My wife and I have a tradition of staying in on Friday nights with takeout sushi from a great little place nearby — one that knows the benefits of a CRM system, or customer relationship management system. When I order food, whoever picks up the phone knows who I am and, from my order history, asks if I’d like to repeat my last order. Because I’m on their VIP list, every month I get an email offering special deals, like a free glass of wine with a purchase. I even get a birthday card from the restaurant each year.
Amazing, right? Not really. The sushi restaurant knows who I am because they use a CRM system. It’s nothing more than a database of people — everyone who comes in contact with your company like customers, vendors, prospects etc. — and the transactions you’re doing with them.
They have their system integrated with their phones so a customer’s screen automatically pops up when they call. The restaurant is diligent about keeping its database up-to-date and employs a part-time person to send emails and other communications. There are similar restaurants in my area, but I keep coming back to this spot not only because the food is good but because they seem to really care — and they make doing business with them fun and easy.
Benefits of CRM Software
No business is too small to gain the benefits of a CRM system. Even a little restaurant in a strip mall can use this system to attract more customers and — most importantly — keep their existing ones happy.
If implemented the right way, a CRM system will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Everyone has a follow-up; customers like myself are regularly contacted. No opportunity is missed or forgotten. Appointments, emails, calls, tasks, and actions are all in the system.
A CRM system will also ensure that everyone in your company is on the same page. How else can the person answering the phone at the sushi restaurant know everything about me even though she may never have spoken to me before? By sharing the same database, everyone’s up to speed on notes, history, likes, dislikes and other information, like birthdays or products purchased.
Finally, one of the biggest benefits of CRM software is that they add financial worth to businesses. These systems house pertinent information about your company, customers, suppliers, prospects and everyone else in your world that could be valuable to an outsider, whether an investor, a lender, a partner or a buyer. My clients — even very small clients — who have sold their businesses that have a CRM system have received a higher payment because of this asset.
A CRM System for Any Budget
No matter the size of your business or your budget, you can find a CRM system that works best for you — the cost of a system is based on your needs.
According to Discover CRM, a CRM system with more features and more users (systems are often priced per user) will typically have a higher cost. Define the goal you hope to achieve with the software to help you determine which features you’ll need — and how much you’ll need to budget. You may also want to leave room in your budget in case you’d like to add new features later. If you’re worried about cost, Capterra provides a helpful list of the most affordable types of CRM software.
An investment in CRM software can have long-term benefits. As long as your company is doing business with people, you should have a great database about those people. Otherwise, you could be missing opportunities for growth.