As a small business owner, what is your most valuable asset? Certainly, your business will rely on some critical factors that are instrumental in its long-term success, from your facilities and location to your employees and their capabilities. However, one asset, in particular, has the ability to make or break your business all on its own: your customers. Without a happy, healthy and growing customer base, your business can’t succeed. So what steps can you take to safeguard this valuable business asset?
The easiest and most effective way to adequately protect and nurture your customer base is through the use of a client relationship management system, also known as a CRM system. Maintaining strong communication with your clients and potential leads is a crucial part of promoting an ongoing business relationship. Many small businesses think that they can manufacture an effective ad hoc solution through spreadsheets and business cards, but these methods fall woefully short as your customer base grows and you run the risk of letting customers slip through the cracks.
Small businesses across industries can realize the value of a CRM systems in four key ways.
1. Every potential lead and current customer can be organized and targeted.
In a CRM system, every possible lead, as well as each existing customer, can be entered and tagged for easy reference by anyone within your company. This organized system is critical not only for effective marketing campaigns aimed prospective buyers but also for customer retention drives directed at keeping your current clients satisfied. Besides being a lot simpler than multiple spreadsheets and scattered business cards, a CRM system allows for streamlined collaboration among your employees for tracking leads and customers.
2. All customer interactions across your business can be easily monitored.
Too often, companies that don’t utilize a CRM find that their employees are speaking with the same client without having any idea about their colleague’s interaction. This scattered approach to client communication can lead to clients who feel unimportant and ignored. Because a CRM allows all employees to see the details of other conversations that have been had with a particular client, nurturing long-term client relationships is easier.
3. You can easily spot opportunities.
Within your company’s long list of prospects are many leads which you have not yet sold to. If you are able to track these potential leads and effectively target them with an ongoing marketing plan, these leads have a much greater possibility of becoming a new customer. A CRM allows you to easily target email marketing and other techniques at these leads, presenting your business will more significant opportunities for creating new customers.
4. Your customer data is protected from changes in your workforce.
If one person is responsible for maintaining your spreadsheets of customer contacts, what will you do when they change jobs? Having a current pipeline and contact information that isn’t reliant on any one employee is critical to ensuring stability for your customers despite changes in your workforce. Because a CRM system is accessible and updated by everyone, no one employee will become the linchpin for customer communication.
In short, a CRM system is not a nice alternative to the spreadsheets and business cards you would otherwise rely upon; a proper CRM system is absolutely necessary for safeguarding your business’ critical customers and valuable leads.