When a small business owner starts to think seriously about customer relationship management (CRM), it’s a measurement of both the past and the future. From the past, it marks a certain level of success — the business has reached a point where you can’t keep track of all your leads, prospects, and clients with just a spreadsheet. For the future, investing in a quality CRM tool prepares the way for more rapid growth and is a forecast of where you expect your company to go.
That fact that CRM is an important investment is beyond debate. What’s less clear are the specific benefits of it — what exactly does your SMB stand to gain from a software solution designed to facilitate customer interactions? The details will be somewhat different for a professional services company, a wholesale distribution outlet, or a light manufacturing business. But across all industries, there are a number of consistent benefits.
- Helps your business grow – Instead of being limited to how much information you can track manually, the software handles the basics and frees you up to do more important things.
- Organizes your data – Well-managed customer information helps you understand where each person is at, so you know how to best help them.
- Keeps your team on the same page – Centralized information makes it possible for all your staff to provide the best help for each customer.
- Makes sure no one looks stupid – When the whole team can review the past interactions, each client will feel like you’re attentive to their personal interests.
- Lets you stay in touch – Effective contact happens at exactly the right moment in exactly the right way. Your CRM tool can help you recognize what that is.
- Nurtures your leads – A consistent pattern of this helpful contact makes it easier for shoppers to become buyers.
- Segments your contacts – As you connect with more people interested in your products or services, you’ll see patterns and be able to group them for more efficient communication.
- Automates your communication – A quality CRM tool can segment contacts on its own, based on responses, purchases, and other behaviors.
- Sends out specific information – Good CRM software can automatically reach out to customers with follow-up materials, usually based on trigger actions or time frames.
- Keeps your customers coming back – After people understand the value of your business offering, they become more willing to purchase from you. Your CRM data can help you identify which offers would be most helpful for which customers.
- Lets you access metrics – As your CRM system collects more data, you’ll be able to find more specific patterns to predict how you’ll be able to support your clients better.
- Helps you build good habits – With a strong information base, you’ll be able to identify and follow through with the actions that generate most value for you.
- Connects to other services – Integrating the CRM system to other tools you rely on can maximize the advantage they bring.
- Uses social data – Certain CRM packages are designed to be more proactive in gathering leads, such as combing through social media sites to locate potential customers.
No matter which CRM benefit is most appealing to you at this point, when your company is starting to climb, you need to seriously consider how to sustain growth. Having solid infrastructure in place — including a CRM tool — before a steep rise in customer demand is several times more effective than rushing to deploy one while you’re ascending that slope.
For optimal benefits with a CRM tool, integration with your accounting and ERP systems is ideal. aACE 5 offers this kind of fully integrated, customizable, cross-platform business management solution. It also provides mobile apps and smooth connections with eCommerce, shipping, and tax automation tools, to name a few. So whether you’re a business owner who feels like she is steering a ship in the dark or an executive who is frustrated because everyone is busy but nothing is getting done, aACE 5 has something to offer. Learn more today.
“Before, we weren’t able to present our new product highlights and alerts very well, due to an inability to update and process existing client mailing lists, which were often outdated and filled with holes. Now we can export mailing lists seamlessly every Monday with our aACE platform.” ~ Doug Jacobs, President, Restylers’ Choice