Software that is tailored to a company can sometimes seem scary to small businesses. It’s probably only meant for large companies with similarly large budgets, right? Not so. CRM is also suitable for small businesses.
Firstly, it’s good to paint CRM with a broader brush than the software alone. Customer Relationship Management is about relationship management and customer focus. The software is there for support. CRM begins in the company’s DNA, and is made concrete by formulating a clear vision for CRM and linking it to measurable goals. CRM software helps a company to achieve these goals. Through good use of CRM software, you can respond to opportunities – customer needs – in a timely manner, and clearly record and monitor how the CRM process is working in practice. It enables your organization to make adjustments if necessary.
A committed team
The first major advantage of a small business is that there’s often a very committed team. During the introduction of a CRM system at a large company, one often encounters resistance, and that is an obstacle that first needs to be overcome. In a small(er) business, a collective choice is made for the CRM tool, which means the entire team is behind it. Result: the tool is used optimally and the investment quickly pays for itself.
Standard and customized
A custom solution may seem scary to a small business. Because it’s probably expensive. Let’s dispel that myth right away. A CRM tool is both a standard tool and tailored at the same time. From a standard software package consisting of different modules, clients can assemble their own ideal CRM suite. Similarly, when you buy a new kitchen, the showroom setup isn’t the only option. For example, you can choose for an L shape or a U shape, you can change the color of the cabinets, and you can pick the most expensive A-brand equipment or go for its more affordable sibling. In CRM, the software isn’t programmed individually for each company by the developer. Yet, the design of the tool is still customized. This primarily means that the company and the CRM vendor figure out which features and links are necessary and which are not. With Archie CRM, in almost all cases, this can be solved with the standard software and import programs.
A customer is a customer
A customer is a customer. A customer of a small business is no different from a customer of a large company. Of course there are different customers, but the difference is not defined by the size of the company. What does differ is that in a large company the customer often deals with just one or a few of the employees, whereas a customer of a small business often knows the whole company. In smaller businesses, there’s often no separate customer-service or sales department. In that case, a CRM tool is especially useful to keep a good overview. Moreover, it makes communication efficient: it’s very quick to see who’s been in touch, when, and about what.
Of course overview and efficient communication are just as beneficial for large companies, but, conversely, their value for small businesses is underestimated. Often people think “we’re so small, we just remember it all”. Or they keep everything in a file, whether digital or in a cabinet. But that doesn’t make it very easy to find things later. “What was it we agreed with client A last year? When was customer B going to move again? Remind me, was our contact at client C ill or on sabbatical?” Customer contacts go beyond purchases; you want to build a personal relationship. Self-employed people with just a few customers are usually okay, but as soon as your organization has some employees and is in weekly contact with multiple clients, things start to get considerably more difficult. A CRM tool is your organization’s collective memory.
CRM may seem expensive, but that’s because it often works above and next to all other systems. It makes much more sense to integrate CRM with logistics, invoicing, time tracking, and so on. All kinds of things that don’t just matter for big companies, that no business can do without. Integrating systems yields an overall picture of the customer; from the first contact to the after-sales and everything in between. You can even link phone calls and emails to the system. So every contact moment is recorded, which also helps map out the customer journey.
Every dollar counts
Although integration, too, is cost-effective for any organization – large or small – that is perhaps even more important for small businesses. The reserves are smaller, and every dollar can be spent only once. A CRM tool provides a clear view of costs and benefits. Precisely when every dollar counts, it’s important to know how much time is put into prospects and customers and how much that ultimately yields for the organization. 20% of customers often account for 80% of sales. Which customers represent the 20%? With an integrated CRM system, you can figure it out.
Small business owners ought to abandon the idea that CRM is not meant for them. Naturally, the benefits they enjoy aren’t necessarily any different from the ones enjoyed by large companies when it comes to CRM. The point is that a good CRM strategy and the proper use of CRM tools offers benefits to all kinds of businesses – especially when every dollar counts.