Customer relationship management systems can have immense benefits for small businesses, even where only a few staff are directly involved with the customers. Some small businesses don’t want to invest in in-house CRM systems, especially if it involves equipment upgrades and an increased in IT staff.
By their very nature, small businesses have limited staff and resources. CRM processes can help build your business by strengthening your customer relationships and bringing in new customers. Fortunately, software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers have made CRM systems affordable for small businesses by making CRM software available through cloud computing.
SaaS customer relationship management systems allow small business owners the tools to manage a wide variety of tasks with minimal investment. Today’s cloud-based SaaS CRM systems consolidate all sales and marketing information so that staff have everything they need for lead generation, nurturing leads and lead conversion all in one place. Cloud marketing software streamlines the process of collecting and understanding marketing data.
Off-premises customer relationship management systems are usually available on a subscription basis and can be implemented rapidly, unlike in-house systems which take more resources to implement.
Most small business CRM solutions are limited to contact management processes. Small business owners can compile and organize customer information, sales performance and other data. Recording customer communications, whether in an on-premise or SaaS model, can help small businesses retain clients and find new ones.
Increasingly, CRM small business solutions offer full scalability and integration with social media networking platforms. Small business staff and owners typically have more face-to-face, direct contact with their clientele, so the ability to input marketing data directly from social media platforms like Facebook can help small business owners make the most of social media to build customer relationships.
Synchronization with popular tools like Microsoft Outlook or Google Apps can help staff implement a sales and marketing strategy from within the CRM platform, where all necessary information is available from the user dashboard. Staff can have a full view of a client’s history and other information while emailing or chatting. A good customer relationship management system can help the entire staff collaborate to turn a sales lead into a good customer.
Popular cloud-based CRM systems come from developers such as LeadMaster, Salesforce.com, and SugarCRM. Newcomer Nimble is maximizing team sharing and social CRM capabilities. Products such as Sage ACT! 2012 are typically implemented by ACT certified consultants; the ACT 2012 database can be web-hosted, or it can be implemented on a desktop or office network to meet the needs of small businesses.
Every small business needs to maximize productivity to be most profitable. Using CRM to track prospects’ interests, customers’ buying history, and staff efforts will get you a long way towards achieving that goal.