Why every small business needs a CRM

As a small business owner myself, I can understand how hard it is to keep track of all your customer information and what youpromised to do when.

Only this morning at 4Networking Cheadle, Delyth Evans was telling us how important it is to really know your customer.

So this week I wanted to talk to about why CRMs are important, really important in business.

Which CRM is right for small business

Which CRM is right for small business

What is a CRM?

A Customer Relationship Manager; basically, a database of all your customer information and much more too. The great thing is you can adapt any CRM to suit your business, whether it’s sales, marketing, tracking projects, quotes, conversations and emails.

In my last blog, I mentioned how important it is to stay in touch with your customers all the time, not just at times when you’re doing work for them. That’s why having a little bit of insight helps you get to know them better and how they like to work

Why use one?

A CRM is essential running a business, whether you’re a freelancer, sole trader, service provider or seller.

Look for opportunities to respond to the obvious and sometimes subtle comments your customers make” Shep Hyken

You might be thinking, I don’t need a CRM, I’ll just put all my notes in my calendar, notebook or perhaps my head!

Understanding your customers’ style is important in business but how do you do it? When you think about all the businesses and people you follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you realise you can’t possibly read everything they post. Otherwise, you’d be on it 24 hours a day.

But when you find out something new and interesting about your customers? What do you do with that? Yes, thought so. You’ll try to remember it.

As your business grows, you’ll find yourself trying to remember everything about everybody: Leads, sales, contacts, project management, pipeline, opportunities, work management, who knows what, who knows who, where you met and what people said.

Which CRM?

Have I convinced you? I’ve found having my CRM database, exactly as I need it, full of useful information is vital to running my business, building great customer relationships and keeping track of all my networking friends.

There’s plenty of choices out there so it will depend on how many people in your business, your budget, how comfortable you feel with technology and what featuires you want out of your CRM.

Here’s a list of the ones I know about and I’d be interested to hear about any you use. Why not pop a comment at the end of this blog and let me know?

Insightly

Free – up to 2 users.

Capsule

Free – up to 2 users and 250 contacts

Contactually

$39 per month

365 Microsoft Dynamics

£30.20 per month unless included with 365 Business Premium

Salesforce

£20 per user/month up to 5 users

Zoho

£10 per month – 100,000 records

SalesRadar

£12 per month – Single user

All of these have pros and cons, some integrate with MailChimp and other apps, others have stronger project management features.

Some even have elements that help you find potential customers, do you research and find the one that’s right for you.

If you’re just getting started or haven’t made up your mind about the right CRM, make sure you do something to capture all your customer information. Excel will get you going, and with most CRMs, you’ll be able to import your data.

And finally

Your CRM is only as good as the information you put into it so you must be prepared to invest a bit of time keeping it up to date with recent information.

Or as some tech geeks around here would say GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.

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