Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a system (usually software) that allows businesses to efficiently manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them.
With CRM, you can store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities in one central location, ideally such that information is accessible by many, in real time.
While a CRM system may not elicit as much enthusiasm these days as social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter, any CRM system is similarly built around people and relationships. And that’s exactly why it can be so valuable for a fast-growing small business.
If you are a small business owner in Canada, there are several ways a client tracking tool can positively affect your bottom line; check out our top five.
1. Tracking Leads
A CRM system will assist a sales team in following up leads in real time, as and when they come in. A CRM will provide reminders to prompt when a lead or customer needs following up with, allowing the sales team to nurture a relationship with their prospects and customers. Having these reminders will allow an organization to contact their prospects and customers at the right time, meaning time won’t be spent bombarding them with unwanted phone calls and e-mails or they won’t go unattended for an extended period of time. Simple features such as screen pop and real time customer engagement within a CRM greatly improves customer service.
2. Tracking Customer Interaction
With a CRM you will be able to track client interaction from everyone in your company. This will enable you to get the upper hand when you next speak to a customer or prospect because you will know exactly the current status of that contact. This will also result in the contact feeling seen and important, and this type of positive interaction leads to a long-time relationship. E-mails should be in your CRM system, and not just in each staff member’s mailbox.
3. Client Profiling
You can use a CRM tool to get more visibility into your client base, consider the tactics for long-term profitability, and determine better plans so your staff can break new operational ground. For example, if CRM software reveals that 80 percent of your customers are in the oil & gas sector, you could hire more salespeople with an engineering or business background, or implement a training program to elevate your staff’s awareness of the oil and gas industry.
4. Profitability Tracking
CRM software can also reduce the work of your accountants. They no longer need to worry about tracking every cent of revenue and focusing on shipping costs, product discounts, and client returns. Most CRM systems give a small business a speedy bookkeeping system and more accurate financial reporting.
5. Sales Strategy
As a small business owner in Canada, the last thing you want is to lose income by targeting the wrong customer segment. CRM systems can provide you with valuable intelligence about long-term sales trends, helping you adjust the existing corporate strategy. For example, a five year analysis of your personal training company’s sales data shows that income from college students is in decline, while revenue derived from seniors is on the rise. Based on these results, you may decide to target older populations more aggressively and gradually pull back from marketing to students.
Client management applications can give a small business operational superiority in key areas. This tool enables your company to understand what it takes to build an effective customer outreach policy and boost sales. Before selecting a customer tracking program, make sure it fits your company’s operating processes, industry, revenue cycle, and customer base.
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