Customers expect more from your business than ever before. Unlike before, you are now being compared to the best service they have ever received. For a small business owner, this can be flattering and downright terrifying at the same time. Like it or not, it is not possible to have all the bells and whistles when you have to keep your budget in mind.
Luckily, there are tools available that can help you provide royal treatment and cultivate meaningful relationships with customers. Enter customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Using a CRM solution, you can deliver positive customer experiences by capturing and tracking leads throughout the entire sales funnel. That sounds awesome until you find yourself drowning in a sea of vendors and product descriptions.
After all, you did not start a business just to deal with the technical jargon of a software solution. So, how do you cut through the noise and find the right CRM for your operations? Keep scrolling and find out!
Establish CRM Goals and Objectives
If you are searching for the best CRM solution for small businesses, chances are you want to solve existing operational issues and serve your customers better. Therefore, establishing measurable and achievable CRM goals are necessary before you can jumpstart the selection process.
Check your annual business performance reports and identify the pain points you want your new CRM to address. Likewise, involve users and ask for their feedback when setting CRM goals and objectives to prevent user adoption frustrations.
By setting goals and objectives, you will have a reference point on what type of solution will provide long term scalability and meet customer requirements.
List the Features and Functionalities You Need
CRM software selection is often a long drawn-out process. With a tight budget and limited resources, this isn’t just possible for small business owners.
You can’t be running around spending money on something that might not work in the long run. Thus, listing the features you would want from a CRM is essential in making the entire process short and simple.
While the definition of critical features differs from business to business, top CRM solutions usually have the following features:
Third-party software integration
Visual reporting and dashboards
Email marketing automation
Help desk ticketing
However, keep in mind that you do not necessarily need a feature-packed solution to handle your business workflows.
If you are not all too careful, opting for an elaborate solution can even set you back due to the higher learning curve it requires.
Decide on CRM Deployment
The success of CRM implementation is dependent on the right deployment process. Often, CRM adoption fails because businesses do not implement the software as planned.
CRM solutions can be deployed either through the cloud or on-premise depending on your organizational requirements. Remember though that because you require one deployment option right now does not mean that you won’t need the other one sometime in the future.
Pick a CRM system that is flexible and can evolve together with your operations. A rule of thumb is to determine your sales process and the people who will be using the CRM solution.
In this way, you can have a clear picture of what type of deployment your business needs to become more efficient in marketing your products and services.
Ensure CRM Is Compliant With Regulations
Compliance often takes a backseat for most people in the selection of CRM solutions. However, this is a risk you cannot afford with stringent privacy and data protection laws. On top of that, McKinsey reports that 64% of customers will choose to buy from a socially-responsible company.
A good way to reduce the risk of noncompliance is to work with a vendor that has enough expertise to help you. Every industry has its peculiarities and your chosen CRM provider has to be familiar with those laws and regulations.
You can ask the vendor you are considering working with directly or look for past clients from your industry on their testimonial page.
Test the CRM
Never take a CRM at face value. The reality is most CRM providers have a checklist of why their solution is better than their competition.
Ask for a comprehensive product demonstration to get a thorough sense of the product. Here are some questions you can ask during the demo.
Does the CRM have robust security?
How will the CRM integrate with social media?
What are the sales management features of CRM?
Something you need to take into account when searching for the right CRM software for small businesses are the hours and channels when and where customer support is available. The last thing you need is a disruption when your primary focus is providing top-notch customer service.
Improving Customer Relationships with CRM
Part of running a small business is keeping your customers connected so you can gauge their interests and turn them into brand advocates. Using a powerful CRM solution, you can monitor interactions and connect with every customer at every purchase, ensuring trust and better relationships.