By CommenceCRM

7 Tips on Choosing the Perfect CRM For Your Small Business

CRM. Customer relationship management concept.

In the highly competitive business landscape, the one thing that matters more than the quality of your product is the customer satisfaction, towards your products as well as your service. That’s why Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has become an essential part of small businesses’ journey to reach the top.

So how can you find the right CRM for a small business? Not all CRM software is created equal,  and figuring out the best one for a growing company can be a grueling task. You must consider things such as company goals, CRM compatibility, price lists, and vendor reputation, among others.

In this article, we discuss the importance of CRM solutions in helping a business grow and what to look for when buying the best CRM system.

How CRM Improves Small Businesses

To put it simply, CRM is a tool that allows business leaders with greater insights on their customers’ needs, in order to provide better services. It gathers customer data from the interaction between the buyer and your sales representative. The best CRM system will store this information and collate them in a way that can help you identify the needs of your customers and other possible leads you should pursue.

More and more companies and small business owners find themselves depending on CRM systems for optimizing their company functions. Here are three different ways CRM helps small businesses:

Boosting Sales and Nurturing Leads

Even though there are thousands of visitors on a site everyday, only a few hundred of them are converted into actual sales. So how can you know which impressions can potentially turn into profits? With CRM, the leads from a website are nurtured in the sales pipeline using targeted email campaigns, so they can be persuaded into buying.

Aside from studying customer information, CRM also analyzes the sales data so you can make better business decisions. It shows which lead sources are gaining the most sales, so you can invest more into it. It also helps track representatives with low sales rates, allowing the team to form better strategies.

Understanding the Customers Better

Knowing your customers means understanding their needs and preferences. But with hundreds of people you interacted with every day, it can be difficult to keep track of everything manually. With CRM, all the information is automated and stored in the Cloud. This can help in choosing relevant data needed to create customer-centric decisions.

The customer information collected can also be utilized to give buyers a more personal customer service experience. CRM oversees the preferences and behaviors of potential clients and employs tailored services or products according to their needs. Well-maintained connections with customers boost their loyalty to a brand and improve the chances of customer referrals.

Improving the Workflow

In the earliest stages of business, management teams tend to stick to traditional workplace processes – which involve spreadsheets, sticky notes, and tons of paperwork. These can kill productivity because papers tend to get lost inside the office and there’s no easy way to track it.

With CRM, everything becomes automated. All files and tasks are shown in one place that everyone can view. Workflows become smoother, communications become clearer, and tasks are completed faster.

7 Tips on Choosing the Right CRM for a Small Business

Even with hundreds of CRM system providers in the market, none of them offers a one-size-fits-all solution. Different businesses have different needs, which is why choosing the right software fit for a business is an important process. No idea where to start? here are seven tips to follow:

1. Set the Company Goals

Start with something easy and you know like the back of the hand – what are the company’s goals? It’s time to go back to the reason why it started in the first place. Make sure to ask what you’re hoping to accomplish and what are the steps to get there.

Once the goals are identified, the next question is: what does the CRM system need to do? With tons of software options, only a handful of them are appropriate for a specific business. Don’t buy an expensive system with a plethora of features, when only a tenth of it will be applied. Listing down the “nice to haves” and “need to haves” will help predict how often the features are going to be employed moving forward.

2. Research the Basics of CRM

So what is the best CRM system for a business? Understanding the different types of CRM is necessary for any business’s needs. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Operational CRM

What it is: A software that shows an overview of a customer’s interactions with the brand and sales representative. It automates marketing and sales data collection.

What it’s good for: Keeping everything in order and viewable in one place.

  • Analytical CRM

What it is: A system that will gather, organize, and analyze customer-related information and transform them into easy-to-understand data – such as customer retention rates, recurring revenues, and deal cycles.

What it’s good for: Data gathering that is useful for business decision making.

  • Collaborative CRM

What it is: A program that shares customer information across different business departments. Instead of customer acquisition, collaborative CRM focuses on customer service, satisfaction, and retention.

What it’s good for: Improving communication among employees and keeping more customers loyal.

3. Consult with the Employees

A software is pretty much useless if the person assigned to operate it doesn’t have a single clue how to run the program. When searching for the best CRM, make sure to consult with the employees who will be using it.

Employees will give their insights about the features they think are important and the kind of data the new system will be handling. Talk to them to have an idea of what CRM features they can adapt easily.

4. Explore the Application Compatibility

As every CRM software is unique in function and interface, transitioning to a new or different CRM system can be difficult and unnerving.

When searching for a new CRM, ensure that you check its compatibility with the following platforms and systems:

  • Customer Support – The customer support feature is the heart of any CRM software. It allows the business to store customer information that can be used in maintaining a positive relationship with the buyer.
  • Marketing Automation – Marketing and sales are closely related, so it’s helpful to have both departments share the same information.
  • Email – Centralizing the emails on one platform will allow the business to save important contacts that can turn into leads.
  • Calendar – Digital calendars and other scheduling apps are essential in keeping track of appointments — whether work-related or not.
  • Social Media – Tons of provider and consumer interactions happen in different social media platforms every day. Integrating the business’ social media accounts will maximize the brand’s exposure and engagements.
  • Website –  Once the website is merged into the CRM system, all customer information from the web forms will be automatically added to the database. This will save your sales team time and effort because they won’t have to manually input the details.

5. Compare Price Lists

Treat CRM software shopping like buying a new gadget: research about the specifications, consider the budget, and compare the price with other providers. As a small business owner, choose a CRM system that won’t break the bank but has all the important features.

So how can you choose a CRM system like that? Take a look at the features of a CRM software and consider whether the provider’s pricing schemes are reasonable. Compare them with other plans found in the market. Small businesses usually opt for fixed monthly rates of around $12 – $20 per person, but you can also choose a one-time payment software if that’s the best option.

6. Check the Provider’s Reputation

The provider’s reputation is almost as valuable as the software itself. Aside from offering a high-quality system, the third party provider should also be reliable with providing the needed technical assistance. Some companies even go out of their way and suggest pieces of advice that can help a business grow.

One of the ways to verify a vendor’s reputation is by looking into their profile. It’s also helpful to skim through websites that provide unbiased reviews of different CRM software. A company’s time in the industry is also a good indicator of their experience and good reputation.

7. Test Drive the CRM

Testing the CRM software first can provide a glimpse of how it will work with the company’s data. Most providers offer a free trial to give companies a full experience working with the system. It’s the best way to know whether the features meet the expectations or if it’s a good match for a business.

Features to Look For

CRM systems are more than just harnessing customer information and transforming them into easy-to-interpret data for a business. It is also useful for other company management functions, so make sure to check if the CRM software offers the following features:

  • Lead Management – it should organize possible leads and show the opportunities useful in garnering more sales.
  • Reports and Dashboards – it should reflect the latest trends and customer behavior in the market.
  • Workflows – it should help in tracking tasks and pending approvals for a more organized business process.
  • Mobile-Friendly Capabilities – it should be easily accessible on multiple devices for a quicker response to customer needs and other work-related issues.

Help Your Business Grow with Commence CRM

Looking to improve customer satisfaction with right CRM software? Commence CRM will help you reach your goals.

Our two decades of experience in the industry has helped thousands of small business owners improve their customer satisfaction, with the use of exceptional customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Take Commence CRM for a test drive now.