spreadsheets, and traditional paper files.

A CRM is an affordable, online tool that helps you consolidate, organize and synchronize each facet of your valued customer data, saving you time by automating routine tasks.

The technology resides in a single, often cloud-based location that you and your team members can access anytime and from anywhere.

In a nutshell, CRM allows you to organize and manage customer details, helping you manage your leads more efficiently. Entries can include how a customer first reached out to your company, products or services they inquired about, previous purchases, customer service issues, and more. Any details that can be helpful in closing a sale, upselling, or retention can be stored in your CRM.

Additionally, a CRM can send you automated reminders regarding ideal times to follow up with a prospect, when a customer needs service, as well as other critical touch points.

Most importantly, since all of this customer data is centralized, everyone within your company who deals with customers can access up-to-date snapshots of each customer’s interactions with your business.

The proof is in the pudding

Surprisingly, there’s a perception among some small business owners that a CRM system is either too costly or that the technology caters solely to larger operations.

In fact, 22 percent of salespeople are still not fully aware of what a CRM is, and approximately 40 percent say they continue to use more traditional approaches to retain their customer data, including email programs and spreadsheets.

Yet, for those small businesses still on the fence about whether or not to take the CRM system leap, may be interested to learn that the average return on investment for CRM is $8.71 for each dollar spent.

Furthermore, CRM nurtured leads spend approximately 47 percent more. The technology also can help small businesses improve conversions by as much as 300 percent.

So why does your small business need a CRM?

Valuable customer data can yield insights that help smaller operations make better business decisions and target their efforts more effectively.

Here are four reasons why a CRM is a good idea for your small business:

  1. Boosts your productivity. A CRM increases your company’s efficiency by allowing you to review all customer engagements, including quotes, invoices, phone calls, and service calls from a single location. This approach increases productivity and makes up for small team sizes because you eliminate the need to have to otherwise search for this data. You also reduce the amount of detail you have to remember during phone calls or email exchanges as the technology retains these essential details, acting as a “second sales” brain.
  2. Allows you to give customers exactly what they want. A CRM can help you close more deals as you are able to stay on track with leads. The technology can alert you of scheduled follow-ups and tracks detailed meeting notes. With a CRM, you get real, actionable insights that translate into sales. For example, it can help you see which marketing and sales tactics are working and where you might need to make some adjustments. You can also make tweaks to your services to make sure your offerings match up to exactly what your customers want.
  3. Provides the details you need to deliver a personalized customer experience. One of the biggest reasons customers choose small businesses over bigger rivals is because they are hoping for a personal experience. A CRM system empowers your small business with timely, relevant insights that can make every customer feel special. The more you know, the more equipped you are to create a more personalized experience for each of your loyal customers and prospects.
  4. Helps you plan for the future. As a small business owner, you likely have growth ambitions. Adopting a CRM solution can help you get a head start on managing customers early on. It is much more difficult to key in traditional paper customer records and to retrain team members later on versus starting out with a CRM and having the data stored directly in your system from day one.

The bottom line

When you run a small business, it can seem like there are never enough hours in the day. Fortunately, with tools like a CRM system, you can start to make more out of every minute.

Above all, using data the right way can help deepen your customer interactions, boost revenue, and turn your CRM into an engine that drives both your relationships and your bottom line.

Lisa C. Dunn

Lisa C. Dunn a contributor to TechnologyAdvice, copywriter, and ghostwriter specializing in business and nonprofit content. For over 20 years, she has worked with numerous PR and digital marketing agencies, and her work has been featured in well-known publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, B2C, USA Today, among many others.

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