How to Use CRM Software for a Small Business

by braniac

CRM software, also referred to as customer relationship management software, was created to help businesses of all types and sizes stay organized, increase customer satisfaction levels, and generate more sales. If used effectively, CRM software can greatly enhance the productivity and efficiency of small businesses. This article will provide instructions on how to implement CRM software into your daily routine as a small business owner or sole proprietor. There are many options as you look to buy CRM software and it is important that you weigh the pros and cons of each program available based on your business structure. CRM software programs vary greatly in both costs and benefits and some CRM software is built with a particular business profession in mind, for example financial professionals. Some CRM software is web based and backed up internally, whereas other programs require software installation and other backup methods. Some common CRM software providers are ACT, Goldmine, Salesforce.com, and Microsoft Outlook based programs. Whatever type of business you operate, from lawncare to surf shops, there is a CRM software program that can enhance your business performance.

First, after choosing your CRM software provider, you will need to begin uploading your customer and business related contacts into the CRM program. Depending on the size of your business, this may be a large investment of time. However, after having all of your contacts loaded into the system, you now have one, reliable software program to locate contact information. Be certain to include all available phone numbers and addresses as well as other information that may be useful to maintain, such as email addresses and account numbers.

Now, after you have loaded all contacts into the CRM software, you can begin to input future activities. CRM software will allow you to add activities, such as service phone calls or account review letter mailings, to your contacts. In doing so, you assure yourself that the activity will not be forgotten in this fast paced world. This assurance and capability to follow through on the promises you made to customers will better your customer service level. For instance, your client Mary has a birthday in 7 months and you want to make sure to send her a card. If you do not use CRM software, you may very well forget this activity. However, if you do use CRM software, the activity will pop up on the exact day you entered, leaving you no chance to forget the important activity. Now that you own or use the CRM software, adding future activities to contacts should become a daily, habitual practice for your small business.

After adding in your servicing activities to your CRM software, you will now want to add future sales activities. This is where CRM software can have the largest impact on your business profits. Just as you may accidentally forget a customer's birthday, as an example, you may also forget that a prospect requested you to call them on that life insurance policy in exactly 3 months because they had funds coming available for premiums. Again, this is just an example, but CRM software will keep you on your toes when it comes to tracking future sales opportunities. Additional sales are often the lifeblood of a small business and CRM software will more than pay for itself by helping you stay on top of future potential profits. Future sales related activities should be added in for both prospects and current customers. By proving your capability to follow through on promises, you will build trust with your current and prospective customer base.

Lastly, use your CRM software to manage current accounts. By keeping documented notes on your current customer accounts, you will not only be better in servicing your customers but you will also protect your business. Customer account notes in CRM software will essentially allow you to keep a paper trail of all conversations and activities for a particular account. If for any reason a customer were to make a false or negative claim about your business, you will have factual notes attached to the account that can be used in litigation if necessary. It is also important to let your customers know that you use CRM software, as it will give them a sense of comfort about the organization of your small business. It will also prove to your customers that you place an emphasis on customer satisfaction.

Tips

  • check CRM software will take time to implement, however, you will likely begin to recognize and feel real, business benefits within one month of usage.
  • check Be certain that all CRM software information is backed up at least daily.

Warning

  • close It is imperative that your CRM software is secure as this is information that is not only valuable to your business, but it is information that is personal and private to your customers.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera www.sxc.hu