Business growth is hard enough to achieve on its own. Small and medium-sized businesses that attempt to expand without the support of an IT infrastructure or critical solutions like customer relationship management (CRM) make it even harder on themselves. When SMBs depend on manual processes like spreadsheets and by-hand tabulation, they open themselves to countless risks and make growing as an operation nearly impossible.
That's why all types of businesses have engaged with software to help facilitate their growth objectives. Manual workflows and legacy solutions can often weigh down a company as it tries to increase its profile or footprint. On the other hand, having agile CRM tools that enable real-time data capture and high-level insight can drive progress and success. This notion is becoming more widespread, as a recent Salesforce survey found. Growing SMBs are increasingly targeting software as means to power growth. After all, launching new products or expanding into new markets and demographics relies on having high-quality intel and customer data that informs the right decision-making moving forward. Without a competent CRM system, SMBs may not be able to make it around the barriers to growth as easily.
"Growing SMBs were 2.2 times more likely to focus on CRM."
Growing SMBs likely to prioritize CRM investment
Unfortunately, many SMBs are ill-positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities - many of which may remain unseen or blocked by obstacles because of the lack of insight SMBs have into their customer relationships. In a survey of nearly 500 SMB owners, Salesforce found 62 percent still rely on email to track customer information, while 53 percent use spreadsheets. While it's encouraging that 95 percent of respondents track information, just 33 percent used a CRM solution to automate the process and improve accuracy. Having to go between email, spreadsheet and everything else often results in manual errors or oversights that may negatively impact a growth strategy. Such setups are also incredibly time-consuming, which can negatively impact acquiring and serving customers.
The importance of a CRM system was underscored in the attitudes growing and stagnant businesses had toward such solutions. According to Salesforce, growing SMBs were 2.2 times more likely to focus on CRM than SMBs treading water or in decline. Medium-sized businesses were particularly interested in prioritizing CRM investment: 42 percent of owners of medium-sized businesses said CRM was No. 1 on their list.
Delivering a high-quality experience one benefit of CRM
As consumers become significantly more empowered by technology and a wealth of options, they've exerted more influence in demanding certain things from the companies customers chose to give their business to. Consequently, a primary desire among many customers is a personalized experience. And while paper-based systems may help gather scattered data related to purchase histories or product preferences, it's only through using a CRM system can SMBs truly tailor and personalize an experience to customer expectations.
For instance while just 20 percent of stagnant or declining businesses in Salesforce's survey said they used their CRM solution to answer customer questions, the number of growing SMBs was more than double (41 percent).
"With a CRM, small businesses can automate basic tasks, such as capturing contact information and activities, and quickly surface insights, such as which deals they should prioritize or customers need attention, enabling them to work smarter and focus more time on what matters most - delivering great customer experiences," said Marie Rosecrans, senior vice president of SMB marketing at Salesforce, according to Tech Wire Asia.
CRM has to fit business needs, objectives
Once an SMB reaches the understanding that implementing a CRM system can help it unlock new avenues of growth, it's important to assess its needs of the software. For example, when asked about what they look for in a CRM product, respondents to Salesforce said they valued: ease of use (95 percent), simplicity of maintenance (92 percent) and speed (92 percent). Additionally, 62 percent said they engaged with solutions that fit their long-term vision.
When looking for a product that fits all the criteria like the above, SMBs can't forget another vital consideration: a trustworthy vendor. Cited by 91 percent of SMB owners as a key factor, a trustworthy vendor is central to any growth strategy built on CRM. Small and medium-businesses new to CRM can lean on a strategic partner like ICS Support to provide the guidance and hands-on assistance SMBs need to get their CRM solutions up and running, and contributing to newfound successes.