Before I explain why small businesses need CRM let me explain a bit about what brings CRM into picture with regards to small business.
Being a small business means that you have a huge potential to grow. Many large enterprises of today started small and insignificant but they have overcome the hurdles that separate a small business from large companies. However, there have been certain changes in situation since then. The modern economy is intermittent and more competitive where small companies need to compete with big enterprises to thrive.
Today customers rule the fate of a business and therefore, everyone is trying to win over them. Modern technological advancements have made it possible for businesses to manage their operation better and offer improved customer services through a suit of business management applications; CRM is one of them.
Why do small companies need CRM?
Even few years ago, a CRM software was regarded as large enterprise product – inappropriate and expensive for small businesses setups. But situation has changed rapidly over last few years.
A survey conducted by Forrester last year has revealed that around 41% of the SMBs surveyed in North America and European nations have already implemented CRM solutions in their organizations and 27% is planning to do so by this year. The change in the trend has been prompted by two reasons:
- SMEs now see clear advantages in implementing customer management solutions in their businesses
- Web-based CRMs have brought technological advancements to SMEs at affordable rates
Customers are the asset of any business and it is truer for small organizations as they often sell to returning customers and majority of their business depend on it. More number of satisfied customers would therefore mean more business. As a result they need to forge a strong relationship with their clients. At the same time they also need to expand their business by acquiring new customers.
Benefits offered by CRM applications to small businesses are:
- Sales process automation and streamlining operation.
- Obliterating redundancy from business process and frees time of sales executives from back office operation.
- Improved management through integration of different aspects of sales process to a single interface.
- Helping in identifying the shortcomings in your marketing strategy.
- Improving sales by generating comprehensive performance monitoring reports.
- Helping in improving customer service and making your customer service center more revenue efficient.
- Offering insight on changing customer behavior and helping you predict changes.
- Acquiring new leads and offering effective lead management solutions.
- Inventory and sales pipeline management and generating comprehensive monthly reports.
- Identifying your most loyal customers and helping you forge a stronger bond with them.
- Social media integration to help small businesses monitor their performance on social networking sites by capturing customer reactions.
What is the cost of a CRM for small businesses?
A wide variety of CRM solutions is now offered by CRM companies. Some are built specifically keeping in mind the affordability of small business enterprises. Cost of these software solutions varies from free to cost per-user versions.
It is a common knowledge that web-based CRMs are cheaper than on-premise, legacy products and therefore, are deemed suitable for small firms. The web-based software solutions have eliminated requirements of hardware and software infrastructure and allowed small businesses to convert capital expenses to operational expenses.
Guest Post by: Paul Anderson, a CRM software consultant based out in California. For over five years he is offering CRM consulting services to a wide market vertical. He brings in his wealth of experience on CRM customization and solutions to his writings on webs and blogs.