As an entrepreneur, there are a great many tools and software you come across that help you make sure your business runs efficiently, at optimum pace, and in compliance – with the federal/territorial governments as well as your industry. There is one tool that is a must-have to make sure you can continue to grow and expand your small business.
That tool is a trustworthy CRM. By using one from almost day one, not only does it help you organize your contacts but it also can ensure that each department is handling that contact properly. From Marketing to Customer Service to Planning – a good CRM helps you each step of the way.
Now, there are a great many options out there – all amazing, however, there are a few things to consider when choosing one that is right for your business – to help you expand and beyond:
1. Lead Tracking Capabilities
A good CRM needs to be able to help you track your conversions. From inquiry to sale – a CRM needs to show all the triggers when it comes to the path. Starting from inquiry to how long it took to get to the sale. Were there questions along the way? This is all part of this lead tracking component.
2. Building a deeper connection with your clients/customers
This is a further expansion of Lead Tracking capabilities. Once you have your lead, how do you create value for your client? What do you bring to the table (almost) every day that your client chooses you to work with for that reason?
This is call relationship-building – how to target your client’s needs to ensure you maintain their business over the long term.
3. Areas of Opportunity – are there any?
A good CRM will help you in identifying areas of opportunity with not only your current client list but also how to further expand. This also includes any referral opportunities, where you can improve upon client feedback, who you should further connect with etc.
Your CRM helps you see trending, see how communications occur, give you a method of tracking feedback to improve and grow.
4. Organizes your Business/Organization
By operating a CRM, it allows you to better organize your business as it expands. Do you need to have a permanent customer service team? Do you find your sales team is needing to have more info about your clients than before? Do you find that you are seeing trends in purchase power for your product or service that you need to expand further into or archive?
It streamlines your business to both better serve your clients, staff, and business through each phase of growth.
At the end of the day, you want your clients to have an amazing experience – but what happens if a client encounters something that they are now seeking a refund or cancellation of service? Was it preventable? Is there an action plan in place to help retain your clients?
A CRM can help you set these up for you and your staff to better track the situation as it unfolds and (hopefully) catch it before it has gone too far that your client is seeking to end the relationship.
Your CRM is a huge machine that has so many facets to it that in order to be successful, you must look into how best to harness it and utilize the information power (the biggest tool in your business) as to ensure you are hearing what you need to do from your clients, team and for the future of your business.
Now, you might be asking – this information is great but HOW do I figure out which CRM to use for my business?
Answer: You need to research. Though CRM’s are generally universal – there are often times industry restrictions or preferred programs that need to be used. Be it for security purposes (i.e. Real Estate/Mortgage/Legal Professions) versus Service based freelancers who aren’t holding the same secure information within the program interface.
Now, there might be some trial and error when you do start selecting each one, as in most cases, until you start using it in your business, only then you can choose the best one for you. But, in the best interest of knowing what a lot of industry says for mainstream CRM programs, here is a list of ones to start with.
After reading this – I would love to hear your favorite CRM, why you love it, and name one feature that you couldn’t live without!