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Establishing intense personal relationships with customers should be a top priority for all small (but budding) businesses. Almost every small enterprise counts on word of mouth and customer referrals as the main lead generating tool. To achieve the pertinent level of customer satisfaction, you have to treat them like they REALLY matter. As the client base starts to grow however, maintaining said relationships becomes harder; this is where a CRM (customer relationship management) system comes into play. A CRM solution allows business owners to confront operational hiccups (like high client attenuation, sales decline and corporate revenue target misalignment etc.) head-on.

If you are a small business owner, then there are a multitude of reasons why you should be investing in a customer management software. Below are some of the most noteworthy:

1. Making the shift from Excel (free) to a CRM (paid) is viable

Excel sheets are good if you have only a few columns (name, contact information and some designations) against each customer but as soon as your business becomes even slightly more robust, keeping more relevant details about every customer becomes a necessity. With a CRM, you no longer have to relentlessly search through the spreadsheet using the “Find” option because it acts as a central hub of easily accessible information.

Additionally, keeping a spreadsheet up to date is a real steep mountain to climb as there is always a pile of spreadsheets ready to be micromanaged. With a customer management software, you no longer have to worry about updating precious customer information manually and you never end up saying, “Oh, I wish I were able to apply a collective action to a group of contacts” among so many other things. Down the line, you will look back at your CRM-purchasing decision with a smile on your face as according to Baseline, the average CRM system return-on-investment is 5.60 dollars (for every spent dollar).

2. Ease of access

Almost all CRM systems come with the inherent ability to run across different devices. Any field representative can have access to important customer information anywhere they want. This improves sales efficiency and gives revenue boosts in the long run. Trackvia.Com claims that a CRM system can improve revenue by a fat 41 percent per sales-person.

3. Achieve standardisation

The main reason why companies are making the switch is because as they expand and transform, organizational knowledge might get overlooked if information isn’t captured using a single system. For instance, if there is a sales team expansion or if you have to swap accounts between different employees for some reason, how will they transfer knowledge among themselves? Or if a supervisor wants to know his team’s performance (say at both, personal and group levels), how will they be able to get their hands on data instantly? A CRM’s ability to consistently capture and store information comes in very handy in this regard. Whenever a customer is called or a marketing email (or a survey) is sent or a customer request is received, the interaction takes place in a standardized template, which makes it easy for anybody to access (and make sense of) the interaction at a later time.

4. Add a layer of security

The database of customers is arguably your business’ biggest asset. In the world of today where criminal sophistication is increasing rapidly, you need to protect this asset as rigorously as possible. Most of the CRMs ensure the security of sensitive customer data by:

  • Centralizing data in a single database and using state-of-the-art encryption techniques to ensure maximum protection.
  • Periodically create data back-ups.
  • Using security controls and multi-level authentication methods to ensure that only authorized personnel can access information.

According to RingLead.com, around 67 percent of CRM software users work in small businesses that have 100 (or fewer) employees. This stat on its own shows how pivotal a component a CRM is in today’s technological world.

5. Seamless data analysis

A customer management software for small businesses can be a real game changer as its data analysis prowess is always very handy. Data from a CRM can be used to view contemporary trends and eventually formulate sound enterprise strategies. From making astute mailing lists to releasing targeted discount offers, a CRM can help a strategist do it all. This eventually leads to improved customer retention. In fact, CRM systems have been shown to help increase customer retention by up to 27 percent!

6. Increase customer satisfaction

Nothing makes a customer happier than knowing that their money bought them more than just a product or a service. It goes without saying that a CRM solution lets a small business make its customers happier. According to American Express’ Global Customer Service Barometer, 3 out of 4 consumers claim that they spent more money on a company’s products/services because of a better customer experience. This goes to show how a CRM can improve customer service by establishing brand loyalty and increasing each customer’s lifetime value.

7. Email marketing made simpler

Roughly speaking, 60 percent of all small businesses are using CRM systems for email marketing. Some CRM solutions provide efficient email marketing features that can streamline the process of email marketing. The integrated email marketing suites contain templates, personalization and automation support that can come in very handy while sending out emails. Additionally, businesses have the ability to send bulk emails to selective customer groups and to track sent emails. This makes the emailing process simpler, while also allowing businesses to target their messages more effectively.

8. Integration with other software

Most of the modern CRM systems support integrations with many other applications like project management, accounting and data processing software suites. This is important as it allows different functions of a business to be closely matched based on customer information. It makes your CRM a hub for all the relevant information you need in order to run your business.

9. Be able to make sound business predictions

Making intelligent decisions based on proceedings of the past customer interactions and behavior can increase the overall success of a company. Knowing how customers reacted to a specific product or service can allow businesses to formulate effective future strategies. For instance, if a specific demographic reacted poorly to an expensive product and if there were a lot of returns associated with the product, it can be concluded that most of the people didn’t find the product value was worth the cost. This can lead to the company dropping the product’s price, or changing the target market.

10. Open a whole another world of possibilities

When you (and your salespersons) get their hands on a CRM solution, the possibilities are endless. A business can prosper at great speeds when CRM provides them with the ability to:

  • build better client relationships
  • increase the collaboration within your team members
  • improve your ability to cross sell
  • enhance client-serving efficiency

Having features like highly user-friendly reports and dashboards, sales analytics charts and visualizations and sales automation among many others available at your disposal, the only thing holding you back (from generating exciting marketing strategies) is your imagination.

How Can Act! Help?

Having a customer relationship management software is quickly becoming an outright necessity instead of a luxury. Mobile apps like Act! Companion make it easy to access vital customer information anywhere you go. Additionally, Act! helps business owners manage customer information, track performance, and plan for the future. Combined with dozens of interactions options, from Outlook, to Dropbox to Facebook, Act! is built to be the center of your business’s world. Making it easier to do business instead of just managing it.