With 33 million-plus small businesses in the U.S., every small business owner needs to leverage whatever advantage they can find. The transition of most small businesses to including an online or e-commerce component only amplifies that need.
Of course, taking advantage of online options is a double-edged sword. Yes, it opens up the potential for a substantial amount of new business, but it can also demand a lot of tech know-how.
One low-hassle option that no business owner should overlook is CRM software. Not sure what a CRM is or how it can benefit you? Keep reading for everything you need to know about CRM software solutions.
What Is CRM software?
CRM or customer relationship management refers to a broad swath of customer-centered activities. For example, it can encompass everything from marketing efforts aimed at existing or lapsed customers to customer service and even sales forecasting.
CRM software helps businesses manage these activities by condensing numerous functions into a single software application. For example, most CRM software packages include a customer database.
Not only does that simplify communication, but it also allows for the analysis of relevant data like where most of a business’s customers live and which products or services the customers prefer.
Types of CRM Software
CRM software comes in several different types. For example, there are industry-specific CRM packages, such as CRM software for magazine publishing.
In general, though, CRM software falls into one of three categories:
Collaborative versions focus on centralizing data for common use across business functions, such as sales, marketing, and customer service. Operational versions provide automation features for the repetitive tasks that employees typically loathe.
Analytical versions help business owners identify trends and patterns that the business can use to its advantage.
CRM Software Benefits
CRM software solutions can provide businesses with many benefits. Right at the top of the list is better customer service. Most CRM systems let customer reps access a customer’s database information, which can include recent purchases and notes of prior contacts.
That cuts down on the amount of time customer service spends trying to acquire basic information and lets them jump right into problem-solving.
Automation features help boost efficiency and can, by dint of freeing people up from repetitive tasks, can boost productivity. You may also see more accurate sales forecasting courtesy of getting all of your data consolidated in one spot.
CRM Software and You
While new technology often comes with a bit of a learning curve, some pieces of software are worth the effort. CRM software falls into that category.
You may face some growing pains getting all of your data into the system and everyone on the same page about using it. Once you do, though, you can see a lot of benefits in terms of automation, improved customer service, sales forecasting, and productivity. You may even find an industry-specific CRM you can use.
Looking for more helpful business tech options? Check out the posts over in our Business and Tech sections.
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