CRM or Customer Relations Management are essential to modern business but small business often has different needs than big business and here well look at what is essential for CRM in small business.
Every CRM system is built on the contact database. In fact its key to the entire system. The contact database allows for the entry of information on customers and prospects. It also allows for the maintenance of this information. This will include basics such as name, address, phone, and email address.
If you sell to larger customers such as other companies where you have many contacts you will want your CRM software to have to the ability to mange contacts in groups related to one customer. So for example ABC Company might have Joe, Sam, Sally, and Molly all attached to it. This allows you to easily change information for the entire group.
You will want to closely exam the reporting capability. If you put all that information into the system you want to be able to retrieve it in a format that is usable to you. Some systems come with canned reports that you may or may not be able to edit to meet your personal needs. Some also come with a module called a report writer that allows you to design your own custom reports.
A good CRM package will have good analytical ability. This will allow you to analyze the data you have collected to help answer a host of questions such as:
1. Which customer provides the highest profitability?
2. How long does it take for them to commit?
3. Which products do they purchase?
4. Which customers are loyal?
5. Which sales associates have the best sales conversion rate?
6. Are new customers more profitable?
7. What products dont move?
8. Where is more staffing needed?
9. How many calls does it take to convert a lead to a sale
Thats just a small example of what type of information youll be able to analyze.
For small business price is also an issue. You dont want to go so cheap that you get a package that isnt adequate or that you spend more time fiddling with then actually using it for what it was designed.
Then again you wont have the budget to go really big. Youll want to do your research but first you need to determine exactly what your priorities are. Then you can start to price compare too.
So to summarize:
1. Determine what it is you want the software to do.
2. Set your budget.
3. Do your research.
4. Start to compare products online.
5. Make your decision.
6. Make your purchase
One thing is for certain if your small business is going to be profitable and successful you need CRM.
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