Why SMEs should care about CRM (Tips for online marketing success)

Published November 25, 2015

When you’re setting up a new business, your initial investment needs to go a long way – logo, branding, website, stock, and plenty of other considerations.  Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often sacrifice installing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for other priorities, but this is one of the biggest mistakes they can make.   Why SMEs should care about CRM and tips for online marketing success is addressed by mad4digital non-executive director Donavan Whyte who reflects on some of the objections he has encountered in his 20 year career and offers a different perspective for SMEs.

The Prevailing CRM Myths

Money: “We just don’t have the investment right now”

Ten years ago that may have been a good excuse, but not now! There are a host of excellent, free CRM systems that will give you the ability to manage hundreds of accounts with full, searchable functionality. At mad4digital, we use www.hubspot.com  It is an inbound marketing platform that allows you to manage your customer base and attract new business. The basic service is free and there are paid services for more facilities. The CRM system connects your business to all the places where the modern sales process takes place, including your website and social media. I am sure there are other services/platforms that are just as good – the secret is to do your research and make sure the system you choose meets your requirements.

Size: “We only have a few customers, no need”

The first customers a business acquires are often the most important as you strive to get great references and maintain their loyalty as a springboard to obtaining more clients.
A CRM system will allow you to introduce best practice – it will ensure you have the right information that is easily accessible within seconds. You’ll be surprised how much information you can obtain from a small number of clients, and there are times when this information needs to be accessed instantly, for example when a client calls unexpectedly and you need to remember information you have already discussed or figures relating to a proposal.

Resources: “We don’t have the time or people to manage it”
The value and benefit you can derive from having an accurate and functional CRM system far outweighs the small amount of extra time it takes to introduce best practice. A CRM system will allow your business to better understand a client’s behavior and capitalise on improved client relationship. The more relevant information you have on your customers, the more value you can deliver and the more responsive you can be. Find the time!

4 Critical Considerations to Get You Started

Metrics to Drive Growth
Good quality data on your prospects and customers can tell you so much about your business. Knowing where most of your customers are sourced from, the length of your sales cycle, why you’re losing sales, the demographic of you customer base – all this information will help you plan and align your strategy accordingly . It will reassure investors that you understand your business, and more importantly, highlight risk to the business so you can respond quickly and effectively. Keeping accurate, updated metrics from day one will reinforce best practice across the business as it grows. More importantly, CRM metrics are one of many important barometers for business health.

Improve your competitive position
Delivering exceptional customer service is a marketing strategy that is difficult for competitors to match. With the internet and smart online marketing techniques empowering buyers decisions, turning your customers into fans starts with good service. In short for SMEs thinking about CRM don’t assume it is just for supporting the sales cycle – a CRM system can also help with your marketing efforts.

Searchable Repository

Find a free application/repository to host all client, and prospective client information, such as, name, contact details, dates of introduction, proposals, source of introduction, contact dates and reminders for follow-ups. Obviously, you should keep brief notes as a matter of reference, as it’s unlikely you’ll remember everything as your customer base increases.

Seamless Communication
When you receive a phone call from a prospect you spoke to several months ago, and you’re in the middle of something else, being able to search and find the details of that conversation quickly could be the difference between making a sale and losing a sale. CRM best practice is fundamental to not only providing the best customer support but also reducing various risks for example maintaining business continuity when staff leave or preparing your business for investment.

Reduced Growing Pains
Hopefully there will come a time when you invest in a CRM system, and you’ll be surprised how much data you’ve collected in such a short amount of time. You’ll likely have that data stored on a number of computers/PC’s, servers, and/or the cloud. The task to move all of the data to your new CRM system securely will be made that much easier if the data is in a format that can be easily uploaded to the new system without losing important customer information.

m4d tipBe the Early Bird
Your customers are your most important external assets and a CRM strategy will ensure you protect and increase their potential value. A CRM platform will allow you to introduce best practice and keep accurate and relevant information easily accessible. There are some great free CRM software platforms available, and once you have more revenue, you’ll be able to pay for more sophisticated functionality. Do it now to save the hassle of doing it later.

Ready to grow your business and get that competitive edge? Get started by building an online marketing plan that fits your budgets and puts your customers first.