How to Attract and Retain Current Customers With CRM Software as a Small Business

While marketing automation tools can be used to help grow your business by making your strategies smarter and more effective, the opposite effect can happen if they are poorly executed. This is one reason why you need a well-managed Customer Relationship Management strategy and system in place.

CRM systems are a way to manage, organize, and access customer data, with the end goal of improving sales volume. They work by connecting your various fragmented departments, from marketing to customer service to sales, into one system.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how CRM software can benefit organizations and how to implement CRM at your own business. 

The importance of using CRM software

CRM systems allow your business to nurture your relationship with your customers, new and old, to increase your sales and improve your sales process. They accomplish this by collecting together all the data from your different departments and organizing it into one easy-to-navigate system. 

Understanding the different ways to approach your leads or customers is vital. Retaining customers can be made a lot smoother with a CRM, and tools such as HubSpot or Zoho offer important features such as scoring rules to prioritize leads, AI-based KPI metrics, and automated workflows that greatly simplify the process of nurturing leads into new customers.

Customer retention is often the central theme in business models, but this is completely dependent on the business. For subscription services, for instance, this makes a lot of sense. Other organizations might have a product that can only be sold once (or has very limited repeat business), so understanding which of these is more important to you is the best way to move forward.

With data duplication rates as high as 40%, there can be millions wasted in marketing dollars if CRMs are either implemented incorrectly or not used at all. For example, many businesses will not focus on important elements of CRM such as sales nurturing, which are tracked through interactions and touchpoints, such as emails, search engines, contact forms, phone calls, and social media. 

With over 70% of businesses now using digital marketing services (including CRM tools), it’s clear that most business owners understand both the value of customer retention and acquisition in a successful marketing strategy.

Retain your existing customers with your CRM

The importance of retaining your customers is even more important in the pandemic, and putting the customer first is vital for small businesses. Remember that the cost of acquisition is often fives times the cost of retention, especially when it comes to mass-produced products. 

The keyword in Customer Relationship Management is relationship. CRM systems are there to help you build and maintain one with your customers, and the data can help you identify patterns. Identifying patterns can often help you detect a customer’s departure prior to it happening. Understanding and interpreting the warning signs can then help reduce your churn rate.

Identifying patterns can also help you tailor your approach to each customer group to keep them engaged. This is often done with promotions, coupons, or special offers to a certain group based on your understanding of their patterns. Recognize your best customers, reward them for their loyalty, and make them feel special.

Ways to acquire customers with effective CRM 

There are a range of ways to acquire and increase your customers using your CRM strategy, so let’s look at a handful:

  • Having a newsletter is a tried and true method to garner interest. Once you have customers’ information, you can build on it.
  • Get feedback. Having people tell you about their experience on your site can improve your research and customer base.
  • Provide excellent customer support and service. Simple things such as picking a CRM with a chatbot option is a highly effective way of better communicating with potential leads.
  • Having fresh content allows your company to look like a thought leader, as nothing is worse than checking a blog and seeing the last post was from 2016.
  • Utilize social media sharing, and remember that bad experiences are much more shareable, so be careful how you conduct business and treat your customers.

Implementing CRM as a small business

Understanding the journey from a lead to a customer is critical, and with most online shoppers needing some form of customer support before they complete a purchase, implementing CRM as a small business should be a goal early on. With that in mind, let’s discuss a few tips small businesses can use for CRM implementation. 

First and foremost, make sure you use a CRM that is highly customizable and scalable to your business. As noted previously, features such as automated workflows and scoring rules for prioritizing leads are very important. Get your staff to understand the CRM tool you choose, and get them trained so you can maximize the results you’ll get from your chosen system.

Next, embrace collaboration, as having a system that helps mitigate disconnects between your business areas and staff will improve all areas of your business, including customer retention and acquisition. A smoother process will benefit everyone from the top down.

Last but certainly not least, place a special emphasis on cybersecurity. This has become a growing concern in the small business world, with Gartner predicting that spending will go up to exceed $125 billion for next year. If anything, the need for securing your CRM software is even more crucial now as more hackers and cybercriminals have proven eager to take advantage of the situation created by the pandemic. One of the most effective ways to boost cybersecurity is to have employees use virtual private networks when logging into the company network.

As we move past Covid-19 and into the future, CRM’s role will become more and more important. Understanding the value of the different customers you have and can acquire will be valuable for generating a good ROI and keeping your small business profitable.

Gary Stevens is a front-end developer and copywriter who specializes in writing about cybersecurity, blockchain, and tech trends.

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