February 24, 2016 11:50 AM / by Joshua Ballard
I speak to a lot of small business owners, and often when I ask them what CRM they are using I will receive one of the following responses:
- What is a CRM?
- Isn’t that something much larger companies use?
- Oh, I just use an excel spreadsheet
- I have just started using “x” CRM
What is a CRM?
CRM is one of those acronyms that gets thrown around rather quickly and easily in a sales and marketing world.
This doesn’t however always mean that a small business owner is up to date with all of the industry lingo.
It doesn’t take long to explain what a CRM is, and generally the client immediately understands the value and importance of having a central repository for client communications and notes.
Generally, after we break through the initial explanation of this often new acronym for them, they will move onto one of the other potential responses.
Most frequently, the response is that they are using an excel spreadsheet to manage client interactions.
Cringeworthily sometimes, I am told that they just ‘remember’ everything that is needed, and save the contact details in their phone’s address book.
Now, there is no problem with using an excel spreadsheet initially, after all in the early stages of your businesses life there probably aren’t hundreds of contacts that need to be recorded.
There are however, plenty of reasons why a dedicated CRM is always going to be better than using an excel spreadsheet, you can check some of these reasons out here.
After all, it wouldn’t make sense to be paying for a piece of software to keep track of customer relationships, before you actually have customers to be tracking a relationship with! (Unless you can get a free CRM from the get go, find out more here)
Occasionally someone responds with “isn’t that more of a tool that a much larger company uses?”
Whilst it is true that you will not find any large company that isn’t using a dedicated CRM, it does not necessarily follow that a CRM is only useful for a large company.
An appropriate CRM set up is designed to scale with your business, growing in size and capacity as your business grows.
Suffice to say, that the free CRM software that a small business can utilize, does not do as much as the enterprise level CRMs that are employed by large companies.
Occasionally I have a Small Business Owner Tell Me That They are Using a Much More High Powered CRM Than They Need
You should definitely read “much more high powered” as “much more expensive”.
Stepping into business ownership brings unique struggles and opportunities, one of which is suddenly becoming the target of B2B marketers and salesman.
This whole other world of marketing and advertising has suddenly been directed towards you.
Suddenly you are receiving calls and emails, and targeted advertising, with hundreds of companies explaining unique ways that you can solve problems in your business that you weren’t even aware that you had yet.
I have one client who was aggressively sold a very high powered CRM, it certainly wasn’t the most expensive CRM, coming in at $70 US per month.
The thing is though, the endless lists of functionality that it could bring (each requiring additional training, or outsourced assistance to implement) were far more than he needed for his database of a dozen or so clients.
This can seem great, and everyone loves a new toy with heaps of functions.
The only problem is that these small purchases that assist your business start to add up after a while.
If you would like to learn more about implementing a CRM in your business, including what to look for, and how it will help you (as well as showing you how to secure a 100% free yet very powerful CRM), then check out our new ebook: