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CRM is key to small business growth

Surviving as a small business is never easy, and in the current economic climate it has never been so hard. With soaring costs for overheads and reduced support systems in place, small businesses need to hang on to their customers as tightly as they can - and keep them coming back for more at every opportunity if they are to survive.

The FSB reports that 99.9 per cent of all private sector businesses in the UK currently are within the realms of the SME-sized business. With SME being responsible for 47 per cent of private sector employment in Britain, it is critical to the economy that these small and medium enterprises do more than just survive: they must thrive and grow, even in tough times.

How can CRM help?

As a small business, you might start out having personal contact with all your clients on a fairly regular basis. Over time, your business will grow and that one-to-one contact will become less frequent, until eventually you have so many clients to handle there is very little personal contact involved. The dangers are your customers start to feel more like numbers on a spreadsheet that valued individuals, and will eventually take their business elsewhere.

As an example, think about your hairdresser. She took some time to learn how to cut your hair, but now she knows exactly how to do it and you wouldn’t go to anyone else. But what if her business expands and she takes on more hairdressers to increase her turnover further? Would you tolerate a new hairdresser taking two or three visits to get your cut just right? Probably not.

But what if the transition was seamless? What if your new hairdresser got it absolutely spot-on first time? Could it be that a flawless CRM was behind the transition, reminding you that you are individually valued even if the business is growing?

Reasons you need CRM

Relationship marketing started as a trend back in the eighties, when businesses began to see the value in increasing return visits and loyal customers rather than putting all their efforts and energies into securing new customers. These days this Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a highly valuable tool, supported by a number of CRM software solutions, making it easy for businesses to market to existing customers.

With CRM, your business can become more profitable and grow and thrive even in tough economic times, because CRM helps you use your resources more efficiently. Here’s how:

  • Sell more to your frequent customers: analyse needs and opportunities in your existing client base, and identify opportunities to offer them the things they need most at attractive prices
  • Focus in on your best customers: by digging into the statistics, you can see which customers are most profitable for your business, and reward them with sweeter offers as a thank you
  • Find new customers the easy way: because you understand your customers that bit more, you’ll be able to target campaigns for new business in a much more informed, efficient manner
  • Keep customers loyal: with effective CRM, you’ll find it easier to schedule sales calls, and customer care timetables, putting you right where the customer needs you, when they need you - and ensuring promises made are followed through

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Will Hemner .

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