If you’ve been in business in a while, you may already know that there is no adage truer than “the customer is king”. Moreover, business data is key during decision making. Poor business relationships with clients are a major driver in low customer retention and ultimately low sales.
To improve on business relationships, whether for a local or global market, startup businesses need to employ long term strategies, technologies and practices that manage client interactions from the onset. This is in regards to clients’ data and interactions with the organization, collected from all available points of contact. These channels include phone calls, organizational web pages, direct-mail, social-media and so on. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system allows your business to collect and organize data more appropriately.
Below is a list of reasons why any startup business should consider using a CRM:
1. Compilation of Data.
With a myriad of channels available for day to day interactions with clients, customer data may be scattered. A CRM system ensures that you stay on top of the situation by compiling related data. This makes it easier for your customer-facing employees in any given interaction, in regards to a client’s preferences, past concerns and personal data. It is, however, important that the system also stores data chronologically to avoid chances of using old data that is no longer applicable such as change of address or contact person.
2. Reduction of Redundant Data.
Without the proper systems for sorting and storing data, chances are that there will be a lot of redundant data. A CRM system helps keep collated records on clients. This curbs duplication of data pertaining to the same client. It also saves time when tracing a client’s details.
3. Identify Trends.
In business, it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive. CRM platforms that support a reporting dashboard are a great resource in noting key performance indicators. Also, there has been a huge surge in the use of ecommerce platforms lately. CRM integration is not always easy, which has prompted many to go for prebuilt integrators such as the Magento 2 ERP integration from Celigo.
Using dashboard metrics, appointed officers within your organization would be able to identify opportunities likely to come up in the near future. This would allow you time to align the business to take advantage of these opportunities. Trends likely to reverse growth can also be identified long before gaining a foothold.
4. Customized Responses and Experiences.
With a customer’s preferences known in advance, a business can create tailor-made products and services for its clients. This makes your customers feel that they are important to your business, fostering long-term relationships and repeat business. Startups and smaller organizations are at an advantage as with a smaller client list these customized products are easier to achieve than with large organizations with millions of clients. However, any business, regardless of size, should strive to learn their client’s needs.
5. Record Prospect Progress.
Nothing would be more expensive for any business than trying to regain lost business or opportunities. It has been said that it cost five times as much to attract new business than to retain those you already have on as clients. With many interactions with prospects going on every day, it is important to have constant records of negotiation progress. In case there are changes within the organization, such as staff turnover, it becomes easier for new staff to catch up on the progress. This makes the transition of responsibility from one staff member to another appear seamless.
To avoid prospects feeling pestered, CRM systems also keep track of salesmen interactions. This prevents having duplicate efforts being put in place on the same client.
6. Enhanced Collaboration.
CRM systems have tools that allow staff members to have an enhanced collaborative effort towards clients. Employees can share insights, documents and any other information pertaining to a client or lead. Some even have facilities for third-party affiliates. This means that you can avail or share all client data with entities such as suppliers when necessary.
7. Keeping to Schedule.
Keeping track of upcoming events is an important part of CRM systems. A good CRM will support a calendar functionality which lets you pencil in important events and tasks. The implication is that you do not miss out on important events related to prospects or clients, from business calls to meetings and appointments.
8. Retaining Business Data.
It cannot be emphasized enough how important business data is. Not only do you use it for decision making, but also for setting future goals and agendas. Files stored in an office are susceptible to many dangers such as theft, fire and floods. Advanced CRM systems allow organizations to back up business data to the cloud (remote servers). In any eventuality, your organization does not stand to lose any data.
Cloud storage serves an added advantage in that data can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This, too, holds especially true for web based CRM systems.
9. Staff Motivation.
Some CRM systems have leader boards that even display targets. This is a great motivation tool for employees, such as the sales team, as it promotes competition. Competition breeds increased sales and profits. On the other hand, employees due for retraining or pairing up with stronger sales people would be easy to identify.
10. Proper Organization of Leads and Customers.
Not all leads turn out to be clients, nor are all customers given the same priority. A CRM allows an organization to classify each lead or customer appropriately. Guided by the customer retention programs, you would be able to classify your customers and give them attention accordingly. Risky customers cannot be treated the same as non-risk or new customers. Prospects, too, can be grouped differently to separate promising leads from those where no contact has been initiated.
All in all, any startup business should aim to have proper client records long before they have a long list of clients. Not only does it provide an intimate experience for your clients, but it keeps you organized. Foregoing the hassle of remembering the who, where, and when, your employees can focus and zero in on key issues affecting sales and profit margins. As your customer base grows, it is important to cultivate a culture of putting your customers first. With customers being at the core of your business, it becomes easier to restructure your goals, strategies and production in line with your clients’ needs. One way of achieving this is by investing in a Customer Relationship Management System.