Small Business CRM

By Kristine Hegglin
Updated: February 10, 2011

Benefits of Small Business CRM Solutions

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions can be beneficial to any sized business. CRM solutions can help businesses increase sales revenue, retain customers, and decrease sales and marketing costs. Sales revenue can be increased with a CRM solution by anticipating future customer needs based on past purchases. Customers can be retained because CRM solutions create an avenue for better customer communication and allow businesses to better understand customer requirements. Businesses can decrease their sales and market costs by cross-selling products as alternatives and / or enhancements to existing customers. There are several CRM solutions on the market and they are all made to cater to different sized businesses. Small businesses should not shop for large business CRM solutions because these types of solutions are expensive and offer functionality not needed by small businesses.

Hosted CRM Solutions for Small Businesses

Small business CRM solutions may be delivered in a few different ways. There are hosted, on-site proprietary and open source CRM solutions. A hosted CRM solution is a popular choice among small businesses because they are quick and easy to implement and have many advantages.

One advantage is that there are no up-front licensing costs associated with a hosted solution. Another advantage is that small businesses don’t have to purchase hardware that would be needed with an on-site CRM solution.

While there are several advantages to a hosted solution, there are some disadvantages. A rather important disadvantage is that these solutions can’t be customized. However, customizations are typically more important for large businesses with unique requirements.

Steps to Help Small Business Select a CRM Solution

There are a few steps businesses seeking a CRM solution can take to help select the right solution.

  • The first step is to define requirements. Businesses need to determine what they expect from a Customer Relationship Management solution, which features they need, and what current customer related gaps need to be filled.
  • The next step is to make a budget. Once a budget is in place and requirements are defined, it’s time to assemble a CRM selection team.
  • CRM selection team. All team members should participate in the CRM review process. When reviewing CRM solutions, it’s important to determine how each solution will integrate with the business’s technical and functional environments. Once some solutions have been identified, take a close look at the vendor.
  • Vendor Screening. Make sure the CRM vendor has a good reputation and examine the type of experience the vendor has with businesses similar to your own. If the vendor offers a free demo, take advantage of it. Demos often help decision makers get a better idea of how the solution functions.
  • Lastly, take your time and select the right CRM solution for your small business.
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