No matter what industry your business is in, properly managing relationships with your customers is vital. From tracking customer data and contact information to keeping notes and records of individual interactions, the right customer relationship management (CRM) system can streamline your operations and make your life easier.
So, at what point should your business adopt an official CRM software platform? Should you wait until you have an established customer base—or should you get ahead of the game? In general, it's best to have a CRM system in place before you turn your focus to lead generation.
By having a better understanding of what CRM systems are and how they can benefit your business, you'll be able to make informed decisions regarding your own customer data.
What is a CRM system?
Specifically, a customer relationship management system refers to a group of tools and/or software that is designed to help businesses organize and manage their interactions with customers. From sales data to contact information and everything in between, a CRM platform allows business owners and employees to quickly access the data they need about a particular customer within a matter of seconds.
In addition to simply storing this information for easy accessibility, a great CRM platform can also help businesses gain valuable insights into customer behavior. For example, a CRM system may track a customer's actions on your business website; analytics provided by your CRM software can then tell you more about what that customer may be interested in. You can then use that information to create targeted email ads or other personalized promotions that may drive sales.
CRM systems can vary greatly when it comes to what they include (and don't include), so businesses can find a solution that best suits their needs and budgets. From low-cost SaaS solutions to enterprise-size platforms, there is an option out there for your growing company.
Benefits of using a CRM system
Still not convinced that your business ought to implement a CRM system now? Consider just a handful of the most compelling benefits of having a CRM system in place early in the game—before your customer base really begins to grow.
Greater customer retention
Your CRM platform can provide some excellent insights that make it easier for your business to retain customers for the long-haul. Without a reliable CRM system in place, the leads that you've spent so much time (and money) procuring could end up going to waste.
A boost in sales
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of having a CRM system in place is the possibility of increased sales and profits. Yes, you will spend some money up-front to implement a CRM platform (and there will likely be some ongoing costs to maintain your system). However, that money is well spent when you consider how much such a platform allows you to streamline your sales process and hone in on your target audience. The end result? A reliable, step-by-step process that every member of your team can easily follow to make a sale.
Improved customer service
Ultimately, the main purpose of a CRM platform is in the name! Such a platform should help your business improve and manage your customer relationships. A major way in which this is done is through improved customer service. From storing important data (such as contact information and details on a customer's previous purchases/interactions) to managing previous messages with customer service representatives, having all of this information readily available at your fingertips means your team can provide the best customer service when the need arises.
Easier customer segmentation
As your customer base grows, having so many leads and contacts can prove overwhelming—especially when you're trying to come up with a marketing plan to target your leads successfully. This is where customer segmentation can come in handy. Specifically, segmentation in marketing refers to filtering your leads based on different criteria (such as purchase history, interests, demographics, etc.) and then using different marketing strategies/campaigns on different segments of your customer base.
Segmenting your customers can be extremely difficult without help from a CRM platform. With the right CRM platform, however, even the largest of contact lists can be effortlessly segmented so that you can make better-informed marketing decisions for your business.
Greater accessibility for employees
Few things are more frustrating for a customer (or potential customer) than talking to two different employees from the same company and getting conflicting information from each one. When all your customer data is kept in one convenient location that is easily accessible to each employee, you can rest assured that every member of your company will have access to the exact same customer information no matter what stage of the sales process the customer is at.
This, in turn, ensures a more consistent experience for your customers while your employees have an easier time getting the information they need to better serve your customer base. It's truly a win-win for everybody!
What to look for in a CRM system
As you can see, there are many reasons to implement a CRM platform for your business now rather than later. By selecting a CRM system that will work with your business not just now but as it grows, you'll be setting yourself up for long-term success.
Not sure what to look for in a CRM system? There's a lot to consider, beginning with your budget. In general, however, you should at least look for the following features in a CRM system:
- Reliable analytics and reporting
- User-friendly and intuitive design
- Dedicated customer service/support
- Easy collaboration for your employees
The bottom line on CRM systems for business
Regardless of the size of your business, having a CRM system in place can help you streamline your important customer data and make it more accessible to your employees. This, in turn, helps your team provide the best service to your customers. So, don't wait until you've grown your customer base to implement a CRM platform; be proactive about it and reach out to our team today.