What is CRM? And why should I use one?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer life-cycle. The goal is to enhance business relationships with customers and improve customer retention while driving sales growth. Most CRM solutions are designed to compile information on customers across different channels or points of contact between the customer and the company. Some of these points of contact are the company’s website, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. CRM solutions can also provide customer-facing staff with detailed information on customers’ personal information, preferences and concerns.

Adding a CRM

When adding a CRM to your business, there are some considerations that you may want to think about first to help make the decision easier.

  • What issues or problems do you want your CRM system to address; what improvements or changes should it bring in the business processes of the organisation.
  • Do you have executive sponsorship and top management support; have you thoroughly measured the impact on the organisation as a whole.
  • Will it empower team members with the required authority to complete the tasks that the CRM will manage?
  • How will it be implemented and what are the integration points to achieve the required results and benefits.

The Right CRM for Small Business

One should look for the system that provides a 360-degree view of the customer relationship and communications. Your team can keep track of upcoming appointments and shared documents, invoices and payments. It’s more than a CRM – it is a personal assistant for small business, facilitating client management and timely response anytime and automating scheduling and reminders.

After you’ve kicked the tires and looked under the hood, it’s time to adopt the CRM and integrate it into your business processes. One of the toughest challenges you may face is often not the installation of the software, but getting staff to use it. Include advocates and influencers in the program so they can help spread the word, build momentum and increase internal adoption of the CRM. Have team member’s play with the CRM and quickly they’ll realise that it’s a tool to leverage for success.