As a small or medium-sized business (SMB), one of your most important goals is growth. What you want to achieve is:
- Increased exposure;
- more customers;
- more employees;
- and more revenue.
That’s easier said than done. Growth brings along the need to streamline workflows and organizational processes in your business. To generate more exposure and attract more customers, you must know which problems your customers are facing.
Only then can you provide the right solutions. But how do you streamline workflows and organizational processes? And how do you build a deeper relationship with your customers? That’s where a CRM comes in!
What is a CRM system?
CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management. It’s an integral part of your marketing, sales, and business development. It helps you organize, categorize, and prioritize contacts, as well as monitor relationships with previous, current, and prospective clients and customers. In short, a CRM system is what the address book used to be a long time ago. The difference being that with a CRM you can do all that you could with an address book and a lot more.
Why should you use a CRM?
If you want your business to grow, well-formed and cultivated customer relationships are extremely important. A CRM helps you achieve that and has 4 additional important benefits:
- A CRM helps you organize all your contacts. As your company grows, the number of contacts grows as well. Soon you will notice that you need a system to organize all that data in a way that works to your benefit. In a CRM, you have a clear overview of all your contacts. The more you know about them, the better you can satisfy their needs and gain their trust, and thus build long-lasting relationships.
- A CRM helps you streamline your sales pipeline. Your sales pipeline is the process that begins with the first interaction with a customer up to that customer’s actual purchase. You can use a CRM to streamline this pipeline and predict expected revenue. A CRM also helps you keep an overview of the overall sales performance by metrics such as calls made and deals booked.
- A CRM allows your digital marketers and sales team to act on customer segmentation. Possible prospects can be broken down into different groups, based on where they’re located, how interested they are, and more. This can help marketers create personalized offers and give your sales team more focus (see the marketing automation tools for more info)
- A CRM helps you increase your revenue. Using a CRM gives you insight into which customers are unlikely to ever convert. You can remove these and focus on a strategy for those customers who are still interested in your product or service. In other words, your marketers can launch targeted and efficient marketing campaigns that lead to positive spikes in revenue. (see here how to develop a marketing strategy)
Reading tip: The 10 best sales management tools for growing businesses
How to choose the best CRM system for your business
Once you decide that a CRM is a valuable investment for your business, there are a number of things to consider when choosing one of the available CRM systems.
- The ease of use and support. Some CRMs are easier to use than others. And since a CRM is used by a number of people in your organization and skills can vary greatly between users, you should always choose a CRM that is easy for everyone to use. There is usually no time for everyone to master complex software. Also, make sure that the CRM has good customer support so you can also get technical assistance if needed.
- Choose a CRM with the features you need. A CRM system can have numerous features. It’s unlikely that you will need them all, and having a lot of features you don’t use doesn’t improve the usability. So make sure you think of which features you need first and choose a CRM accordingly. It’s also good to choose a CRM that is customizable according to your needs.
- Choose a CRM that integrates well with other tools. You may be using a list of other tools in your company already, like Dropbox or Google Docs. For usability reasons, it’s always good if you can integrate these tools into your CRM. It allows you to mix data for ultimate results.
Reading tip: Pipedrive vs Salesforce comparison
What are the 10 best CRM systems for 2021?
Since you now know what a CRM is, why you should use a CRM, and how to choose the best CRM for your company, let’s have a look and see what the 10 best CRM systems are for 2021:
All of these CRM systems are very well suited for SMBs and they all have their own features. You can read more about a number of them here and decide what the best CRM for your company would be. There is always a CRM available that best suits your needs!