How to Create a CRM Strategy for Your Small Business

How to Create a CRM Strategy for Your Small Business

Every small business has a different customer relationship management strategy. A CRM is an important tool to help you manage your relationships with your customers and keep them happy.

As a small business owner, it can be difficult to juggle all the different aspects of running your company. The customer relationship management (CRM) software market is overflowing with applications that promise to help you manage all of this information and much more. But how do you choose which one is best for your needs? 

The blog post will teach entrepreneurs how to create a CRM strategy for their small business by outlining what they should look for in a CRM system

Collaboration is especially important between sales and marketing. They’re on the front lines of prospecting, generating leads, and working to close deals. CRM marketing requires equal parts art and science to provide sales with the high-quality leads they need. The art is in generating messaging and creative assets that resonate with different lead segments. And the science is in building automated experience paths, maximizing resources across marketing and advertising services, and quantifying metrics to optimize messaging for each segment.

All that must be in lockstep with the sales team so that products and services are accurately described and leadership expectations are properly managed. The other crucial collaborative component of your CRM strategy is defining when and how marketing hands a lead off to sales for individual outreach. Most CRM and marketing automation tools provide lead scoring mechanisms that quantify each lead’s perceived interest and likelihood of making a purchase—determining that threshold requires collaboration between sales and marketing to get it just right.

3 Benefits For Having A CRM Strategy For Your Small Business

A CRM strategy is essential for modern businesses with expensive, complex sales processes and an absolute must-have for any B2B business.

Your CRM strategy will be at least slightly different from any other to accommodate the unique needs of your business. But there are common benefits that span all successful CRM strategies.

Let’s dive into three benefits of implementing a CRM strategy at your small business.

Boost Efficiency And Effectiveness For Marketing And Sales

Picture this: You’re part of a successful marketing team that generates tons of leads with your content marketing program. What is the value of those leads if their info just sits in your sales team’s inboxes, never having further communication?

You can also picture the opposite: You have a hungry and successful sales team that consistently has an above-average close rate. How much opportunity is wasted if your marketing team isn’t properly managing their lead generation process and passes leads off in batches rather than in real-time?

These CRM strategy examples highlight how a proper strategy mitigates these issues and lays a foundation for maximizing marketing and sales tactics.

Your CRM strategy establishes a handoff process to ensure leads successfully graduate from marketing to sales. That means they get assigned a salesperson and ensure they receive timely outreach optimized to their behaviours with past engagements.

The same is true with ensuring your marketing team generates and hands-off leads in real-time to your hungry sales team. Again, your CRM strategy will unlock that real-time communication as soon as a lead crosses the preset scoring threshold.

Unlock Continuous Optimization With Data-driven Decision-making

Your CRM strategy defines and even automates high-level processes for sales and marketing teams. It does the same for more granular, nuanced components of your lead gen and customer management process.

Your marketing team may think their witty emails are great. And content creators may think they have a read on what your customers care about. You can quantify both and check how well your CRM communications are received across customer segments.

This enables you to test and continuously optimize messaging so that it has the maximum impact across segments.

The same is true for your sales process. Your salespeople may think they know exactly who their ideal leads are and where to find them. But a CRM strategy can uncover undeniable truths regarding the most profitable personas and customer segments.

These truths can include data-driven recommendations for who your sales team should be targeting, when and how to best target them, and what they care most about learning and overcoming.

Cultivate Meaningful, Lasting, And Profitable Customer Relationships

Much of the content and talk about CRM strategies focus on lead gen and customer acquisition. This is undoubtedly a key component of your CRM software and strategy. But it only tells half the story. The second half is in the name itself: customer relationship.

Your CRM strategy is front-loaded to generate leads and close sales. That’s fine, but it also must help manage your existing customer relationships.

The layout of a customer profile from a CRM platform that includes real-time updates

Real-time customer profile updates equip sales and marketing teams with information to maximize outreach.

There’s been tons of research done that shows it’s significantly cheaper to retain and sell to existing customers than earn new customers: We’re talking anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive to bring on a new customer.

With that being the case, even a modest 5% increase in your customer retention rate can translate into a 25% to 95% increase in revenue.

These numbers highlight the extreme value of baking long-term customer relationship components into your CRM strategy.

This might mean bringing in account managers to take over from salespeople or joint responsibility for sales and marketing if you have a smaller business. But, regardless of how you do it, your CRM strategy must include a robust retention and relationship management plan.

9 Tips to Help Your Small Business Stand Out In Customer Service

Build Rapport With Your Customers.

