All businesses, large and small, depend on customer satisfaction. No matter how good, or novel, or innovative your product offerings are, the overall experience your company provides is just as important. But it's not simply a question of 'what' you deliver, but also 'how' you deliver it. Maybe that's where things get a little tricky for some business owners. Maybe after focusing all the company bandwidth on delivering the 'what,' hearing that an equal amount of focus must be paid to the 'how' seems like a nuisance. After all, shouldn't a good product sell itself? Luckily, there are businesses whose 'what' is a solution to everyone else's 'how.' Those are CRM companies.
According to Gartner, CRM is the fastest growing enterprise software category, and should retain the top position over the next few years. In fact, the CRM market is expected to hit $36.5 billion in global sales by 2017. A fair amount of that growth will come from CRMs that service the small- to medium-sized business sectors. CRM is how any business can learn to improve customer relationships, and level the playing field between themselves and larger competitors with more resources. Properly configured, a quality CRM can seem almost magical in how transformative its benefits can be.
The truth is, even the best CRM for small business is just a semi-automated database with a customizable user dashboard. That means customized processes must be set up with a high degree of diligence and attention to detail. Setting up a CRM solution for a small business is a heavily front-loaded process. The best simple-CRM software for small business is only as good as the methodologies its users put in place. But there’s no reason to be put off by the prospect of upfront labor, because the rewards definitely make it all worthwhile.
In 2014, Nucleus Research reported that CRM delivers an average ROI of $8.71 for every dollar spent, and that number is growing steadily. However, it's still important for small businesses to choose the CRM that best fits their needs. Large enterprises often go for total-package, turnkey solutions, and many CRM platforms are built to deliver that. Small businesses, on the other hand, often need a combination of customizability, affordability, user-friendliness, and scalability—including the ability to add features—to keep the ball rolling with all the growth they're hoping a CRM will create. That’s why choosing the correct CRM, not just any CRM, can play a key part in small business success.
Small businesses benefit from CRM systems by way of a few basic categories. Below, we’ll outline a few comparisons drawn from CRM’s on the market that target small and medium-sized businesses, focusing on the categories that help define what makes a CRM solution ‘effective.’
Every small business has its own unique set of needs. However, there are certain needs that remain constant throughout—such as the need for a CRM software platform that offers everything to make closing sales faster and easier. Of course, pricing is always going to factor, but when CRM yields an ROI in the $8.00 ballpark, pricing becomes less of an issue. What’s most important is having the right package of tools to make businesses more organized and on top of activity tracking and gathering insights, allowing them to make informed business decisions about how best to serve customer needs. Which is why Salesforce comes out on top of the competition in helping your small business achieve your CRM desires.
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