By Nick Rojas
Customer experience is one of the most important aspects of running a successful 21st century business, no matter what size it is. In fact, 22% of companies polled for eConsultancy in 2017 listed customer experience as their top digital marketing priority. However, it is especially necessary for small businesses who want to stand out from their many competitors and connect with markets that can grow their brand fast. The challenge is that many small businesses find it time-consuming to curate their customer experience on top of their other responsibilities. Running a small business requires you to do more with less, and it is easy to find yourself stretched thin. This is especially true when it comes to your time.
Many small businesses are turning to customer relationship management (or CRM) programs (CRMs) to help them streamline and automate the tasks that improve their customer experience. CRMs are intended to make communication between you and your customers easier, with the eventual goal of increasing your sales. However, some small business owners still question the value of CRMs—despite the fact that the CRM market is projected to hit $37 billion this year.
To help you learn more, we’ve put together a list of reasons why CRMs can be worthwhile investments for small businesses. Read on, and use the information in the following paragraphs to make an informed decision about the way you engage your customers.
CRMs Help You Remain Organized
Tracking potential leads from different sources can be exhaustive, but a CRM program can centralize the process and make it much easier. Imagine using a single platform to organize leads from your website, various social media accounts, and online advertisements. A CRM program can allow you to identify and categorize leads from each of these sources, so that you can send meaningful messages to each of them.
CRMs Help You Use Your Resources Effectively
Being successful in business used to mean doing a lot of cold-calling, but not anymore. It’s all about efficiency these days, which means knowing who to spend your time trying to convert into a paying customer. One of the largest advantages to using CRMs is that they can notify you whenever a person takes an interest in your brand. This allows you to spend your energy going after likely potential customers instead of trying to reach people who aren’t interested.
CRMs Help You Stay Informed with Real-Time Info
CRMs also provide you with in-depth stats and analytics that can help you understand potential customer activity as it occurs. Many web-hosting services and social media platforms provide certain analytics tools, but they stop short of showing you things like which of your emails are being opened, or the time at which most of your forms are submitted.
CRMs Can Help You Identify Better KPIs
The real-time information that CRMs provide can help you answer vital questions about the way your business is growing. In addition to merely gathering data, you can use a CRM program to produce reports that tell you which of your marketing campaigns are most effective, or which of your customers are the most profitable on average.
Choosing and Acquiring CRMs for Your Small Business
There are many reasons to use a CRM program for your small business, but you should acquire yours carefully. Consult with qualified professionals who can connect you with a CRM Program suited to your needs, and make sure that you are able to finance it effectively. Many small businesses choose to borrow money to improve their digital marketing efforts, but long-term loans are not necessary for such things. Instead of taking on large monthly payments and extensive interest, consider a short-term working capital loan that you can pay back easily once you have acquired a CRM program for your business.
CRMs are already a vital tool for competitive and consistent small business growth, and they will only become more important in the coming years. Make a careful and calculated investment in a CRM program today, and your business can reap the benefits tomorrow.
In our next post, ISM will discuss the topic of the “Internet of Things”, which will profoundly impact the global marketplace.
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Nick Rojas is a small business consultant and business journalist, currently splitting time between Southern California and Chicago. He is an occasional contributor to ISM’s blog. Please visit Nick’s twitter account: @NickARojas.