If you are an entrepreneur or a business owner, you would understand the importance of analyzing customer demands and meeting them to boost your business. But as you know, nothing comes easy in business.

Businesses require CRM integration to use communication channels efficiently and enlarge their customer base, irrespective of their scale of operation.

So, if you are a small business owner looking out for means to streamline marketing and sales processes, you need to consider adopting a CRM tool. Let’s understand how CRM software can help your small business.

What is a CRM for Small Businesses?

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a term often synonymized with streamlining business operations and revenue growth in today’s rapidly changing and complex business landscape.

In the context of SMB— CRM software retains its core function of delivering delightful customer experiences through integration of sales, marketing, and other operations. Further, by allowing scalability and customizability, CRM software can help meet the needs of small companies.

Modern CRM platforms also bring customer support, business operations, and other functions into their fold to deploy unified and personalized customer experiences.

CRM for Small Business— Know the Key Features

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Firstly, CRM software allows businesses to maintain extensive customer data and update it in real-time, thereby helping them craft & deliver the right solutions to the right customers at the right time. CRM facilitates an organized approach to sales, marketing, customer service, and other crucial processes using which a company can maximize its profits. This way, CRM software helps businesses build and nurture strong relationships with their prospects and customers.

Like any other software, CRM tools comprise various modules with features that provide crucial utility for companies of all sizes, including small businesses. Following are some of the essential features of CRM for small businesses, which they should consider before choosing a CRM:

1. Contact Management

This CRM feature allows businesses to collect and organize customers’ contact details into granular segments and profiles based on their demographic, psychographic, and behavioral traits. The contact management (or customer database management) feature allows different teams in an organization to access the same dataset, update in real-time, and deliver personalized and consistent engagement across different touchpoints.

Further, by constantly nurturing the customer database, CRM software allows businesses to scale the customer experience with precision & speed, increasing customer satisfaction. CRM-based customer database management spares organizations the pain of manual data entry in spreadsheets.

2. Email Automation

Email automation is a powerful feature in CRM tools that allows sales and marketing teams to run automated “email nurture” campaigns for different customer segments. These drip campaigns focus on onboarding, upselling, cross-selling, retention, and other actions pertinent to the target customer segment.

Using the email automation feature in CRM software, small businesses can automatically send targeted emails to customers who share similar interests, motivations, and behavioral traits. Such rule-based email automation technology with readymade email templates can dramatically increase the lead conversion and revenue generation possibilities.

3. Lead Management

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It is one of the most important aspects of CRM. Every business functions to earn a profit, which requires efficient lead generation and lead management. CRM helps companies to acquire leads and further perform functions like lead nurturing, lead scoring, lead distribution to sales teams, pipeline tracking, etc.

4. Sales Analytics

With time, the CRM database can gather significant information on customers such as their contact details, purchase history, order size, preferences, pain points, etc. This data can serve as a goldmine of actionable insights if the CRM can provide analytics capability.

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So, when choosing a CRM tool for your small business, you should consider its built-in data analytics capability that could help you draw timely insights to arm your sales teams with the best possible customer know-how.

5. Performance Management

The best CRM for small business should also help sales managers evaluate and manage the performance of their sales reps. For example, the CRM tool could measure performance metrics such as lead tracking, conversion rate, etc., to quantify the efficiency and effectiveness of sales reps after they are distributed with leads and provided with the necessary customer insights.

Other essential features of Small business CRM are sales forecasting, analytics & reporting dashboard, workflow automation & management, mobile app, social media integration, etc. Together all of these CRM features can help small businesses forecast their sales, make informed decisions, collaborate with agility, and execute campaigns efficiently.

Is CRM Necessary for Small Businesses?

If you still wonder whether CRM software is suitable for your small business, the answer is an absolute yes! CRM can help you determine customer behavior and engage them with the right proposal. From tracking every step of a potential customer to gathering analytical insights with powerful AI, there isn’t anything that CRM software can’t do.

Data analytics features built into CRM systems can help you design a marketing plan that articulates the right messaging for your customers based on their traits and needs at any point in time.

Further, CRM helps monitor customer preferences and follows your brand’s engagement journey with the clients, helping you build a trustworthy relationship with your customers.

There have been several studies conducted on the benefits of CRM. According to a report by Nucleus Research, the mean RoI for CRM is $8.71 for every dollar invested. Another stat by HubSpot informs that CRM tools can increase revenue by 29%, sales productivity by 34%, and conversion rates by a massive 300%.

These statistics represent a minuscule of the sizable impact of CRM tools businesses have reported in recent years. The following section outlines some of these key benefits.

