How often have you returned from a networking event with lots of new contacts, but felt completely stuck on how to use them? Or come up with brilliant ideas to engage customers and increase your pipeline of opportunities, but couldn’t quite turn those ideas into action?
Growing businesses face an almost overwhelming set of challenges each and every day. Progressing the business while keeping the lights on. Increasing productivity. Balancing innovation and execution.
I see customers struggling with issues like this on a daily basis. They’re not exactly new problems, but they won’t be disappearing anytime soon either. The solution to these challenges lays in successfully maintaining personal customer connections, which is admittedly tricky when you’re also trying to juggle the day-to-day and scale. This is where technology can help make a significant change.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools have much to offer businesses caught up in the juggling act, but these tools somehow continue to remain a hidden advantage. Although a significant number of businesses are embracing CRM, we have found that it’s still incredibly common to see small and medium businesses relying on Excel or Word documents to manage their communications with customers and prospects.
The business owners we speak to know that this approach is far from efficient, but there is a nervousness that migrating to a cloud-based solution will not only be costly but also require disruptive downtime. Nothing could be further from the truth. These apps are cloud-based and scalable, tailor-made to be affordable to businesses of any size. They are also far easier to deploy and use than many first imagine.
A CRM solution worth its salt will propel businesses forward almost instantly, with minimum fuss required. In essence, they are a “secret sauce” for business growth. On a positive note, some businesses are already realising the benefits, with a growing number of SMBs reporting CRM as the top-reported technology budget priority.
Spreadsheets like Excel are great for capturing large amounts of static data, but they cannot keep up with the dynamic nature of both your customers and your business. A CRM solution ensures all your customer data is captured and automatically stored in one central place. This means that the data only gets richer over time, and can be quickly and easily analysed to get real-time actionable insights. For example, you can instantly see which marketing and sales tactics are working, and where you might need to ‘course-correct’. You can also make changes to your product roadmap to ensure your offering matches exactly what your customers want.
Selling your product is just the first step. It’s providing ongoing, personalised and excellent service that forges deep customer relationships and loyalty. According to recent research from Salesforce, 80% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.
One of the biggest reasons customers choose growing businesses over bigger rivals is because they’re looking for a personal experience. It’s vital to get this right. A strong CRM solution empowers people across an organisation - whether it’s marketing, sales or the service team - with timely, relevant insights that make every customer feel like a VIP.
If you have growth ambitions, it’s crucial to ensure that your organisation is being built on a foundation that will allow you to be nimble and easily scale. Adopting a CRM solution during your early days will give you a huge boost. First, it ensures you’re able to avoid creating the information silos that are practically inevitable when you’re relying on on-premise technology. You’re able to support an agile workforce, and it can provide a useful foundation for tracking connected devices. It also means you’re able to scale in a way that mirrors increasing customer demand, or supports planned expansion. Many small businesses don’t stay small for long, CRM systems is what ensures this growth
For entrepreneurs and leaders at fast growing businesses, each day can feel like a battle to put out fires and sprint just to keep up. But to set yourself up for the future, having the right technology that can grow with you is not something to delay - it’s something to embrace.
Of all the investments ambitious businesses can make to inspire the growth they crave, implementing CRM is truly one of the smartest they can make. Not only in terms of managing customer relationships and people, but also for securing the long-term success of their business.