Businesses of all sizes spend time and money on tedious tasks like accounting, tracking employee performance, managing leads and customers. If you aren’t using a CRM, it’s likely you’re switching from QuickBooks to your Google Calendar to your list of contacts, opening several tabs and programs, and wasting time. Wouldn’t it be nice to have these tasks automated and trackable, all in one location?
CRM, or customer relationship management, describes one-stop business management software. The right CRM lets you manage and track every aspect of your business so you can spend more time finding solutions and opportunities and less time identifying problems.
5 Benefits of CRM
1. Contact Management in CRM
Contact management in a CRM means more than compiling a simple contact list. Today, most CRMs allow users to attach proposals, invoices, notes and historical buying data to client contacts. The customer experience is greatly improved when you or your sales team has the customers’ information readily available. Your marketing and sales teams can easily update the customers’ information and even record interactions, whether they were reached by phone, e-mail, social media, or another channel.
2. CRM Marketing Automation
With the customer’s information collected and organized, a CRM makes it easy to identify where a customer is in the buyer’s life cycle. A CRM lets you automate when to send the right marketing materials based on where the customer is in the life cycle. Depending on the CRM, you may have the option to send marketing materials to customers via their preferred method of contact, such as social media, direct mail, or via e-mail.
3. Mobile Optimized CRMs
As a business owner, you’re always on the move. You need to be able to access customer information or see how your employees are performing anywhere you go. Today, most CRMs are SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS are cloud-based, making it easy to access your account on mobile. Forgot to send that invoice? Pull it up on your phone. Getting ready to meet with a client? Check out their buying habits while you wait.
4. Data Analysis Options for CRMs
Why waste time sifting through data and creating reports when you can have a CRM do it for you? Many CRMs allow you to run reports on customer information. Organize it by channel, product, service, customer experience, sales, or social media feedback. Analyzing data from a variety of perspectives tend to make problems instantly recognizable. Start working on the solution. Generate more leads, market to customers are the right time, and retain and delight existing clients.
5. Identify Your Brand Persona
From a marketing standpoint, you’re wasting money if you don’t know your target audience. Data analysis, especially when combined with social media feedback, will help you identify a single view of the customer. Finding your ideal customer will help you increase sales. You may find that the audience you’re currently marketing to isn’t the audience that wants to buy.
Top CRMs to Consider
- Salesforce is a powerful cloud-based CRM for large businesses, but they also have a small business edition. The software lets you store and manage customer information and identify sales opportunities. Business owners have touted its customizable dashboard, minimal learning curve, and sales forecasting features. However, small business owners say it’s too complex for their needs. When inquiring about customization, they were quoted hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- 17hats is a cloud-based CRM that suits the needs of many small businesses. A pro and a con of 17hats is that it organizes your work by project. Projects include client information, quotes, invoices, events, time tracking, drives, e-mails, notes, phone logs, and more. However, projects must be tied to a client contact. If you have more than one project per client, an overview of projects may be overwhelming. The dashboard layout is well designed, but could be more intuitive. And while 17Hats does have a built in bookkeeping feature, but does not sync with QuickBooks.
- For small businesses with a minimal marketing budget, Insightly has a free plan up to 3 users or a $12 per month plan that allows unlimited users. Its social CRM feature automatically adds social media interactions to contacts’ profiles. It also integrates QuickBooks, your Google Calendar and Drive, and Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, so you don’t need to waste time duplicating information. Insightly is easy to use but offers very few customizable reports. In fact, it offers only 9 reports, which may be insightful for microbusinesses, but not a business looking to expand.
CRM vs. Enterprise Solution
If you’re like us, every CRM you’ve tried has had functions you’ve found useful and features you could do without. We’re in the process of developing Swell, an Enterprise Solution, so called because it is truly an all-in-one solution center for use at the enterprise level. It does everything a CRM can to help you build meaningful customer relationships, with the addition of features that aid in managing workflow, employees, commerce, scheduling, invoicing, and much more. Swell has an intuitive dashboard, fully customizable reports, phone calls made right from the app, mobile accessibility, and ease of use. We’re making it available to Wilmington, NC businesses first. Since we’re local, you’ll have one-on-one customer support and customization flexibility.
Curious to see how Swell can grow your business? Contact us today.