Role of CRM in Sales Management for Small Business

It is often thought that small businesses do not require CRM software to manage their daily operations. You may think this is justified, in part because deploying CRM tools, even for a small business, adds cost to the company, and also because CRM tools are assumed to unnecessarily complicate business processes. This may be true for a company with just 5-10 employees, who deal with only a small number of inbound enquiries and existing customer exchanges, however, in the long run, and every entrepreneur with a growing business will vouch for it, deploying an effective CRM software for sales process management will yield better value for the company than even your best performing sales personnel.

These days, regardless of the size of your business, CRM softwares on offer are aplenty. Depending on the rate at which you expect your business to grow, investing in the right CRM software can prove to be extremely profitable. They are customizable to meet your specific needs. To keep running costs at a minimum, there are some companies out there who offer CRM solutions on a month-to-month basis. Others offered on-cloud solutions, to save you the hassle and added the cost of maintaining an on-site IT team.

According to the recent study conducted by Bloomberg, most startups (About 80% of them) fail within the first 18 months, either due to lack of funding, or simply because they don’t scale up fast enough in comparison to the giants in their own domain. Given that you only have about a year and a half to develop your business and make it grow, there’s absolutely no room for a trial and error approach. This is where having the right small business CRM software can make a huge difference. Most businesses bomb because they fail to identify problems within their process soon enough, if at all. For small businesses, working without a well-defined sales process may seem like probing in the dark, with no clear direction to follow. For the sales associates, it can be rather difficult to navigate through the complex, ever-changing dynamics of a sales process using traditional tools. This could mean lost opportunities and a failed business.

For a small business, choosing the right CRM software can help you streamline your entire sales process. It can not only help you centralize your entire database with cross-platform integration and quality lead generation, but also offer insights for value-based prioritization, automated email responses, and targeted promotions for better customer engagement. It is every organisation’s goal to run their operations efficiently and in an error-free manner. A best CRM will flag off any inconsistencies that may crop up in your sales process. Early detection is crucial, the mantra being ‘fail fast, but learn quickly’, ensure that issues and grievances are addressed at the earliest. An effective CRM software helps keep everyone on the same page with real-time logs of every interaction that takes place between the customer and the company. The key to being a successful entrepreneur is to identify unique opportunities and leverage them before the competition gets a whiff of it. However, do keep in mind that the effectiveness of a small business CRM tool is only as good as the raw data that goes into it. This is where your employees come in. They need to be trained on how to leverage the right information from the CRM software by feeding into it current and relevant information. The quality of the data your CRM tool provides is directly proportionate to the quality of the query you feed into it. Your sales representatives need to be trained on how to get the best out of your CRM tool. Most markets can be seen as an ongoing conversation, and if you are not a part of the dialogue, chances are your potential business is headed elsewhere. 

Make it a mandate for every sales representative to use the CRM tool, and to log every conversation diligently, also to share their best practices. Reward those who are proficient at using the CRM software, have them train others to get the best out of your sales team. The sooner your agents are able to churn out actionable data from the CRM tool, the better are your chances of expansion and growth. Make sure your sales and marketing efforts are aligned properly. Budget carefully. Don’t over-estimate your growth, as it can prove detrimental. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Only take up the business that you can manage successfully, overloading your team with too much work can cause mediocrity to set in. Be aware of your infrastructure and what it can support. Make sure that your sales process metrics are regularly tracked. Know, at all times, how much you are investing per lead, per sales rep. This will give you a fair indication of when to intervene, and/or rearrange efforts and prioritize certain clients’ needs. Organize for a post-sales survey to determine the level of customer satisfaction throughout the entire sales process. Direct feedback is the most valuable asset you can have in a sales process. Make sure you continue doing what is working for you, and implement suggestions to improve your existing sales process. Customers love seeing their feedback being implemented. This could bring in referrals and help your business grow.

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