Business Resources

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Small Business

CRM is a big concept that combines sales, marketing, and customer service data and programs into one integrated system with the goal of winning new customers and keeping existing ones loyal. As a small business owner, it's likely you already juggle these ideas separately through an email list, address list, Excel spreadsheets, sales receipts, and at its most basic, a suggestion box next to the cash register.

CRM software lets you to consolidate all this information into one point of entry that then allows you to track and analyze your customers' history. You will notice trends in customer service that could evolve into opportunities for new sales-or a whole new business to pursue. If you're ready to open another store, or location, this data will help you determine how large a space you need and what products and services to provide. CRM will help you identify the needs and characteristics of the roughly 20% of your customers who provide 80% of your business so you can find more customers like them. This contact management database also makes it easier to target your online marketing programs to those customers interested in specific products or services you offer, not all of them.

Once the domain of big companies, CRM has now become available and affordable to small business thanks to Internet-based computing ( cloud computing) and software as a service (SaaS) - where powerful software accessible online, enables you and your employees to access and update the system from any computer, or even amobile phone, with a high speed Internet connection.

At its best, CRM makes it possible for you to figure out what your customers want and when they want it. Armed with that knowledge you can plan ahead, and when you plan ahead, you can cut costs and operate more efficiently.