What is CRM Software and Why Does Your Small Business Need It?

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What is CRM Software and Why Does Your Small Business Need It?

Jul 19, 2022
CRM Software

If you run a small business, you probably already know that software tools can make a big difference in terms of efficiency and productivity. In particular, you may have heard of CRM software — but what is it, why would you need it, and what can it offer you? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, here’s the lowdown on CRMs.

What is CRM Software?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, which refers to a process of making it easier to organize, maintain, and access customer data. Before the digital age, this was largely handled with handwritten records and Rolodexes, and later into software solutions like spreadsheets. Now, however, the advent of big data has made customer data orders of magnitude more accessible, and CRM software has become more sophisticated to keep up.

The main draw of a CRM is that it organizes customer information in one central place, where it can be accessed by all the various departments of your business — whether it’s sales, marketing, or customer service. This keeps notes and information from getting lost, as well as provides advanced functions like personalization.

Why Does Your Small Business Need CRM software?

So let’s say you already have a customer relations solution in place and it’s working for you. What does CRM have to offer, and how can it make your business work better? Here are a few examples:

  • Improved efficiency. Having one centralized system for your customer data across all departments means no searching for misplaced information, no trying to clumsily work across departments to coordinate data – it’s all in one place, right where you need it.

  • Better lead management. A lost customer is lost revenue, and it would be a shame to let a potential customer slip away due to poor lead management. That’s where a CRM’s automation features come in handy.

  • Increased sales. Better customer relations means happier customers, which means more sales – and more importantly, the ability to deal with all those new sales!

  • More cost effective. Time is money to any business owner, and having a more streamlined workflow with fewer interruptions means things get done faster.

  • Improved collaboration between sales agents.

  • More alignment between sales and marketing. The centralized nature of CRM software lets you work more efficiently across departments, organizing metrics, activities, personalization, and other data in one place where all your departments can get at it.

  • Data analytics. Having advanced data analytics to see how your marketing and sales efforts are working is huge – it can make all the difference in honing your business strategies. That’s one of the things a CRM does best.

When Should You Implement a CRM System?

A lot of small business owners are operating on thin margins already, and worry that something like CRM software can be costly and time-consuming to implement, so they put it off. But implementing a CRM system at the right time can save a lot of that time and money.

It might be time to bite the proverbial bullet and implement a CRM system if you’re:

  • Struggling to cope with an increase in leads, sales, or customers.

  • Finding communications between sales agents to be lacking.

  • Dealing with long wait times for customer service  that’s making your customers unhappy.

  • Finding your sales agents are having to search across various systems and departments to find or update customer information. (This is a problem the CRM was absolutely designed to solve.)

  • Experiencing high customer churn or dissatisfaction rates.

What Type of Features Should Small Business CRM Software Have?

Now let’s get into the meat of it: what to look for when you’re looking for the best customer relations management software you can. Here are some of the most important features to look for:

  • User-friendly. The best kind of software is one you don’t have to spend a lot of time and training on. The more user-friendly the interface, the better.

  • Automation. One of the most useful features of CRM software is the ability to automate things like email marketing and lead tracking.

  • Customer segmentation/personalization. Personalization is widely considered one of the most important aspects of customer relations. With CRM software, you have more options for giving your customer exactly what they want.

  • Omnichannel support. Your software should be able to support multiple customer communication channels such as email, social media, phone, messaging apps, etc.

  • Integration with other business systems and third-party platforms. This is especially handy if you already have software in place at your business that you want or need to keep using,

  • Includes a help desk ticketing system.

  • Scalability. One of the primary aims of CRM software is to grow your business – so it only makes sense that the software should be able to grow with you!

  • Metrics. To make the most of the data you collect and organize, you need in-depth data analytics and reporting on things like sales leads, marketing efforts, and customer service feedback.

The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

Courtesy of NASE.org