Hands up who needs CRM?

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I have worked with hundreds of SMB companies in my career and am the owner of one myself. As companies expand and grow at a rapid pace, I’ve noticed businesses go through a number of phases of growing pains. Most of these can be overcome by early investment and adoption of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. I have highlighted below the common benefits CRM brings SME’s during different stages of their growth.

Make better decisions

Are you using a spreadsheet for management of client contacts, or other important reporting needs? These days, data is in abundance – the challenge is using it to make informed decisions. Data can be used to improve future growth and customer insight, not just to check up on the current state of business health. If your team have access to meaningful data they’ll be able to make important decisions regarding account management and appropriate next actions. CRM systems can do all this, and more. Some intelligent systems have inbuilt reporting functions. This means that you’ll be getting structured insights helping to improve individual and team performance., as well as the knowledge you need to target and segment customers and increase profitability.

Ensure collaboration

Mature companies are considering how to ensure better collaboration. Recent surveys have discovered younger generations are more naturally driven to collaborate than some of their older peers. My 12-year-old son is often in contact with his friends virtually; technology used from a young age is encouraging collaboration. Without effective technology, collaboration can be more challenging, especially when colleagues are working from home or remotely. Until recently I worked and lived in the French Alps and was able to collaborate with colleagues in the UK. , perhaps life working in the Caribbean closer than we think. Cloud technologies allow colleagues to work together as virtual teams, in real-time making the organisation more effective in serving customer needs in a timely manner.

Keep business processes consistent

One of the common challenges in recruiting new staff is ensuring existing processes and best practice are maintained. How do you ensure new team members are following the processes as intended and are as productive as you’d like them? The best piece of business advice I’ve ever received is this: ‘to have a successful business you simply need to do what others are already doing and do it better’. A great CRM will ensure your carefully engineered processes are safeguarded when you make additions to your team. A great CRM will allow you to monitor progress at each stage of every process to ensure new team members follow every step of all the processes you have put in place.

Coordinate your resources

Customers, customer insights, team and brand. These are all incredible resources that every business has at its disposal. The better you leverage your resources, the quicker your business will grow. As a business owner, you need to be effective with delegation of tasks and responsibility. But, you also need the ability to monitor everything that goes on and ensure quality from each of your team. Company resources are scarce and the value you extract from them depends on your ability to use them most effectively. In the services sector, for example, time is of the essence; once the time has passed, resource value can no longer be extracted. Investments in CRM are very commonly driven by the desire to extract the most value from existing resources before restarting the recruitment engine, an activity that often causes a drain on time and cash resources.

Become customer centric

As organisations mature, there is commonly a more inward focus. Processes tend to evolve over time and their initial purpose is often forgotten. Departments become siloes, even sales and marketing teams become strangers. Joined up CRM systems create more customer centric processes as well as a common data model to ensure effective IT systems talk to each other for consistent insights into your customers. In my experience, putting the customer at the heart of your CRM investments will ensure you reap the most benefits to be gained from investing in CRM.

We welcome your feedback on common challenges you have had in growing your business. If you’re looking for greater insights into your customers or would like to refocus your resources contact Cloud 9, the CRM experts, to see what we can do for you.