Have you ever been panning for gold, like they did about 165 years ago during the Australian Gold Rush? It’s hard work and will likely leave you empty handed. Everyone loves the thought of finding a nice, big gold nugget but going through the countless hours of hard labour hardly seems worth it.
For small business owners, there’s a gold rush on right now that you might not even be aware of. If you could easily build your customer relationships, create meaningful interactions, access real-time reporting on customer purchasing behaviour, anticipate future sales and have all your most important customer communications in the one place, wouldn’t this be the Eureka moment you’ve been waiting for?
You might have heard the term CRM (Customer Relationship Management) before, but aren’t really sure how recording people’s names and email addresses can translate to identifying gold nuggets that you can use to help grow your business. Well, it’s about time to find out…
How Can a CRM Solution Help My Business?
CRM is about bringing together, organising and giving value to previously disparate communications, tasks and processes, and enabling you to maintain and build relationships with your customers. A great CRM can provide a clear picture of your customers in real-time across your business, help you understand who your customers are, anticipate their buying behaviour and communicate with them much more effectively.
What’s Wrong with Using Spreadsheets?
Finding the right information quickly when using manual processes can be like finding a needle in a haystack. There’s always seems to be five different versions floating around the office on three different people’s laptops and old sets of data. Who actually has the right data source? And how are you tracking all the changes made over time by different people within the business? If you’re not able to get a clear view on your customers, including their complete history with change tracking, you need to think about a CRM solution as a priority.
Some of the gold nuggets you can uncover with a CRM solution are:
1. Knowing Your Customer
Who are the most important contacts within your customer base and what do they do? Are they the decision makers when it comes to buying from you? Have your sales reps had conversations with them in the past, and what were those conversations about? It’s always good to know the full story before you pick up the phone. After all, you’d want to know if it’s a satisfied customer you can approach lightly, or if you perhaps need to start off the conversation with a little more tact.
2. Having a Safety Net
Many small businesses keep details of their customers in spreadsheets or documents on local machines. There are a number of huge issues with this considering the data we’re talking about is your business lifeline. What happens when your 3 year old PC decides to give you the blue screen of death and refuses to boot up? Or when you need a contact’s details urgently, but they’re on someone else’s laptop who’s called in sick for the day? Or worse still, when it’s your number one sales rep who’s left the business with all your customer details and communications on a USB stick. Can you imagine the impact this would have?
3. Getting a 360 Degree View
If you’re a small business owner or even just managing other staff within your organisation, you want to see not only the up-to-date contact details for each of your customers, but also their recent activities, communications, and sales history. You want to see your sales rep appointments, events, logged phone calls and notes about their interactions with customers. This all works together to give you a 360 degree view of who’s engaging with your most important clients, the quality of those engagements and what’s happening with your customers. This gives business owners, managers and their staff invaluable transparency across your company and the power to collectively build long-term relationships with your customers.
4. A Glimpse Into the Future
It’s great having a CRM that can deliver everything we’ve talked about so far. But an amazing CRM solution is one that’s working natively as a part of your overall system. This lets you go beyond communications and start tracking sales activity to build a picture of your customers’ buying behaviour. Once you start seeing the spikes and trends over your customer base, you can even break this down by industry, geographic location and many other variables. Are there seasonal factors for your customers in the agricultural industry affecting when and how much they buy from you? If you knew this in advance, how much better could you manage your stock?
5. Tracking Your Golden Opportunities
You’ll always have leads who are not ready to buy right now, or prospects who may be thinking about buying in the future. Without a CRM, how are you going to track the progress through to the final sale, keep the relevant communications together and keep your follow-ups planned and organised? Imagine being able to set a reminder to follow up a prospect which is linked to all the details about their company, the relevant decision makers and previous communications everyone from your company has had with them.
6. Keeping Your Marketing Relevant
When marketing to your potential or returning customers, you want to make sure you’re sending them relevant information at the right time during their sales cycle. You might want to send your leads some tips and insights into the products or services for which you’re the expert to help build your brand confidence. Or you could send your prospects, who are teetering on making a decision, a special offer to re-ignite their interest. You might even like to send your existing customers an email at Christmas – just to remind them you’re still thinking about them. This all ties back to your CRM, which gives you the power to know what stage potential customers are and what messages to reach out with.
A quality CRM that’s integrated with your important business data can really be the key to understanding your customers, building long-term relationships, anticipating buyer behaviours and communicating with them in a meaningful way. With so much gold to be uncovered, wouldn’t you want to make sure you’re not left out in the river with just a pan and some optimism?
If you’d like more informaiton about how a cloud ERP can provide not only a complete CRM solution, but also empower you to grow your business with robust Accounting, eCommerce, Inventory, Sales and Business Intelligence functions, get in touch to start a conversation.