Ever found yourself managing multiple clients and projects all at once? This balancing act is usually chaotic, especially if you’re depending on spreadsheets and documents to organize contact information. However, equipping yourself with the right tools can alleviate stress, improve your workflow, and save you a lot of time.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Every business needs some type of CRM in place, as these systems enhance organization and allow you to do more with less. The primary purpose of a CRM is to store customer data, allowing users to retrieve the data and enhance a customer’s experience with the related product.
A CRM may simply integrate email and import contacts, or offer more flexible features (i.e. customer support, data analysis and social media engagement tools, etc.). From all emails and calls, to any notes around contact behavior or a specific conversation, a CRM organizes everything into a single repository of information.
Social media is an important tool to grow your business and build relationships. As Yuna Akazawa keenly points out, relying solely on traditional print media or cold calling to gain traction is a little old-school. According to a LinkedIn survey, more than 81% of small businesses use social media and of this number, 91% said once they began using social media, they saw a jump in brand awareness. 82% said it helped them gain new leads. Hyper-growth is common within those who began using social media. Thus, using a CRM would be useful to integrate, especially as a small business owner or freelancer.
Identify and Store Contacts
More customer data in a CRM provides more insights, allowing users to make better decisions.
Although a high number of leads may seem like a good problem to have, the sheer volume can be troublesome when identifying contacts.
In order to cut through the noise, a CRM funnels through thousands of contacts, allowing users to search, tag, and review all at once. A good CRM will let you take in, store and manage large amounts of data from multiple sources without a glitch.
Record Contact Activities
As the doors of communication begin to open, keeping track of the information customers provide makes it easier to ensure they are happy.
CRMs also provide data around your contacts, ranging from job title, company name, location, and more. Some systems even offer links to social media profiles, allowing users to gain an even deeper understanding of their contacts.
Promote Cross Collaboration
Once all data is housed under one roof, employees across the company are able to access it. This cuts down on individual emails containing various spreadsheets and documents, streamlining how employees communicated with one another.
At the same time, employees can use a CRM to electronically delegate tasks to colleagues. Accountability becomes even more transparent, as the CRM showcases who is responsible for what with any opportunity.
CRMs are often called “marketing automation” tools and can change a sales process. The automated email marketing “acts like a pair of hands.” The Drip Campaigns are automated emails that go out based on specific timelines or user actions. With these types of campaigns, companies can generate more “buy-in with potential customers and close more deals in the long-term.” There are different ways you can build a Drip Campaign with your CRM, but all promote more business and cross collaboration to reach a consumer differently for your brand.
Features that Optimize Organization
Application Programming Interfaces, aka APIs, are a key component of any well-versed CRM solution. This allows the CRM to link with other systems, eliminating the need to enter information multiple times.
Dashboards are also useful with a CRM system, as they provide a summary view of the sales opportunities that are currently underway. At the same time, dashboards highlight who is working on an opportunity, while making it less likely for promising deals to fall through the cracks.
Now more than ever, businesses need to expertly manage prospects, opportunities and existing customers with great care. A CRM is necessary in executing that strategy, and even the smallest of businesses can find these tools worthwhile.