Your client base is likely smaller than a Fortune 500 company where customers are just a number. However, as a small business owner, you have a real opportunity to personalize the customer experience. Regularly reaching out to your customers, getting to know them by name, and remembering faces will make all interactions with your business more memorable and make your customers feel valued.

Be Present on Every Level

Customer service is all about being present, from the service counter to social outlets to emails. Taking hours or days to respond to your customers via phone, email, or social media will undoubtedly leave them feeling neglected and eventually unhappy with your services. Before you let it get that far, have an action plan in place for every avenue of communication and make sure your team is on the same page.

Treat Every Customer With the Same Level of Service

From the customer who checks in with you once a year to the one you’re in contact with daily, make sure each gets the same service level. Repeat customers, referrals and former customers can be a huge asset for your business, so you don’t want to roll the dice with inconsistent service experiences.

Having a solid process in place through the entire customer lifecycle – from marketing and sales to onboarding and retention – can ensure that everyone receives the same awesome level of service.

Pay Close Attention to Customer Feedback

Make sure your customers have a way to share their opinions about your business. Whether it’s a customer survey or an open invitation to share reviews on websites like Yelp or Facebook, when customers feel like you are listening to what they have to say, they’re more comfortable investing in your product.

Hire Employees With Excellent People Skills

From the cashier to the service agent answering the phones, hiring people with good people skills is a non-negotiable for your small business customer service success. Often customer service representatives serve as the face of your business, so you need to ensure that it’s a face you’re willing to show.

Learn to Be A Pro at Problem-solving

The age-old mantra “the customer is always right” still holds true today. It doesn’t matter who’s right or who’s wrong. Solving your customer is going to make a positive impact on your bottom line. In a best-case scenario, you can increase customer loyalty and generate referrals. Worst case scenario, you can quite negative word-of-mouth (in person and online) about your brand. Put your pride aside when dealing with difficult customers. No one wants to be told that they’re wrong, especially by a business they’re investing their time and money into – they want to reach a solution...

Don’t Make False Promises or Guarantees

Extravagant promotions and promises will no doubt entice customers. But, nothing is more frustrating for current or potential customers than a click-bait offer or a promotion with many stipulations. Be honest and upfront about your promises, and you’ll build a happier, more committed customer base.

Understand the Value of Customer Retention

Marketing is expensive and requires time and effort to do well. While it’s important to grow your small business by adding customers, make sure to keep in mind the value of retention. Kissmetrics found that it is 7x more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. In many cases, it’s more economically wise to focus on customers who have already interacted with your business. Retention is only possible if you’re demonstrating appreciation for and value to your customers at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

Treat Your Employees the Way You Expect Them to Treat Your Customers

This is perhaps one of the most overlooked secrets of stellar customer service. Small business owners should treat employees with the same respect, transparency, and appreciation as valued customers. The happier your employees are with their position, the more dedicated they’ll be to your small business success.

How to Choose a CRM System: 17 Top Tips to Guide Your Decision Making

Choosing the right CRM software is a process. Here are 17 boxes to check to help your business make the right decision.

Make Sure You Choose A Crm System With All The Features You Need

There’s lots of different CRM software to choose from. And lots of business features. Small business owners need to have a plan to pick the right product. For many companies, contact management is at the top of their wish list. But there are other aspects you should consider. Here’s a path to choosing a CRM that supplies the items you need.

Think About Your Overall Business Goals

Brainstorming what you need a CRM solution to do is the first step. Next, you should align your business goals with the features available from different CRM companies. Better customer relationships should be near the top of the list. Streamlining the sales process to foster business growth should be another goal.

Make Sure The System Saves You Time And Optimizes Business Processes

A good CRM should streamline things for your sales team. CRM tools focusing on sales should have inventory tracking tools. Performance tracking tools are important too. Look for an automated sales outreach type that includes phone calls, texts and emails in the business model.

Consider How Many Users Will Need To Access The System

Scale is important. The right CRM software can allow your service, marketing and sales department to work off one platform. The more teams you include, the more data you’ll have to analyze. CRM software can help your business to grow as you scale up. Business growth in your market is an important step to consider.

Find A Program That Can Determine The Right Communication Strategy Fast

Any effective CRM solution focuses on high-quality client communication. A good strategy considers your customer’s demographics. For example, seniors react best to personal emails and phone calls. Research shows millennial customers prefer emails. Text messages are an excellent method to tell everyone about meetings. Integrating a CRM system with social media works too.