Benefits of CRM for Small Businesses

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Businesses need to manage the sales pipeline, automate the routine tasks, streamline internal communications, manage documents for collaboration, and perform several other operations to acquire customers and reach their revenue targets.

CRM software can fulfill these needs and aid several other business functions. Be it sales automation, marketing automation, data analytics, or integration; businesses can draw vast benefits using CRM software. Here are a few key benefits of CRM for small businesses:

1. Build Strong Customer Relationships

A good CRM tool records the habits and behavior of the prevailing and potential clientele. For example, the company can gather details of the past purchase history of its customers. This data captured using a CRM is highly beneficial in understanding the purchasing power, pattern, and timing when clients are likely to purchase.

Such profiling of customers’ preferences and pain points allows you to personalize the goods and services for individual users, thereby helping you build and sustain customer relationships.

2. Increase Customer Retention

CRM helps gather customer data through vast resources, including the various touchpoints such as online store, retail shopfront, customer service desk, social media, etc. This centralized database helps in profiling customers and increasing their lifetime value through personalized retention campaigns.

3. Access Data Anywhere and Anytime

With mobile CRM, your teams can access crucial sales and marketing data anywhere 24×7 on authorized mobile devices. This capability saves precious time and helps accelerate the sales and marketing operations by allowing teams to engage with customers on the go.

4. Deliver Superior Customer Service

It is challenging to build and nurture a highly engaged customer base and turn them into brand advocates. But with the right CRM, you can win customer’s trust. For example, with social CRM, you can readily resolve customers’ queries and issues, thereby building a reputation for your business. You could also engage in informed conversations with customers and leverage the appropriate context to increase conversions.

[Suggested Reading]: Know the 5 Key Benefits of CRM Software for your Small Business

Choosing the Right CRM for Your Small Business — Key Considerations

Now that you are familiar with the concept of CRM and why it is a necessity for small businesses, it is crucial to know how to choose the right CRM for your business. Many CRM software tools are available in the market, and choosing the right one becomes a tedious task without proper guidance.

So, here are a few vital parameters you might want to consider before selecting the appropriate CRM:

a) Ease-of-use and learning curve

b) Features vs cost

c) Customizability

d) Automation

e) Third-party integration

f) Mobile accessibility

g) Social media integration

h) Customer service

i) Vendor competence

j) Total cost of ownership

Popular CRM Software for Small Businesses

There are many CRM software with vastly varying features. Before you get overwhelmed with the wide range of CRM software in the market, we help you overview some of the popular CRM tools for small businesses:

1. Zoho CRM

Zoho lets you configure the product with multiple features such as sales automation, customer analytics, and more. The availability of gamification makes it more desirable. Up to ten users can use the free trial version of this tool at a stretch. Further, it requires an additional payment of $12 to use the upgraded version of this CRM. It supports Android devices, iPads, and iPhones. We recommended it for startups and small businesses having restricted funds.

2. SalesFlare

The CRM is a ‘simple yet powerful’ solution for small businesses in the B2B segment. One of the helpful features of SalesFlare is that it can gather the customer and lead data from emails, email signatures, social media profiles, etc., thereby saving time through automation. The CRM also does automatic recording of meetings and phone calls without the need for manual logging.

3. Capsule

Capsule CRM focuses on simplifying the sales and marketing functions for small businesses. It offers features like sales pipeline, kanban visualization, opportunity filtering, currency support, task automation, automated contact management, etc. Capsule offers significant customization for mails, milestones, titles, tags, etc.

4. Nimble

Nimble is a recommended CRM for businesses of all sizes due to its simple user interface. Presently, it supports Twitter only but is considered suitable for social media integration. The interface of this tool gives an idea of a to-do list and automation to the users.

5. vTiger CRM

Inventory management, email marketing, workflow automation, customer portal, affordable, lead management, forecasting, and several other features make vTiger ideal for a small business. The only disadvantage with this CRM is the lack of customization.

[Suggested Reading]: 10 Best CRM Software to Grow Your Small Business in 2021

Conclusion

CRM tools are crucial for all businesses regardless of their scale of operations and industry. CRM software unifies core business functions, including sales, marketing, customer service, and operations, to help companies deliver consistent and delightful experiences to their customers.

Armed with up to the minute details of customers, their preferences, and pain points, marketing and sales professionals in small businesses can enhance customer interactions, lead generation, and conversions with optimal efforts. Choosing the right CRM software can enhance employee productivity with capabilities like automation and allow the organization to measure and analyze performance through intuitive dashboards.

The benefits of CRM further extend to areas like real-time collaboration, mobile workforce, sales pipeline management, internal communication, and more.

We hope this blog will help you with comprehensive insights into CRM software for small businesses and understand CRM capabilities like contact management, email automation, sales analysis, etc.

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