CRM for small business – what should we look for?

First of all, it is worth to define the difference between microbusiness and small business. According to formal guidelines, microbusiness is an enterprise which brings more than 2 million euro in revenue in a year, while having less than 10 employees in this period of time. On the other hand, small business is described as an entity, which creates under 50 jobs in two years’ time and it’s revenues don’t exceed over 10 million euro in this period of time. In those definitions revenue includes both assets and liabilities.

The role of micro and small businesses in progress of polish economy is crucial. Thanks to those companies which emerged after the transformation in 1989, our market had the chance for faster stabilisation and growth. These enterprises:

  • progress dynamically, swiftly react to consumer needs and adapt to new conditions
  • have key input in creating new jobs because of the lower cost of worksites, functional space and so on
  • can develop in every economy branch thanks to its ability to fast adaptation to market changes

Of course, for smaller companies to use all of their growth potential, they need to implement certain solutions on the management level, especially in respect of communication. This is why it is worth considering using professional CRM system dedicated to smaller businesses. Implementation expenses can be really low, especially considering the profits – both in short and long term processes.

How to look for a perfect CRM system?

First step to finding best suited CMR system for small company has to be a detailed analysis of its needs and functioning. In this matter a few thing should be taken into account:

  • nature of business: mercantile, tertiary, or mixed
  • predominant way of communication, type of service, character of those relations (long or short term, though the second ones seem to occur rarely now). The success of CRM systems in based on the importance of contacts with both key and occasional clients.
  • the amount of clients and external entities co-operating with the company
  • the way and character of transactions’ settlements, as well as the method of gathering data about the sales processes
  • the way of customer data base functioning (is it centralised, or individually created for every employee – it is generally tied to the company’s character and culture)

Afterwards, basing on the gathered information we can come to some conclusions which will help to choose best fitted CRM for our company. Specify the objectives – which features are the most important for you? Improvement of your communication with clients, data base conduction (with division between key and average receivers of your services or products), or analysis of your sales scores and possibility of modifying your strategy? CRM system can help in implementing essential changes in all of these segments, but you should still determine in what degree you company needs it. Data accumulation alone is not enough – regular actualisations and analysis are necessary, and these processes are often neglected. This is why finding the best CRM platform is a key matter, not only in big corporations.

Based on preliminary setting of the aforementioned aspects, we can determine our objectives in the changes we would like to enforce through CRM system. This tool will organize your data bases, it will also enable centralisation of the company and improve outside and inside communication. You might find automatically generated reports very useful – they give you feedback about the state of company and sales achievements. The division between your clients – between those who deliver the biggest profits and those who strategically won’t contribute to the growth of your company – is also a significant constituent od CRM system. As a result of regular actualisation and reporting, management of your resources will become almost effortless – both considering current matters and those which will occur in the nearest future.

What are the most valuable qualities of good CRM?

The crucial quality of CRM systems is their modular structure. This segmentation guarantees lucidity and intuitiveness in handling. For a small company the best choice is a small and simple CRM, equipped in key functions. Mobile, online versions are easier to adapt and their cost is much lower than prices of dedicated ones. Configuration is not required and most of the modules can be synchronised with another online tools. This solution is worth considering as a SaaS model (treated as mobile service). Access in this case is incredibly simple and the CRM can be accessed from many different devices. The most valuable qualities of the system are:

  • construction of professional and regularly updated data base
  • possibility to monitor all of the communication with your clients through documentation of every individual relation. Access to the history of transactions is indispensable – it enables control over present relations and those that will be acquired. In a small company overview of every contact with customers is valuable and it has huge impact on the sales level.
  • streamlining communication with customers and automatization of data input (for example thanks to the function of coordination with social media
  • possibility to group the clients depending on their importance based on the analysis of executed transactions, their worth and frequency. CRM should also allow to create subgroups with specific filters
  • coordination of employees’ activity – improvement of communication channels within the company. It is worth noticing, that in case of small business task assignation and specialisation are essential. Thanks to CRM platform you can divide the assignments faster and add them to shared calendar (synchronised with Google Calendar)
  • reporting based on the gathered data and obtaining feedback, that will help in formulating growth strategy for the future

Within aforementioned functions the most important one is the possibility of gathering and analysing every occurrence in relationship with clients. Intuitive handling will give you an easy access to specific information, and also to automatically generated periodic reports. To your contacts with customers you can not only add executed transactions, but also introductory talks, teleconferences, presentation meetings and email communication. Adequate filters will enable you grouping using specific type of contact, chosen employee and his actions, or clients you are interested in.

What else can CRM change in a small business?

CRM system can also give you the important ability to differentiate data access in relation to the position occupied in company’s structure. It can be also applied to adding and editing data. Depending on the approach level, every employee can use whole or partial information base and influence data modification differently. Usually it is management that has access to the most complexed and expanded base, but specifics of small companies often come with less hierarchized structure. In this case CRM is a great way to improve team work. In micro companies cooperation with outside institutions is often crucial. Implementation of coordinated tasks within CRM system will simplify their fulfilment in groups. Especially when the periodic reports make even the smallest, developing business look as a more reliable partner – regardless of the specialisation in sales or product.

CRM and the development of small business

Of course, one cannot assume that right after implementation of CRM the sales and number of clients will rapidly rise and the communication in the company will be impeccable. It is a tool, which has to be used skilfully , not a remedy for every problem. It is important that the system offers the possibility of synchronisation with instruments of online marketing, like email, social media and outside data bases. There are some imperative elements which influence optimal functioning of company, like access to information and more than just a few communication channels

Implementation of CRM platform is the most effective in the first stage of company’s development, because it will allow your employees to get to know all of its functions from the beginning. Besides you will have all your important data stored and organized from the very start. Intuitive access to all kinds of information is a key factor in developing strong position on the small business market.

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