A customer relationship management solution, or CRM, should be taking pride of place as the control panel of your business.

A CRM is the brains of your business. It helps you service your current clients better, helps you make more sales, and gives you insights into correcting your service and/or product prices.

But are you getting the most out of your CRM? Do you even have one you can rely on? If you do, is it:

  • fully populated with rich information?
  • clean and informative?
  • linked to your other systems such as eCommerce checkouts and marketing solutions?
  • used regularly to inform sales and marketing tactics?
  • used broadly to discover customer insights?

Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking they can get by with a minimally populated, seldom used or entirely absent CRM. Don’t be that person.

Understanding your customer is akin to understanding your business

If you don’t genuinely understand your customer, your ability to sell to them becomes radically diminished. One of the easiest ways to fully grasp who your customers are, is with a well-managed CRM.

Your CRM should be the core centralised hub of customer (and lead) information. It’s so much more than a glorified address book.

A CRM system:

  • provides a historical and analytical portrayal of your customers and would-be customers
  • includes a highly detailed rundown of all customer information and ways to track their behaviour
  • enables you to group customers in a multitude of ways that suit your business
  • helps allocate tasks and sales leads to individual employees.

Putting your customer database to work

With mindful segmentation and customer data gathering, you can run simple reports that inform you about customer demographics, what sells well and what doesn’t, who’s buying what, how frequently people purchase, what gets sold together and more.

This rich information helps you:

  • create an enhanced sales plan
  • craft more effective marketing messages
  • understand what products and/or services deserve your attention and which should be abandoned
  • understand what your demographic focus should be
  • identify upselling opportunities.

Professional sales and lead gen

With a modern CRM solution, you can create professional sales funnels, generate rich sales reports, manage lead nurturing, and even project your future with sales forecasting.

By piping leads into your CRM from your website or marketing efforts, you have the makings of a well-managed sales funnel and lead nurture program. This not only focuses and structures your efforts, but it also boosts sales numbers and saves money.

According to research undertaken by the Harvard Business Review:

“On average, sales and marketing costs average from 15%-35% of total corporate costs. So the effort to automate for more sales efficiency is absolutely essential. In cases reviewed, sales increases due to advanced CRM technology have ranged from 10% to more than 30%.”

By exploiting these sales focused features of a CRM solution, you’re granted a bird’s eye view of your entire sales cycle, which would be largely invisible without your CRM.

Your marketing becomes sharper

Once you have a set of rich customer information, your marketing efforts become sharpened in a way that’s almost impossible without a well-managed CRM.

By analysing your CRM data, you may find that you’re mostly selling to women between 35 to 45. This type of insight is invaluable when you’re crafting marketing copy, creative and ads.

If certain products are selling well in general (or at a particular time of year) your CRM will let you know how to focus on them with a targeted campaign.

Marketing to existing customers is a particular winner

When you’re re-targeting existing customers in your marketing, your CRM is pretty much the only way to do so.

By firing off an email marketing campaign from your CRM to your existing customers you can create repeat revenue with very minimal effort. Or, better yet, segment existing customers into types and then create several concurrent and more targeted campaigns.

Efficiency and centralisation are a fast track to profitability!

Sometimes we hear about business ‘efficiencies’ we can implement, and we can get a little cynical about the true benefits of the solution being pitched.

We don’t really see the need, instead we see change and carry on treading the path of least resistance. Not so with a CRM.

A key aspect to CRM efficiency is the ability to centralise and integrate information and systems under one roof.

By linking your CRM with the following solutions, your ability to oversee your operations is supercharged:

  • email
  • websites
  • social media
  • document management
  • accounting software
  • eCommerce and payment systems
  • calendar
  • marketing solutions

By undertaking such CRM integrations, you essentially create a control panel for your business from where you can quickly gauge performance and health while also performing core tasks.

That kind of efficiency is priceless when you don’t want to spend thankless hours individually checking in on these functions and solutions.