Peter Chaloner, Mobas’ Chief Digital Officer, questions why so many small businesses don’t take advantage of a CRM platform sooner when there are so many business benefits.
At what point does my business need a CRM platform?
I recently wrote an article aboutthe importance of good customer experience (CX)throughout the customer life-cycle. To achieve good CX, you’ll likely need a CRM platform that has a broad feature set across your marketing, sales and customer service functions.
In this piece I aim to explain why UK small businesses need to adopt CRM platforms, and the many advantages they offer.
The needle is moving with year-on-year growth within the adoption of CRM platforms. Now, around 80% of UK SMEs have a CRM. But how do companies know which platform works best for their business? And why are there still so many companies not adopting?
The search for which platform works best is simply overwhelming. To truly understand your goals, you need to understand why you need a CRM in the first place. The best way to understanding is to look at how you’re using digital tools to deliver marketing, sales and customer services functions. Are these systems cobbled together or seamlessly integrated? Consider whether there are gaps in your adoption of technology and ask yourself whether your current tech stack provides you with a single customer view.
So why do start-ups and small businesses delay the adoption of CRM platforms? Start-up businesses or smaller businesses often have fewer customers, especially during the early stages of incorporation. That’s probably why business owners overlook the importance of having a CRM platform, with too many relying on their ‘little black book’, or living off spreadsheets.
At some stage most business owners recognise the need to store their customer data centrally. As their business grows, their volume of customers increases, and it becomes more complex to record customer data, such as products purchased, address and contact information.
When storing valuable customer data, it’s important to organise the records into segments. A segment could be defined by value of customer (low, medium, high) or by product groups or interest, or even their stage within the purchasing process. At this stage we’re starting to build a customer profile.
There are obvious benefits of sharing customer data. Over time (and usually relatively quickly), business owners realise that when employees leave, so can the knowledge and relationships with that customer. Having a CRM and centralised record of all prospects and customers protects businesses and mitigates the risk of losing the customer due to retaining valuable customer information.
A CRM platform allows you to organise customer data so that you can do it to influence customer loyalty and retention. Many companies use CRM for marketing purposes based on customer segments and interests. Most CRM platforms offer very good customer insight into how customers are interacting with their products and services throughout the customer’s life-cycle.
CRM platforms are also great for marketing and influencing the customer journey through nurturing leads into customers. CRM marketing enables you to increase the value of a customer by repeat selling and promotions. Most platforms offer automation programs, for example emails based on triggers / interests which help encourage prospects through the awareness, evaluation and purchase phases of their customer journey.
Sales teams are also more efficient when using a CRM platform. As a business grows, typically, the sales team and number of deals grow. Having a central record of all deals creates a sales pipeline and allows sales teams to set reminders and capture notes of emails and phone calls. Further to that, some CRM platforms allow you to create and send proposals via the platform which in turn can provide important data and insight into when documents are opened, and which content was most engaging.
When it comes to good customer service, it’s important to have a record of which customers have purchased specific products and services. Once again, having a central record improves knowledge sharing as anyone within a customer services team can quickly look up important information related to a specific customer.
One of the most valuable parts of having a CRM system is having a single view of each customer throughout their customer journey. This allows you to improve how you interact with your customers, looking after them every step of the way throughout their customer journey.
So, to answer your question‘At what point does my business need a CRM platform?’, it’s probably right now if you haven’t got one already.
If you’re thinking about adopting a CRM platform, or changing your existing technical stack we’d love to speak to you!
Mobas has spent years researching which platforms work best. We concluded on HubSpot because simply it’s the best all-in-one (not cobbled together!) CRM on the market. What’s more we’ve been really impressed with the support the HubSpot teams offer their clients and partners.
If you’d like to find out more about how HubSpot can benefit your business please don’t hesitate toget in touch.