In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the one size fits all approach to CRM is becoming outdated, much like the fax machine and cash register. This is especially true for small businesses who face increasing pressure to engage their customers in more sophisticated ways. In order to thrive in this highly competitive environment, small businesses must prioritize fast response times, effective content delivery, and the ability to map the customer’s journey across all touchpoints.
Traditional CRM systems are no longer sufficient to address the specialized needs of every industry. For example, a florist, REALTOR, orthodontist, and marijuana entrepreneur all have distinct requirements for managing and scaling a successful business in their respective markets. As a result, successful small businesses are turning to highly specialized CRM solutions that are tailored to the needs of their specific industry.
According to Kate Leggett, a principal analyst at Forrester, the purchasing trends for CRM solutions are undergoing a significant change. Companies are moving away from heavyweight, end-to-end CRM solutions that are complex, expensive, and difficult to implement. These solutions often come with a bloated set of capabilities that many users can’t effectively leverage, impeding productivity. Instead, companies are opting for CRM solutions that offer great industry-specific capabilities while still being user-friendly and efficient.
Even tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook have recognized the value of CRM for small businesses. However, the current options in the market are just the beginning of a shift in the way SMBs do business. The next step in this evolution is to choose a CRM solution that aligns with the unique challenges of your niche. Small businesses need a CRM that understands their industry and has been specifically built to address their exact needs, without unnecessary features that won’t improve everyday tasks.
So, how do you find the right CRM for your small business? Here are some key questions to ask yourself during the selection process:
1. Are all customer interactions and information stored in one accessible location for everyone in your company?
2. Can you ensure that all leads in the sales pipeline are being followed up on promptly?
3. Can you initiate marketing campaigns and follow-up activities alongside your sales team?
4. Can you forecast your pipeline without relying on your accountant?
5. Can you view sales activity and results by day, week, month, and year?
6. Can your sales team access customer information and respond to customers while they are out of the office?
7. Do you have visibility into customer service issues and their resolutions?
8. Does the CRM provider offer help with setup and knowledgeable customer support?
9. Are there free resources and training available to get your team up to speed?
Trade shows are a valuable opportunity for small businesses to engage with buyers and boost sales face-to-face. Here are some tips for maximizing your success at trade shows:
1. Fill your trade show booth with product displays to showcase what you offer.
2. Give out samples to potential customers to create interest and generate leads.
3. Focus on developing your brand and clearly communicate your unique value proposition.
4. Utilize social media to promote your participation in the trade show and generate buzz.
5. Include video presentations to captivate attendees and demonstrate your products or services.
While tech giants offer broad CRM solutions, they may not always be the best choice for emerging small businesses. When considering a CRM solution, look for these key factors:
1. Specific focus: Your CRM doesn’t need to tackle every challenge facing consumers today. Find a CRM that meets your unique business challenges efficiently.
2. Small data driven: Access to tons of data may not always be valuable. Understanding the needs of your niche target audience is what truly matters.
3. Ease of use: Choose a CRM with an intuitive design that fits seamlessly into your everyday business operations.
4. On the go: Look for a mobile CRM solution that allows you to engage with clients and access customer data while working remotely.
Small business CRM should be tailored to fit the unique needs of your business. It should provide support both at the desk and on the go, improve your everyday tasks, and be as intuitive as popular social media platforms. By thinking smaller and choosing the right CRM for your small business, you can take advantage of the digital transformation happening in enterprises around the globe.
Remember, the goal of a good CRM is to keep the customer experience at the forefront while providing you with granular control over the lifeblood of your business. So take the time to find a CRM solution that understands your niche and is designed to address your exact challenges. With the right CRM in place, you can streamline your operations, enhance customer relationships, and propel your small business to new heights of success.