What is CRM?

 

What is CRMIt might sound like I’m stating the obvious here but the relationship between you and your customers will make or break your business.

Good relationships will help your sales or services fly – and see your profits soar. But fail to provide a positive link and things could take a nosedive.

That’s where three little letters can help – CRM.

I know, the internet’s full of these initialisms – CMS, SEO, SCM … the list is endless. But CRM, should be the most important to you.

It stands for Customer Relationship Management – and your relationship with customers is the key to your success.

You may not realise it, but if you run a small business then you’ll be running your own CRM system of sorts. That little database, notebook or filing cabinet with contact details will be etched with little extra biro notes on clients’ particular likes and dislikes, post-it notes stuck here and there with specific requests or names of the best person to speak to.

That system might be manageable right now, but if you grow your business (and let’s face it who doesn’t aim to?) you’ll not be able keep up. If you have 50 or fewer regular customers then you can probably stay with your existing system, but build up your business and will you be able to cope with 500 clients, 5,000 or even 50,000? I think not.

And, can anyone who needs to gain access your computer database do so easily – or is it just you? Does everyone have a key to the filing cabinet? Do they return files to the correct position – if at all?

There are lots of different types of CRM systems depending on what you need or want and each of them can be tailored to fit.

Want to Learn More?
Click Here to Get the 5 Steps To Creating a Successful Email Marketing System to Generate Consistent Leads and Sales.

They aren’t just a database, they do far more than that. They can sort out your clients onto different lists depending on their requirements or preferences and send out automated emails to offer products or services they may be interested in. This way your customer knows what else they can buy without having to waste time looking elsewhere – and your company name stays fresh in their minds.

But it’s not just for the benefit of customers – you see an effective CRM will have all the information needed on one system which can be readily accessed by whoever in your company needs it. Different departments can instantly access data at the click of a keyboard (be it sales, servicing, dispatch, marketing, customer development or delivery) so they can efficiently deal with an order or act upon a query. It will also show management how many customers the business has; what is working and not working; show business trends and allow them to plan for a profitable future.

It works in collaboration with marketing automation systems – almost like an umbrella covering all departments. Marketing automation will nurture your customers and expand the number of services or products they will be interesting in buying – but CRM will allow customers to get a better response when they communicate with you.

What’s more, if one of your reps leaves the business, the customer’s information stays with the business, not locked in the former rep’s briefcase or laptop, so you don’t lose any clients and a new recruit can just pick up and run with the information already there.

So, if you want to build a positive reputation and keep an intimate relationship with an ever-expanding client database who come back with that all-important repeat trade then CRM systems are the way to go.

Want to Learn More?
Click Here to Get the 5 Steps To Creating a Successful Email Marketing System to Generate Consistent Leads and Sales.

  1. Katherine on August 4, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I use Aweber for my e-mail list but this isn’t really a CRM I don’t think. I’m trialling ZOHO CRM at the moment and it’s pretty good. Although I will have to start paying for a subscription soon. What’s the best free (or low cost) CRM system that you can recommend? thanks!

    • Jason Kruger on August 5, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Hi Katherine

      I have tested a few over the last few months. The ones that I like at the moments are Capsule CRM, Insightly and Hubspot CRM. They are either free or very low cost. It will also depend exactly which features you are looking for.

      Hope this helps.

      Jason

  2. James on August 5, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Nice article! I believe that CRM solution has a fascinating future and shall not be reduced to salesforce autimatization. In case the system has detailed database and nice functionality, you can even analyze and forecast your customers’ needs. I started freelance business not long ago and refused using paid solutions. For those in the same state I’d recommend OnlyOffice, Zoho or Insightly, their nicely cover small business.

Leave a Comment