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Understanding the purpose and key features of a CRM system is just the first step to ensuring your customer relationships are maintained in an effective and consistent manner. Finding the best CRM system for small business is now simpler than ever before, as here at Cost Compare Limited, we provide you with a quick and simple comparison of the best CRM systems on the market. No matter what you’re looking for you can be certain to find CRM solutions to suit your individual business requirements, and most importantly budget, all in one place. Here, we’re taking a closer look at what a CRM system really is, why it should be important to you, and also how to obtain the best CRM software for your business.

What Is A CRM System?

Even in a small business, managing your customer base is of vital importance. From transactions through to email or telephone conversations, maintaining an accurate record of your customer base is essential. Not only does it ensure that you successfully manage your customers and their expectations, it also allows you to engage with them effectively in order to sell additional products and services in the future.

CRM systems were initially developed as a basic form of customer database, but have since evolved to manage sales, marketing and even accounting data all from one central point. This is increasingly advantageous to businesses as it enables all departments to work closely together and also allows you to better see the link between, for instance, marketing activity and sales output. Most CRM software today offers the ability to produce a range of reports so that you can see exactly what is happening within your business in real time.

The Benefits Of A Small Business CRM

One of the key benefits of implementing a CRM solution is that it enables your business to work smarter. Manually poring over customer files, or analysing numerous spreadsheets, is both time-consuming and costly. A CRM system enables you to collate all the information that you need together, in one place, and work with it electronically, giving you the time to engage in more important activities such as growing your business.

This also has the knock-on effect of making more efficient use of your staff resources. If your staff members can use a CRM to get jobs done in much less time, you can better deploy them to look after other aspects of your business, rather than costly administration tasks.

Another benefit of a CRM solution is that you can view a better picture of your overall business. You can view things such as sales versus targets, or the number of orders dispatched. A small business CRM gives a perfect overview of the performance of your business and enables you to address issues before they become a problem.

A CRM system is also likely to improve your customer service and support. Because it acts as a central point, accessible by all your team, it means that anyone in the business can access information about an individual customer instantly. This ensures that any member of the team can immediately address any issues, such as order tracking or invoicing, therefore resolving the issue quickly and efficiently, and managing the customer effectively.

The best CRM systems available also have add-on or integrated marketing capability. Whether you are looking for a simple way to email all of your customers, or you wish to segment them into separate groups depending on their buying preferences, a CRM system will enable you to target them accordingly. A CRM system has the capacity to store email addresses, for instance, enabling you to cost-effectively broadcast key marketing messages to both your customer database and also potential customers, with very little work involved in the implementation.

If you are considering, or are already enrolled in, an accreditation scheme such as an ISO standard, then a CRM system enables you to much more easily implement the necessary systems and controls required to meet such standards. It gives you better control of all of the available data within your business and provides a more automated solution for everyday tasks such as invoicing or proposing new business.

Customer Relationship Management

How To Choose The Best CRM System For Your Small Business?

When choosing the best CRM system, it’s important to first consider what the needs of your business are. There are so many CRM solutions available on the market, all with different levels of complexity. It’s a wise move, therefore, to draw up a plan of exactly how you intend to utilise a CRM solution before investigating your options. A CRM for small business does not need to be overly complex to start with.

As a small business owner or director, you are unlikely to have the time or resource to implement a complex training strategy or to implement an intricate database yourself, so it’s best to keep things simple initially. This will also keep things simple for your staff and ensure that they adopt the new CRM for small business solution more readily.

You should bear in mind though that your business’ needs may change in the coming years as you grow and expand, so you may require an upgrade on your initial CRM for small business further down the line. The best CRM systems available on the market offer the ability to scale and grow to accommodate an expanding workforce and clientele. They also offer add-ons to an initial package, in order to accommodate differing needs such as marketing and accountancy software.

As a small business, you will also have to consider what a CRM system’s primary purpose is within your business. Is it simply a customer database of contact details and interactions, or will it be used to monitor sales, progress and active engagement with your client base? Clearly, the more output you require from the CRM solution, the more complex your solution will be. There are CRM solutions on the market that target a specific industry, so it’s important to buy into a small business CRM that is fit for purpose.

Finally, you need to consider how your CRM system will integrate with other areas of your business. For instance, if you have an existing point-of-sale application, how easily can it be integrated or replaced by your new CRM solution?

Using CRM Software on Laptop

A Traditional Or Hosted CRM Solution?

Traditional CRM solutions are installed directly into your business server and maintained and controlled in-house or by your I.T. provider. The drawback of this traditional way of working is firstly that you require an additional expense to manage and maintain the system. CRM software can also quickly run out of date or become incompatible with systems and so this all adds to the additional ongoing expense.

Many small businesses are turning to hosted CRM solutions, accessed via the web. The main benefit of this option for a small business CRM is that there are no significant setup charges and budget can be easily managed through monthly or yearly payments. It also enables you and your colleagues to access your CRM solution from anywhere, which increases the possibility of flexible working but also protects you from disaster such as fire or theft that could potentially destroy all your records and bring your business to a halt. Hosted CRM systems are often deemed to be the best CRM for small business option on the market.

Hosted CRM solutions are also constantly updated to ensure that they meet the demands of modern businesses. This means that you don’t have an expensive regular maintenance contract to cover and any downtime is kept to an absolute minimum, proving why hosted is one of the best CRM for small business solutions available.

How To Assess And Compare The Cost Of CRM Systems

So, once you have decided what type of CRM solution would work best for your business, it is time to find out which solution will work best for your business. CRM solutions are an essential part of many businesses and so, of course, there are many providers out there, all with different price points and different options.

At Cost Compare Limited, we realise that there are so many different permutations dependent on your business and requirements. That’s why we offer a service to compare all the options for you, in one convenient place. We will compare CRM solution providers in order to find a suitable system in terms of cost and fit for your business. This will not only ensure that you get the best deal, but it also means that you can find the CRM solutions that best fit your company needs. It gives you an informed choice. So please use Cost Compare Limited today to find the best CRM for small business!