Small Business CRM: It’s More Than Sales, Pt. 1

When you hear the term “CRM” do you immediately think of sales pipelines and cold-calling? Big business often uses CRM as a synonym for sales. But when it comes to small business CRM, it’s more than sales.

When you are small, your whole team develops personal relationships with your customers. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it makes sense that you would want to track the whole customer relationship in one place where everyone can get the details they need.

Instead of thinking just about sales, think about the steps of your customer lifecycle, and how different people need access to customer details at the various stages of the relationship.

The Getting to Know You Stage

Even before you go after a sale, you spend some time getting to know a new contact. Maybe you meet someone at a trade show and have their business card and an invite to follow up. Or maybe you discover a new fan on Facebook who is looking for more information about your product. Possible customers come from anywhere. One job of your small business CRM is to help you keep track of the contacts with the most potential to become customers.

The way we do this at Batchbook is by partnering with other tools, such as MailChimp and HootSuite. These tools help you stay in communication with all of your various contacts. But when you find a contact who reads every newsletter you send out, or who is asking you questions on Twitter, you can easily bring them into your Batchbook account for better follow up.

Once you have a contact who is a good lead, you can start to collect information about them. Emails, notes from phone calls, Tweets, and comments from your team all help to shape a picture of who the contact is and what their needs are. This data plays a big part in not only making the sale, but in providing the best customer experience throughout the relationship.

The Seal the Deal Stage

After you get to know a contact a bit, you’ll want to move the relationship ahead and make them a happy customer. Making the sale doesn’t live in a vacuum. All of the early relationship stuff comes into play here. But you also start to spend a lot more time focusing on a contact. You go to meetings, have long phone calls, and learn a lot more details about the contact.

This is a very goal oriented stage, so you will want to use your small business CRM to not only track what has happened, but to plan out the next steps and manage important To-Dos. Batchbook doesn’t have complex pipelines or automated systems because small businesses make sales based on good relationships, not formulas. But it is easy to assign To-Dos for any contact or to set up a sales checklist using a Custom Field Set.

CRM software helps you make sales by staying organized throughout the process. By collecting everything you know about your lead in one place, you can put your best foot forward when working on the sale.

After the you make the sale, things really start to heat up! In part 2, I cover the last two stages of the customer relationships, the Relationship Building Stage and the What’s Next Stage. Read it now!


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About Brad Shimp

Bradford is Batchbook's Product Manager. His job is to continually improve our product to make it even more useful to users like you.