Your business is growing. New clients are pouring in, and referrals and sales alike are on the upswing. But are you effectively communicating with customers and prospects? Or are you leaving money on the table?
Business owners learn early on that success hinges on managing the demands of operating a small business while developing an effective and efficient strategy for dealing with communication via phone, the Internet, and email. For example, the average office worker spends two-and-a-half hours writing emails every day, according to
Taming email with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
Small businesses are increasingly turning to customer relationship management systems to provide effective email management. With a CRM system:-
- you can set reminders for emails,
- follow-up activities such as phone calls,
- automate emails,
- develop marketing campaigns, and more.
- Many systems can cue you on when to send an email or can be set to send an email automatically based on predefined parameters.
Not only are you able to keep up with emails, you can also keep up with opportunities in your sales pipeline. And while your sales force is on the road, they can easily document prospects and record profile information in the same CRM system—so it’s easy to segment your prospects based on specific parameters. This is particularly important when developing targeted marketing campaigns, since you might not want to send an offer intended for one group to another client in a different demographic.
Are you leaving money on the table?
“If you’re a business that sends out opportunities or identifies opportunities, and you have a few people who do some aspect of sales, you can track the total value of the opportunity pipeline with a CRM system,” said Anthony Smith, founder of Insightly, a CRM system specifically designed for small businesses. “What you want to look for in a CRM system is one that gives you some great metrics and reporting as you work through the sales pipeline. You want to be able to track communication with your prospects and see where some of your opportunities might drop off. You want to be proactive in communicating with prospects about products and services, and about the value you add to their business.”
Effective communication helps keep you from leaving money on the table. With a CRM system, maintaining that communication and strengthening client relationships is easy even when a staff member is replaced. The new team member can pick up where their predecessor left off and connect with existing contacts without losing any company information. This reduces “catch-up” time and helps ensure your customer service commitments are honored in a timely manner.
When should you move to a CRM system?
Small businesses of all kinds are taking advantage of the opportunities to grow their business using a CRM system. It’s time to stop leaving money on the table and find a system that spans the entire processes, from lead development right on through to project execution, while enabling process management in one, easy-to-use application.
According to this New York Times article, more small companies than ever before are making the move from managing customer relationships with spreadsheets and email to dedicated CRM solutions. If you have 10, 50 or more customers and find you’re outgrowing your spreadsheet, a CRM system can help you stay organized. A CRM system will give you a centralized place for communication, customer management and detailed project updates. Making efficient and effective customer relationship management a priority will help you capture clients—and opportunities—before they slip through the cracks.
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