How to find the perfect CRM for a small business

Every successful business today was once a small business when it started out. When you jump into a new business, you need to make a plan of those essential things you need in your kitty to make yours a success story waiting to be told. Most startups are under the impression that they are not in need of a CRM. Of course, purchasing a high-end tool that burns a hole in your pocket would not make business sense for you. What then, is an ideal CRM for small business and why do you need it? I’ll give you some answers.

What is a small business?

First things first, you need to know if you are a small business. Wikipedia says that “Small businesses are privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships that have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation.”

Simply put, if you are just in the initial stages of your business with 10–50 employees, then you fall under this category. A small business can further be categorized based on their goals.

  • Category 1: Businesses that serve a niche and have no plans of expansion.
  • Category 2: Businesses that serve a large audience and are looking to expand.

Your CRM requirements would then change depending on which category your small business belongs to.

When do you need a CRM?

Typically, when you are a small business with just 50 inquiries a day, and roughly 20 customers to add to your name, you would turn to Excel and think that you can easily manage such a small number without any trouble. But, as the business grows and you get more than 200 inquiries a month, then you start to think that having a CRM for your business is a good idea.

Is this how you think it works? But that’s where you are mistaken.

A business needs a CRM right from the very start. Even if you have just 50 leads a day, you still need to know how the lead interact with your business, what are the sources they come from, which pages they have visited on your website, who has contacted them, what emails have been sent and the status of the leads. That is roughly 10 activities per lead. For 50 leads, that is 500 activities. Do you still think that Excel can cut it?

As your business expands, the number of leads would increase to 100–200 and the number of activities would be 10,000–20,000. This is when you start feeling overwhelmed.

Symptoms you need a CRM immediately:

  • You tend to mix up lead data and some data seems to have gone missing
  • You lost some potential customers because the sales person did not follow up with him
  • Your competitors won over some of your customers because you were not able to prioritize your leads
  • Your competitors won over your customers because they knew more about the lead’s interest than you did.
  • Your sales people are low on morale because of lack of clarity in their sales process.
  • Your sales and marketing teams work like they belong to two different companies

But why wait until things get out of hand, and you don’t have the time to shift to a better option? By incorporating a CRM for your business from the beginning and you would be able to expand your platform better, irrespective of which category of business you are.

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