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Understanding small business CRM

clip71731932.jpgBuilding long-term small business stability is an enormous challenge. Most small business owners have their short-term business plans thought out but they don't always consider the long-term plans and growth for the business. If you aren't focusing on CRM (customer relationship management) it will leave your business in disarray with your customers as you won't have strong relationships with them. If you don't know what CRM is and how you can implement it into your business, here are some tips to help you get started.

Building a stronger cash flow
When you focus on building stronger relationships with your customers, you can predict a stronger cash flow. Customers that are loyal to a company or a brand usually support this company and brand religiously. This means you will be able to establish a strong ROI when you implement CRM. If you have limited cash flow and working capital, be very cautious about getting in over your head with CRM as it can be a big investment.

More than just personality
Sure you can get your customers to come back for more over the years by having a strong relationship with them by using your personality. CRM teaches you how to interact with your customers and strengthen your relationship with them through market research and by expanding your products or services to more than just a small market niche. To keep up or overtake your competition you need to focus on CRM in order to gain loyalty from your niche market.

Watch your growth

A common problem for small businesses is growing before they are ready. If you expand your company too rapidly, you will have a hard time staying in business. You must focus on building a strong customer base that will be able to support the expansion of your business and changes that come along the way. Start with small changes before you expand rapidly. Adding something trivial like online sales is a larger investment and growth than you may be planning and it can be a larger challenge that you may realize.

Find new customers
Growing a business will happen when you satisfy your existing customers and when you are able to find new customers. Finding new customers and turning them into life-long customers will help you manage your business properly. How can you find new customers and retain the ones you already have? You need to understand the needs of the customers through market research and customer interactions.

Automated systems
Since CRM focuses on strengthening your relationships with your customers, you can use automated systems to provide your customers with the help and support they need. These automated systems usually include phone systems and online chat sessions. Plan on spending roughly $2,000 a year on automated systems that will provide your customers with more support and help when they need it. The other benefit to automated systems is that you can often find some that offer you additional services like sales tracking, voice messaging, faxing, and power dialing. Here are some of the things you need to look for when you are seeking an automated system:

  • Power Dialing. This can improve your sales dramatically as your agents can make their calls easier.

  • Email and fax services. You also need to have a service that follows up with leads you have generated in order to keep the potential customers interested in what your company has to offer.

  • Voice messaging. This provides you with the ability to send out voicemails to customers that need a call back.

  • Quote management. This service helps your sales agents remember to send out quotes to certain customers that need them.

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