With the traditional business model quickly becoming a relic of times gone by, small business owners today face  a new world of multi-channel communications, highly-saturated and competitive markets and a new type of customer. This customer is equipped with a wealth of self-sourced knowledge, and a demand for more attention than ever before. What does this mean for the business owner? For the majority it places greater urgency around the need for technology to connect with and manage this new breed of customer in order to meet these challenges head on. Specifically, the question you might be asking yourself is this, ‘Why do I need a CRM?’.

So, let’s get started on answering a few of the most commonly asked questions surrounding CRM investment, and get you on your way to having the knowledge and tools you need to excel your business into 2016 and beyond.

What exactly does a CRM do?

To understand what a CRM does let’s first break down your business; a complex, ever changing environment where there never seem to be enough hours in the day. Your sales reps disappear everyday returning with new and exciting prospects, your managers spend most of their week trying to understand where their sales reps are, and you the business owner somehow manages to juggle a mountain of different tasks, from finance to marketing. Sound familiar? The most difficult part of this scenario is visibility and collaboration. Because it’s limited.

Having a CRM gives you the ability to work in a transparent data environment, free of these limitations. Your sales reps can access relevant data anywhere, anytime - and even more exciting - they can start updating their deals in real time. Your managers, now with a better grasp on their work day from reports and dashboards available to them on their desktops and mobiles, can focus on supporting their respective teams.

Finally, you the business owner can get the most out of every employee in your workforce, and focus your attention and effectively manage your business - looking for exciting new directions, even. (When was the last time you had the luxury of doing that?)

But, don’t only large companies use CRM?

Put simply, no. The great thing about a cloud CRM, is that it’s based on a democratic subscription model designed to help any size business to succeed. Large companies do use CRM extensively - this is true. And, they often bill in far greater complexities, and user functionality than you as a small business owner need. Don’t be allow yourself to be confused by this.  What’s great about being a small business owner, is you get to  leverage same technology that these large companies are using, with the all of the same features and customisation tools etc, but at a far cheaper price. The magic word here is multi-tenancy. When you subscribe to  a cloud CRM you share world class services with world’s biggest brands. You get to metaphorically “move into the same apartment building, with all the same facilities and benefits available to you, as the big wigs.” What’s also great about CRM is you only switch on  the exact number of users you require. If there’s only you and two staff, then your operating cost will be considerably less than an organisation with 100 staff.

Can I afford CRM?

The question you should be asking yourself is not can I afford CRM, but can I afford not to use a CRM? In a day and age where customers are more informed than ever, and the difference between you and your competitor is the logo on your product or service. Ensuring you capitalise on warm leads, or follow up with customer enquiries, is now what really differentiates you. It comes down to the experience you are able to offer your customer.

There’s no doubt, a CRM can give you a strategic advantage over your competitor. You follow up leads  quicker, meet your customer queries with positive solutions within minutes, and give your business leaders time to focus on growth and market position. CRM is your tool to get that unfair advantage in the market.

Isn’t it safer to store my data myself?

Surely storing your data in a harddrive in your house, or place of business has to be safer than in the cloud right? Dead wrong! Your work computer, terminal server and/or personal laptop are easy targets for cyber criminals, subject to a host of potential issues. From viruses, to theft, your data is most vulnerable whilst in your possession. Cloud computing addresses this issue through stringent data security, constantly tested, so that you don’t need to worry. Salesforce provides all of it’s customers the same level of data security, meaning, when you store your data in the cloud your small business has the same level of data security as a multinational company,  a big bank, and or a government organisation, at no extra cost. You never have to worry about theft or viruses because you operate your business out of an internet browser. If you lose your computer, you can simply log in on another computer. No interruption to your business!

What’s my next step?

Taking that next step is easier than you think. A CRM is the next move of the chess piece in your business’s journey to success. Click here to download our e-book "Why Do I need CRM?" or click on the below banner.