There are few arenas where small businesses have the upper hand over their larger counterparts. One area where they shine is in building and managing customer relationships. The friendly neighborhood restaurateur, or local shopkeeper, hold special places in the hearts of local customers. However, much like anything else, more and more customer relationships are becoming automated – in this case, the use of customer relationship management (CRM) software is very helpful. Unfortunately, this is giving larger companies the opportunity to come in and take some of that loyalty.
There is some good news: smaller companies can benefit from the use of CRM tools. If used properly, CRM software will enable you to streamline the process of building customer relationships and creating stronger and more meaningful bonds with customers. The software enables you to collect, and then use, more detailed information about your customers.
According to a survey from Capterra, CRM is considered the fastest growing type of business software that can benefit any business of any size. While this software was initially just used at the enterprise level, it has slowly been integrated into both midsized and small businesses, which make up the quickest growing group of users. Most companies wind up adopting the CRM software within just two years of launching.
Retailers are the top users of CRM tools, which help them easily and efficiently track purchasing behavior over a period of time. It also suggests products to certain customers to help maintain loyalty points with customers. CRM is also very useful if a business sells services or products that are extremely complex or that have longer sales cycles. Finance-related services, technology businesses and service businesses are also beginning to adopt CRM technology due to this.
Industries such as IT services, insurance, consulting and accounting can use the software to help record their customer interactions over months. You can also use the CRM data to make important marketing decisions and to keep track of communications with customers, invoices, contracts and more.
The bigger your business becomes, the more you can benefit from CRM. A growing customer list will also help the use of CRM make more sense, even if there are only a few employees. When you have the ability to keep track of customer interactions better, easier and faster your business will thrive and have a more organized sales process. Use CRM software will help you do all this with even fewer employees.
There is no question that CRM could benefit virtually any business in any industry. Take some time to consider your current operations and how an automated, efficient contact management system could streamline sales and grow your business even faster.
Tabitha Jean Naylor is the Founder of Successful Startup 101, a digital magazine that provides answers to today’s most pertinent questions facing startup founders, and the Owner of TabithaNaylor.com, a marketing firm that delivers ‘big agency’ quality at rates that are affordable for startups and small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @tabithanaylor.