CRM for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Updated: September 23, 2014

"The customer experience is the next competitive battleground."--Jerry Gregoire

For years, SMBs thought that CRM systems were meant only for enterprise businesses. The question is, how many clients does it take to justify a CRM system? Not to mention, aren't they out of my budget? However, logical these questions are, SMBs that deal with clients need a flexible CRM system just as much as larger companies do. If you interact with customers on a daily basis, how do you keep track of that information? Also, how do you expect to grow without accurate details on your clients? Continue reading for additional reasons why SMBs should implement a CRM system.

Create More leads

Every business needs leads whether you sell a product or service directly to the consumer or B2B. This also means you must always be prospecting. How can you tell the last time you reached out to a prospective client? Do you even remember your last conversation? The worst thing you can do is talk to a prospect about the same thing over and over again. If they didn't buy from you the first time, then you must change your messaging. The only way to do that is with a CRM system that can show you exactly what was discussed during your last interaction.

Boost Lead Qualification Techniques

Have you ever been given a phone book and told to call everyone between the letters "H" and "K?" Probably not, and it's hard to believe that some companies used that method only a few decades ago. Imagine not knowing who you are calling, who to talk to or how they would respond. That type of scenario might have you sweating bullets before you even make the first call. On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice to have a system where you can better qualify clients based on needs, industry and demand?

Increase Average Customer Spend

Your company has a loyal customer base, congratulations, job well done. So, apart from finding new clients, what is the next step with your current clientele? Naturally, you would want to find a way to increase their average spend. With a CRM system, you could track their transactions, and then produce a report that shows you exactly how much they spend and during which time frames. After that, you can dissect it even further to figure out how to raise that ratio.

To illustrate, if your company sells pool cleaning services, perhaps you have clients who get their pools cleaned a few times a year and nothing more. But, what if you also sell maintenance products? A CRM system allows you better think of ways to keep them using your services, as well as purchasing maintenance products in between professional cleanings.

Close More Often

You've heard of the ABCs (Always be closing), right? This is simply something you have to do. You can never tell when a customer might move on for a wide variety of reasons from a lack of a budget to no longer having a need. You need a funnel and a pipeline of clients you can add to your roster. It would be difficult to monitor pipeline progress using only emails and typed messages. Instead, you can pull up a list of clients that have stated they intend to make a purchase within a certain time frame and follow up with them.

Maintain Cost Structure

Partially due to globalization, clients today can be very price sensitive. For every product or service, there seems to be 40 more offering the same service at a lower price. So, how can you stand out amidst a bevy of stiff competition? Well, it takes a lot more than a price war. You don't always want to be the low-cost leader as this can be detrimental to an SMB. What you want is to service a niche unlike any of your competitors, and go the extra mile with customer service. Nonetheless, it is hard to gauge your customer's expectations if you have no way of keeping them organized.

Mobility

Sometimes, you just can't make it into the office for one reason or another. Or, perhaps all of your work is done from home and you manage a team of home-based contractors. Either way, you still want a single database that you can access regardless of your location. This means that even if you need to take your pet to the vet or your kids to soccer practice, you can still have a purview to the status of your clients, transactions, shipping history, sales funnel and more.

Augment Customer Service

Even within the same industry, every client is unique. For SMBs, it is critical to excel at customer service in order to be competitive. If a customer files a complaint, you need a way to log that complaint, so that it doesn't happen again, and you can quickly amend it before it becomes a bigger issue. You also want to have records to look back on in the event another client files a similar complaint.

Overall, SMBs need a CRM solution just as much as larger businesses. In fact, it can make the difference between remaining a small company or morphing into an enterprise.

 

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