Are SMBs Penny Wise and Pound Foolish? 5 Ways Investing in CRM can Boost Profitability

The average entrepreneur running a small business often looks at CRM software as a 'luxury' that only large global businesses with an organized structure can afford. Though cloud computing has begun to change this outlook significantly, very few small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have the mindset to invest and successfully implement a CRM solution.

Why CRM solutions improve performance
Cost-effective customer experience optimization
It is crucial to understand how a CRM software can enhance sales and optimize relationships without draining the company's budget and provide significant gains.
    1. Managing customer data: Data stored and processed through a CRM solution is more easily accessible and actionable. It can be entered manually, imported through Excel sheets, captured from social sites and collated through integration. This allows employees to focus more on core activities with real-time information at their fingertips. This saves a lot of time and errors in dealing with the customers. For small businesses, a database that is efficient and active can often be the difference between a healthy margin and a loss.
    2. Empowering employees: Successfully implemented CRM software gives power to the employees of an organization and can often make a small sized business model even more productive. Real-time information, Dashboards, forecasting, customization toolboxes and integration are some of the useful features that improve user performance. In certain cases, opting for a CRM solution instead of hiring an additional tele-calling team can be a smarter and more sustainable investment.
    3. Better ROI on marketing plans: With actionable data at one’s fingertips, the planning and implementation of an effective marketing or advertising campaign becomes easier. For SMBs, a CRM solution ensures optimal marketing strategies and enhanced campaign ROI by facilitating quick and accurate analysis of customer needs and feedback. Short Code Management and Online Lead Capture allow SMBs to reach out to larger volumes of people and efficiently capture information. Other useful tools like mailing lists, templates and mail blasters lead to cost-effective communications with audiences and ensure a consistent customer experience.
    4. Increase effectiveness of sales teams: CRM solutions ensure that salespersons can concentrate on their core activities and still keep top management in-the-loop. Mobile CRM and secure access to real-time customer information from multiple sources ensures a competitive advantage and better lead conversions. Also, ad hoc reports and clear pipeline visibility allow better tracking of performance and bottlenecks.
    5. Retaining customers and increasing wallet share: Enhance customer experience by avoiding escalations and reopened cases through effective management of call center staff and customer facing roles. Display a holistic view of customers to improve cross selling opportunities and successfully build rapport after providing an accurate resolution for requests and complaints.      
    Now is the best time to implement a CRM software for a small firm that is exposed to turbulent economic conditions. With customers and investors evaporating at a rapid pace, the effective and smart usage of customer databases and campaigns to retain, regain and convert customers can be crucial for a company. Though, every player will be vying to keep their customers happy at this critical juncture, a company that identifies, analyses and works on its customer data, always has an upper hand. A CRM software solution provides exactly that kind of data which is useful at this time.

    The SMB sector needs a boost to compete with larger players, something only sustaining relationships with customers and lowering costs of running their business will provide. CRM vendors need to develop solutions, modules and applications in line with the objectives of these firms.

    CRM vendors that understand the pulse of the industry in these testing times are likely to make new breakthroughs in the market. SMBs should be weary of vendors with a 'one-size-fits-all' way of implementing their solution. Every business has a unique set of requirements and strategies which should be carefully incorporated in the CRM implementation to ensure flexibility for future growth and higher revenues.