Monday, 23 August 2010

Why a CRM System is Essential Even for Small Businesses

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system may seem like a big investment for many small businesses, but I think it really is essential to maximise your opportunities of survival and success. Why is this?

From a Sales Perspective, an effective CRM system can:
  • Help you track all the potential sales opportunities you have outstanding and tag a reminder for your next follow-up action.
  • Automatically add any new prospect contact information to your mailing list for marketing communication.
  • Act as your corporate memory to target repeat or upsell business in the future - it's amazing how many small businesses provide quotes or do work for clients, but never ever contact them again. Make the most of potentially interested prospects and contact them again!
  • Help you be clever about the decision making unit if your customer is a business (or even a family!) Who holds the purse-strings, and who influences the decision?
From a Marketing perspective,  an effective CRM system can:

  • Help you tailor your marketing message depending on your customer's profiles. For instance you might want to target different products at different groups, or only offer a promotional voucher to long-term customers to reward their loyalty. You need a decent marketing database to do this, but you also need to link it to your sales information. In particular if you can segment by decision-making unit profile you are on to a winner, but to do this efficiently you need to automate. 
  • Simply building your mailing list is simpler if you have a proper CRM system - it will save you a lot of time in the long-run!  
  • With data protection and anti-SPAM regulations becoming more high-profile even small businesses need to make sure they are complying. A well organized CRM system should allow you to set marketing communication preferences and also to ensure you can provide data easily and efficiently if required to by Data Protection officers. 

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