Often, the biggest difference between small and large companies can boil down to a few indicators: budget, manpower and organization. The first and second are based on revenue; a business with 5 employees won’t ever make as much profit as one with 2,000, and its budget – marketing or otherwise – along with its ability to hire specialists for each job will always be directly impacted by the bottom line.
That leaves the third distinguishing factor, which is a bit more difficult to estimate: how well large companies organize their business tasks (from marketing and sales to inventory and bookkeeping), compared to their smaller counterparts.
Again, part of this improved organization is easily explainable: larger budgets allow for better business management software that helps take care of some of these tasks. If you’ve ever had to keep complex inventory of your retail business using only an Excel spreadsheet, you know exactly what you mean.
Still, organization is the one distinguishing factor where small businesses can narrow the gap, and that’s thanks to one type of software: customer relationship management. Here’s how you can organize your business with CRM software.
Record Every Interaction
As you’re probably well aware, your customers don’t just choose to become customers out of the blue. Before their decision to spend money on your products or services, they have had a series of interactions with your company that led them closer to the ultimate sale. CRM software allows you to track each of these interactions, giving you a better picture of just how your customers got to the point of benefiting your business. That, in turn, can help you develop and adjust your business strategy to ensure your resources are spent as efficiently as possible.
And even when consumers become customers, their interactions with your business don’t end; instead, they continue to build a relationship with your company as they ponder on whether to buy from you again. As repeat customers are possibly the single most important success factor of your business, it’s important to keep the interactions of current customers in mind when developing your business and marketing strategy.
Keep a Content Calendar
If you’ve ever engaged in any type of marketing, you know how difficult it is to stay on schedule. Most small businesses make the mistake of dropping off their marketing efforts via email or social media dramatically after an enthusiastic start, which in turn leads to stagnant accounts that hurt your company more than they help.
Customer relationship management software helps alleviate that problem by allowing its users to generate a multi-channel content calendar that keeps you on track with your content marketing effort. It’s a little-used feature of most CRMs that should be used much more often, particularly for small business owners who may not always have marketing on their minds.
Distinguish Marketing, Sales and Customer Service
Finally, the single most fundamental way in which CRM software helps you organize your small business. As you know, all interactions with your target audience will occur in one of three stages: marketing and promotion, the actual sale, and post-purchase customer service. Many small businesses do not have the resources to employ specialists for each area, instead relying on a few of their employees to take care of all three stages.
But that doesn’t mean the stages shouldn’t be separate. Your marketing messages should be very different than your sales messages, which in turn should differ significantly from your customer service inquiries and responses. CRM software lets you identify the current stage of each of your contacts with a single glance, allowing you to adjust your strategy and message for each individual message and contact.
Yes, small business owners will never come close to the resources of their larger counterparts. But that doesn’t mean their marketing, sales and customer service organization has to suffer. With effective CRM software, your business can ensure that it always gets the right message to the right people at exactly the right time. For more information on how customer relationship management can help you, don’t hesitate to contact us!