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CRM FOR SMBs: A NECESSITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

 

A while back, one of our sales associates sparked an interesting conversation with the owner of a small business (SMB) who brought up two very important questions. The owner asked that if they’d been in business for over twenty years, why would they need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution now? They subsequently asked, “how would I ensure to get the maximum Return on Investment (ROI) after implementing the CRM solution?”

Questions like these are asked often by businesses who are used to doing business in a particular and conventional way, and wonder if there are in fact any advantages from adopting the new IT buzzword solution (in this case, CRM). Thus arises the classical commercial question, why fix something if it’s not broken?

To better explain why CRM is a necessity for all 21st Century businesses, both small and large, it is pertinent to understand what CRM is and does. A Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, solution is used in assisting organizations manage business-customer interactions is an organized fashion. By organized fashion we mean creating a consolidated view (interface) of all engagement and communications with current and/or potential customers. Depending on the type of CRM solution deployed, this gives the organization some or all of the following functionality:

  • The performance of a marketing campaign
  • Aggregating customer information and communications within a single environment
  • Knowing the status of customers within the sales pipeline
  • Tracking the interaction with the customer across all social media platforms
  • Providing analytical capabilities that enables for the appropriate forecasting of products and services to offer customers in the future

 

In the current digital era, the majority of customers have the ability to be more knowledgeable about products and services offered by an organization and its competitors. Within this competitive environment, CRM has become the tool that enables an organization to be more effective and efficient in their method of marketing.

After crossing the hurdle of deciding that a CRM is necessary, the next stage is ensuring the CRM deployment gives the best ROI. For an SMB, this is done by considering the following points:

  • Ensuring that the chosen CRM Platform can integrate with existing IT assets and organizational practices
  • Ensuring that the selected CRM platform is scalable to meet the organizations future growth needs.
  • Assessing the competency of the selected vendor chosen to deploy the CRM system.
  • Defining before deployment and operations of the CRM how performance will be measured to assess if the CRM deployment is successful
  • And lastly, ensuring that there is organization-wide buy-in for the deployment of the CRM solution