Customer Relationship Manager
Why do you need it? and how can a small business benefit from it?
This is a big question that we get all the time. “why do I need a CRM? why can’t I just do this on spreadsheets? Why overcomplicate things? We are just a small business“. We have heard these questions over and over again from the same lovely people who constantly complain about being too busy, missing opportunities and not being able to handle things when their business is booming! That should be good news, don’t you think!
In my experience, the first step to growing your business is to stop thinking like a small business. I always say, think big, but keep the small business spirit no matter how far you go! When you are establishing a system for your business, things will get harder before they get easier and there is a logical reason for that. When you are trying to establish a system, you first go through an inevitable four-step program whether you plan it or not. The first step is the “define” process, where you define what you do and how you do it. Then you go through a “design” process where you design your workflow that is going to deliver the end result. From there you will go through an improvement process where you find the gaps in your exciting system and improve them using digital tools and then there is the “review” process where you establish a continuous improvement schedule. They may not feel as fancy when you are engaged but that is what you are doing. These steps are time-consuming and they all require commitment and hard work. But once you establish them and go through the learning curve, things will start to turn around and get better and better. That is when you start saving time and consequently money.
Before we start, If you don’t have a system – Talk to a system specialist and establish your Standard operating procedure first before implementing digital solutions. It is essential to do that, otherwise, the tools you employ can cost you with no outcomes.
Customer Relationship Manager also known as CRM
One of the best digital tools to implement at the start of a business is customer relationship management. It is recommended to employ this software at the very start, as the central database of your customers and deals; which is the bread and butter of your business! There are a number of different CRM available in the market which we will discuss in another article but further down we will explain why they are important and why you need them.
To put it simpely, CRM systems allow businesses to manage their customer base, explore post and after-sales opportunities through a set of simple but very effective features. Some of which are listed below.
Customer list / Database
No matter how small your business is, it needs a centralised database and I am not talking about excel sheets! Please don’t go there 🙂 CRM software provides you with a database that can store customer details as you receive them and then use that information in other sections of the software when you deal with the customers. This database is interconnected and down the track can be used for mail marketing, advertising and targeted campaigns for repeat business and feedback surveys which are essential for any small business these days.
Another essential tool is the deal pipeline. Using this feature, you can manage your deals and move them through your sales funnel. Managing deals in different stages and writing procedures for each stage will unify your conversion tools/approach which will be easily transferable to your sales team as you expand. Dealing with customers and deals in a spreadsheet is limited and requires a lot of manual work. Additionally, when you use sheets to manage your deals, the collaboration tools are very limited therefore you cant use your team to their potential which again cost you time and money.
Sales Task management tool
Using CRM software, you can assign sales tasks to yourself and others within your organisation. This will make a huge difference when you have many leads coming in. As they will quickly become unmanageable. Even if you are a sole trader, the CRM will help you manage deals and projects. It will let you assign tasks to yourself ahead of time. So, that you can have a high-level view of what your day or week will look like and what you can expect to accomplish by the end of each period. You will not believe the difference this tool makes until you utilise it in your business.
Lists and Marketing Tools
In most established Customer Relationship Management systems, you can set up lists which is your database of customer categories in more targeted divisions – Which then can be used in your mail marketing campaigns. Most CRM software offer marketing packages as part of their add-on or paid services. You can use the lists to send after-sales or weekly promotional email campaigns to keep your customer engaged at all times.
I have left the best for the last! – Automation is by far the best feature offered by CRMs. Once you set up your customers, deals, tasks and marketing campaigns – you can use Automation tools to automate these repetitive tasks and processes. We found that sales automation only saves businesses around 25% in operating costs after the first year of implementation. And that is usually just laid in wages. To give you an example that is $6000 a week, for a small business that pays $24,000 on weekly basis for an average of 15 professional staff. That is $72,000 annually. This is an example from a case study. Not an average figure to consider, as this depends on your business nature. Nevertheless, it can give you some idea of how much you can save through collaboration tools. Automation can also save your key staff, hours of repetitive work. They can use the same time to look for new leads and opportunities that will increase your turnover.
Another great thing about CRM is its constant reminders. As annoying as they are, they fix an essential small business problem, which results in a lot of lost and missed business. As a small business owner, it is easy to forget a quick phone call that you received while you were driving to an appointment or a spontaneous referral inquiry by a friend. Most CRM systems log phone calls and emails which then can be automated into active tasks that remind you to get things done before the deadline. This simple automation tool by itself can increase your lead generation by 35% annually. (based on our statistics to date)
These small percentages in expenses and sales add up pretty quickly. It is just a matter of time before you realise how important they are to your business survival in the current competitive market.
Brissy studio is a certified consultant for Active Campaign which is one of the best CRM tools available on the internet today. Active campaign is affordable and offers tons of features outside of what we have covered above. It also has one of the most robust automation configurations amongst all of its well-known competitors such as Hub spot and SalesForce.
For more information, click here to book a commitment-free consultation session with one of our experts to see how you can start with a free trial today.