Why CRM is important for small businesses

With its huge range of features, data storage capabilities and analytical tools, CRMs can be a powerful addition to a business’s infrastructure. However, the high monthly cost of some softwares can make some small business owners wary of investing in this technology. This article will explain why small businesses should consider CRMs.

Published June 20, 2022
Last updated June 28, 2022

What are CRM systems?  

Customer relationship management (CRM) softwares and tools, like the businesses that use them, come in a range of shapes and sizes. Defined as technologies that can help companies track, analyse and improve their relationships with customers, they offer a huge range of capabilities to businesses. 

Selecting a CRM system with features that meet a business’s specific needs is key to ensuring the technology will add real value. However, there are a few key tools that CRMs offer, including: 

  • Contact management: rather than using separate spreadsheets, the personal details of all contacts can be stored within a central CRM database. This doesn’t just help improve data compliance and security, but enables businesses to collect even more in-depth information. Preferences, previous interactions, and purchase history can all be automatically tracked and stored in one place as a single source of truth. 

  • Lead generation and nurturing: from finding high quality leads to helping teams nurture them down the pipeline, CRMs can help with it all. Lead scoring and internal communications tools also make it easier for marketing teams to qualify and pass on prospects to sales for a follow-up. 

  • Marketing automation: creating forms, scheduling emails and tracking social media campaigns can all be done from a single platform. Plus, app integrations and mobile versions of CRM software mean teams can manage their full customer workflow from anywhere through a single tool. 

  • Sales monitoring: knowing where customers are in the pipeline and what needs to be done to get them closer to conversion is a full-time job in itself. CRMs take this tracking off their hands so the sales team can quickly and easily access this information to focus on what they do best – selling. 

  • Analytics and reports: whether teams want to understand where sticking points are in their pipeline or get a quarterly view over their conversion performance, CRMs are a single database that enables businesses to track and pull this data easily. This empowers greater data-based decision making and helps teams to continuously enhance their efficiency. 

What benefits can CRM systems bring?  

As a small business, you might not need all of the capabilities that the biggest CRM softwares can offer. However, integrating a tool with helpful features into your business can bring real benefits to your customers and teams. 

With the return on investment of integrating CRM systems estimated to be up to eight times, these benefits aren’t just significant, but can be tracked and measured to present to your team and gain their buy-in more easily. 

Increased productivity

Rather than spending huge amounts of time carrying out basic tasks such as data updates or email sending, CRMs automatically perform these jobs, freeing up more time for teams to add value or improve their operations. Particularly for sales teams, the lead nurturing, scoring and pipeline optimisation tools help to improve their productivity, with employees experiencing a 15% increase in their performance on average. 

Better communication 

No matter how small your team is, passing on important information about customers can be stalled or lost as your teams get lost in day-to-day tasks. CRMs track and store important data about interactions, purchases and preferences automatically, and makes this data easily accessible to all team members. Plus, automatic alerts and reminders can be set through workflow management tools and internal communications can take place within a single system, making information transfer quicker and more seamless. 

Scalable technology

Many CRM providers have products that will scale with your business. Starting with basic tools and adding new features as and when you need them means you don’t need to make a huge investment straight away and only pay for the capabilities you need. Plus, with analytics and reports freely available, you can understand exactly what advantages the tools are bringing to your business and use objective data to gain buy-in from the rest of your team. 

Easier service optimisation

Whether you’re not sure about what the exact stages of your customer journey are or keep investing time and money on improvements that don’t work, having in-depth tracking and analytics over your pipeline means you can make data-based decisions on how to optimise your customer service. This doesn’t just make service better for prospects and customers, but means your teams don’t waste their efforts and budget on changes that won’t add value. 

Improved CX

With 75% of customers saying they’ll spend more on products from companies that offer good CX (customer experience), improving this has become a priority for many businesses. Indeed, for small businesses, offering a seamless CX will set them apart from their competitors and make customers more likely to return to make purchases in the future. With long-term tracking and scalability, CRMs make improving CX easier and more effective. 

Why is this important for small businesses?  

In the world of business today, giving customers the most innovative or highest quality products is no longer enough. Increasing customer demands and greater competition over consumers’ spending means small businesses need to offer a positive service experience to stay in the game. 

 65% of customers value a positive service experience more than any advertising, meaning this should be a high priority for small businesses that are looking to grow. In particular, the ability of CRMs to improve productivity means small teams can really benefit from their implementation. By taking basic tasks off the hands of employees and giving them the tools they need to continuously improve and add value to customers’ experiences, CRMs with the right features can help small businesses scale, be more resilient and improve their bottom line. 

How to find a CRM system for your business

When choosing a CRM system for a small business, understanding the features you need is key. Indeed, understanding the challenges you face and what capabilities you need to fix these should be the first step of any CRM purchase. 

By talking to your team, you will quickly get an overview of the difficulties they’re coming up against and what tools could help them smooth out customer experiences and improve their productivity. Once you have the list of features you need, it’s important to test out any CRM software within your team to make sure it can truly fix the problems they face and add value to your operations. 

Taking out a free trial is a great way to try out a software without making any commitment. So whether you’re looking to optimise your sales pipeline or streamline your customer service, try out Zendesk’s tools for free and discover  the benefits our  CRM can bring to your business.