Small business management is a competitive yet rewarding landscape. Small business owners must adapt and stay up with the latest trends to keep the doors open.
With such an abundance of business technology available to help small businesses work more efficiently and become more productive, where do you start?
Relationships with your customers, partners, suppliers, employees sit at the heart of every business. So, it’s essential to find the best Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to help you manage them effectively.
There are hundreds of options with different feature sets, prices and interfaces. The search for the perfect match is often time consuming, especially while juggling all the other business-related tasks. But there’s a payoff at the end, an investment into a CRM can pay back up to \$8.71 on the dollar, according to Nucleus Research.
This guide will help small business owners simplify this decision process by breaking it down into three categories - what to ask, what to look for and what the benefits are.
There’s far too much CRM-related content directed at small business owners that doesn’t consider realistic needs and goals. There’s a huge range of small business owners out there - a small marketing agency will have different needs to a local coffee house.
With this in mind, the first question to answer to determine the best CRM for small businesses is, when should you invest in one? According to Capterra, 65% of businesses adopt CRM software within the first five years. However, you might need to invest sooner or later depending on your situation.
Here are a few things to help you decide:
Budget & time - Small business owners must protect their budget by making savvy financial decisions. Smart time management decisions must be made to optimize the workweek. The timing isn’t right for a CRM if you don’t have the money to spend or you won’t have time to set everything up, let alone use the software on a daily basis. With that said, if you’re spending time on manual tasks that can be automated with a CRM tool - you’ll get immediate benefits by adopting software.
Dunbar’s number and growth - British anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorized that humans have a limit on the amount of stable social relationships they can maintain, which ranges between 100 and 250. The average, 150, is typically used as a guideline for calculating the amount of possible relationships. This number can help you prepare for growth. If you expect the number of customers or social responsibilities to go beyond this number in the near future, invest in a CRM so you’re not playing catch up when the time comes.
Small business owners have enough to tackle without worrying about complicated CRM features or prolonged on-boarding processes. When shopping for a CRM, prioritize features and operating systems that are easy to use. Simple feature sets can still be powerful when it comes to boosting sales, improving customer management and making sure you get ROI on the investment. Here are a few examples of simple yet effective features.
An intuitive user interface makes it easy to get things done quickly. Simple features like drag and drop speed up the process of updating your sales pipeline and keeping it accurate.
Most small business owners have to manage tasks on the move. CRM platforms with a mobile app or mobile friendly operation pay dividends. The Capsule CRM has a custom mobile app with caller id, automatic call logging and it reminds you to make notes when your call ends.
Another simple feature to benefit from immediately is a calendar. Finding one that integrates easily with your main calendar will make it easy to keep on top of tasks and deadlines.
Time management is one of the most important aspects of running a business. A certain amount of stress is inevitable, but if you’re able to save minutes or hours by avoiding tedious or repetitive tasks, life becomes easier. A CRM tool can provide certain automation features that allow you to set up automatic events when customers or employees perform a specific action. Two Capsule CRM features drive home the potential of automation:
Tracks: A track is a simple sequence of tasks to help you create smart workflows. It allows you to follow the same process each time a given action occurs. You can set up a track for when you welcome a new customer or run an event. This ensures you’re providing a consistent customer service experience while empowering your staff to operate autonomously and efficiently.
Integrations: The Capsule CRM connects with hundreds of different third-party software apps such as POS systems, invoicing, inventory and more. Make use of your current systems by linking them up instead of overhauling processes.
The ultimate power of a CRM tool is the ability to facilitate growth and help you scale. This isn’t a necessity or goal for all small business owners, which is one reason there is so much misinformation. Business owners with the goal of opening a second location or increasing revenue, hours and staff should research how specific CRMs are designed for that. Here are a few use cases.
Growth is impossible without the proper management of customers, leads and business partners. This requires a great deal of detail such as contact information, last time contacted, contact history and source origination. The contact management features automatically collect this information and present it with one-click. Without a CRM, time is spent searching though emails or phone records.
One pain point that prevents growth is possible revenue opportunities being lost or forgotten. With a pipeline view, you get to see exactly where your future revenue is sitting. Plus it’s easy to identify the daily and weekly tasks needed to nurture each sale opportunity to a win.
Another growth factor is the ability to hire and manage a productive team. The team management features allow you to assign roles, review activity and allows team members to provide meaningful contributions to the business.
Another simple feature of a CRM is that all your customer information is in one place, so it’s much easier for people to step in when members of the team take leave or move on. When you have all your data and processes in order, it gives your business an edge when it comes to recruiting as everything feels under control.
The best CRMs for small businesses will do more than just improve sales. As the features mentioned above have eluded to, it can have a positive impact on customer service, marketing, business intelligence and more.
You’ll be able to deliver quality, consistent and accurate communications to your customers. Marketing efforts will be improved with more data on when to send emails. You can also segment customers easily so content is tailored to their specific needs. The ability to see weekly, monthly or quarterly sales reports improves decision making and gives your team insight into why decisions are being made.
If you’re shopping for a small business CRM, take your time and research the features you need. Think critically about whether you really need such a tool, then look for something that is familiar, easy to use and works with your current set of business tools. When you’re ready to optimize the various features and ensure ROI, check the Capsule CRM blog for more useful insights.