For a small business, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is the heart that pumps information to the rest of its moving parts. In order to thrive, small businesses must rely on a CRM for more than just managing leads and converting customers. When used properly, a CRM can help run the entire company and keep business owners in the loop on progress and activity across all departments.
Here are a few CRM best practices to consider for your small business:
Make a note
Make sure that when employees use the CRM, all customer activity is recorded there. If knowledge is power, then even the smallest details about your customers, partners and projects might come in handy. For example, if a customer calls with an issue, a quick search in the CRM allows anyone to get up-to-speed on past interactions with the customer in order to field the call.
The ability to access your CRM from anywhere, anytime is invaluable. On-demand access to customer data and company projects gives you the freedom to do business on-the-go without worry. This is especially useful if you work from your home, vehicle, or another remote site.
Scrub your data
One of the biggest problems people sometimes have when they first start using a CRM is that the data they import is inaccurate, incomplete, or messy. Make sure that all your importable content, like contacts managed in an Excel document, are clean and up-to-date before you start importing. Otherwise, your import will finish and some information may be old or incomplete. This goes for any data that you have as you transfer it into your CRM. Appointments, e-mails, project information -- all of this important content could look completely different after an import, if not cleaned up and vetted correctly.
Get everyone to use it
Make sure that all employees, not just executives, are using the CRM on a daily basis to promote consistency and clarity within the company. It especially helps to have a CRM with great e-mail integration so that your whole team is on the same page, all the time.
When choosing your CRM, it’s important to find out what type of support is available. You will want a service that can respond to you within 24 hours so issues are rectified in a timely manner, without affecting your productivity. Otherwise, you could find yourself up to your eyeballs in complaints, and with nowhere to turn for answers.
These simple CRM best practices can mean life or death for your small business. When properly implemented, a CRM can streamline your business, create a collaborative office environment, build customer relationships and increase productivity.
Anthony Smith is founder and CEO of Insightly, a creator of customer relationship management software for small businesses. More than 100,000 businesses worldwide leverage Insightly’s cloud-based technology, easy-to-use interface and freemium pricing model to organize and manage their business.