For a small-business owner, sales professional or new entrepreneur, a contact-management solution is the jumping-off point for effective CRM. Nevertheless, though contact-management systems provide SMBs (small- to medium-sized businesses) an opportunity to organize time and manage contacts, a CRM system is key to fueling enterprise growth and yielding stronger sales .
How do you know when it's time to graduate to a more robust CRM system? Consider the following factors.
Managing contacts is simply having the right contact information for customers and prospects, tracking your communications history with them and scheduling upcoming call-backs or meetings. These days, getting this data is mandatory for anyone starting a business, ranking up there with having a work space, phone, email address and accounting system .
Developing customer relationships, on the other hand, is the process of proactively managing prospects and customers throughout their life cycle with your company. As your business grows, your teams and customer base will expand, making proactive management critical. Developing relationships is about marketing to customers on a personal level, effectively working complex sales cycles and capturing all interactions with them before and after the sale.
When businesses move to this level of managing customer relationships, they are able to boost customer satisfaction, improve retention and grow their businesses.
How do you know when to move beyond managing contacts to a more formal CRM approach? Here are some critical signs:
An investment in CRM means proactively managing customer relationships to gain a competitive edge. CRM processes enable companies to give personalized communications and services so customers feel that they're valued — the same experience they get when a business owner or staff really knows them and values their business. It becomes more and more difficult to deliver that level of service as your business grows, but CRM can help keep that personalized touch.
Some key business processes that can be managed through a CRM software solution include:
Ultimately, CRM technologies and processes help businesses maximize customer satisfaction and grow revenue. But there are other ares where small business owners experience CRM benefits, such as insight and productivity . As an owner watching your business grow, and having less direct contact with customers, you can still maintain visibility and track customer activity — whether it's seeing the number of outstanding customer-service cases or getting a more accurate sales forecast. Productivity steers the automation of customer communications. Not only does automation allow you to satisfy customers by setting the right expectations, but you don't need to dedicate manual labor to the effort. So, you're seeing results with the same number of employees.
Customers are the key to growing a business. They should be given the royal treatment at each and every point of contact. Moving to CRM will help your whole team better understand and respond to customers' needs and ultimately help your business grow.
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