Check The Level Of Customer Support Provided By The Crm Vendor

Customer service separates a good CRM system from a bad one. A business should be looking for a solution that provides multichannel communication with all of its customers from CRM vendors.

Personalized service is also important. That’s why the smart business is looking for a 360° customer view.

Are keeping your customer's happy means being quick and efficient. The routine tasks of your service agents should therefore be automated.

Case management is another feature to look for in a good CRM. Efficient deployment methods are essential.

Detailed dashboards and reports should be included in this software for your business. In addition, they need to answer any questions sales has on prospects.

Invest In A Crm Software That Prioritizes User Experience

A responsive user experience needs to be another priority. That means making sure you have a mobile CRM so the sales team can receive campaigns and alerts on smartphones. Look for a system with an email client integration feature—all important things for your market.

That makes it easy to call up previous interactions when a customer calls for support. These types are essential.

Make Sure The System Is Compatible With Your Current Software

The software needs to be compatible. Cloud computing allows you to buy a service. This can make the solution seamless. Compatibility means easy document sharing, email tracking and even a live chat.

Make Use Of The Free Trial Or Demonstration

Test drive a customer relationship management tool with a free trial. Some of the industry leaders like HubSpot offer one. The demonstration can show your business what functions and features the solution has, not only that. In addition, it can show your sales team how they get delivered.

Think About How the Features Will Improve Your Sales and Lead Management

Any system you choose needs to boost sales and lead management. First off, CRM success depends on getting your team squared away. Look for a demo that provides training. Automation is great to improve business operations. But not too much.

Prioritize Programs That Let You Customize Communication Systems

You should be able to integrate three departments to customize CRM software. Customer relations, sales and marketing should come together under one banner for businesses.

Make Sure the Price Is Right and Compare Prices

Getting the right CRM system is about comparing the prices and features. Finding a website that will help you with analyst reviews like this one is helpful. You can also check prices manually. Begin by deciding whether you want a cloud or on-premise CRM. Comparing prices means looking at different features. Data migration, customization options and email integration are three. Don’t forget to compare what support for mobile devices costs.

Avoid Hidden Costs

Any small business wants to get the most for their money when it comes to a CRM solution. That’s why you should look for these hidden costs.

Avoid opportunity costs. These can include the cost of outside consultants. Also, make sure you’re not paying for any unused CRM licenses.

Customization can be difficult without an internal IT team. Integration across all business departments is the challenge. Some estimates place the cost here at 40 hours.

Implementation can be another hidden cost. Cloud-based systems could need a consultant. Avoid this cost by selecting the right CRM system.

Find one that does this for you.

Make Sure You Can Easily Use The Software

Looking for a user-friendly CRM tool is important. First, find one that has a detailed statistics and forecasting dashboard. That makes it easy to gauge team members’ performance. User-friendly CRM options also include combining team collaboration, project management and client communication.

Any solution that’s easy to use should have a high user adoption percentage. Design items for any CRM need to work seamlessly with implementation. Document and email tracking should be easy to use. Any mobile app capabilities should be the same.

Look Into Integration Opportunities

A good customer relationship management (CRM) tool needs to work with the rest of your technology. In a nutshell, that means it needs to connect the CRM software with third-party applications. The best have automated tools that don’t need a lot of code.

Integrations with the phone systems are important, likewise for CRM integration with chatbots. Don’t forget to look for a product that can work with your email system.

Think About Your Customer Service Needs

A CRM should work in both the marketing and customer service areas. Make sure the one you’re thinking about can scale up and down with your business. A good CRM solution will also let your sales team have instant access to customer information.

A good product will also list your marketing tools. Especially which ones have been used on each customer. That way, you won’t double email marketing and other efforts.

Choose A CRM System Which Will Help Improve Customer Relationships.

A growing business has an expanding customer database. One of your business objectives, as you grow, is better customer relationships. That’s why good contact management is a feature users favour. Others include:

  • The ability to track interactions
  • Good email to follow up leads
  • Integration with other platforms
  • Sales automation

Frequently Asked Questions

In a nutshell, the difference between CRM and SCM is that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tracks clients and prospects, while Supply Chain Management (SCM) tracks products and information relating to internal company processes.

ERP software is a fully integrated business management solution. It includes modules for accounting, inventory management, production planning, customer sales orders, and more. An SCM system focuses on supply chain processes.

While the entire organization will come to rely on both ERP and CRM systems, the fundamental difference between ERP and CRM is that ERP is primarily for financial data and the finance department, while CRM is customer data used by the sales and customer service departments.

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