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6 Reasons Small-Business CRM Software is a Smart Move

Woman in a shop looking at a tablet computer
If your company is growing, it may be time to invest in small-business customer relationship management (CRM) software. Why?

Manual processes can be a killer for small businesses, eating into your time and taking you away from growth strategies. For example, if you use a spreadsheet or basic database to maintain customer records, track leads and buying behavior, or manage communications, you'll know this process can get unwieldy.

CRM software can help wrap your arms around much of this data while introducing automated workflows that save time and money, and grow your bottom line.

Small-business CRM software is now highly affordable, easy-to-use and well worth the investment. Here are six reasons why CRM is a smart move.

1. Automate Tasks that Matter to Your Bottom Line

If you're struggling to keep track of customer deals, sales appointments, leads or post-sales activities, CRM can automate tasks that often go overlooked. Users can share and access data about every customer touch point (call, email, on-site visit, quote and purchase). Everything you need is centralized, organized and automated for more effective follow-up and task management.

2. Optimize Your Marketing

With centralized, trackable access to customer data, you can also improve your targeted marketing efforts. Using data about customer behavior, such as who bought what and when, you can segment your customer list and tailor your marketing messages so that you send the right message to the right audience at the right time.

You can also track behavior further down the sales funnel (such as whether a prospect opened an email, clicked through on a call to action, downloaded a white paper or attended an event) so that sales knows the right time to engage a prospect. Many CRM systems also let you integrate your email marketing software so you can import contacts, view campaign statistics, update your email subscriber lists and more — all within the CRM.

3. Stay On Track

CRM is a great tool for keeping your sales team on track and giving you more visibility into your performance. It will walk your sales team through the sales process with prompts for the next action. It can also notify teams when tasks are due so they can prioritize more effectively.

Want quick access to lead information? With a simple click you can view all the data you need on one page including actions that sales teams have taken on an account. For the bigger picture, master timeline reports let you see your entire team's activities in one place. You can even compare sales to quotas, and quickly pull up sales history and lead volume, and pinpoint the factors that determine a stalled or lost deal.

4. Get Your Team on the Same Page

In addition to centralizing all that information across spreadsheets and email accounts, CRM also improves team collaboration. With all your customer data in one place, sales, marketing and even finance (who can use it for budgeting, forecasting, identify growth trends, organize collection calls, etc.) get all the data they need in one place and everyone can work as a team.

5. Increase Customer Satisfaction

CRM is also a useful way to build lasting relationships with customers. For example, to increase conversion rates you need to have a clear understanding about who your customers are, what they care about and what drives them. Use your CRM to go beyond assumptions. Conduct surveys, create rich customer profiles based on their buying history or from insights into their social media activity such as wavering sentiment about your company or the work you do. When you know your customers better, you'll have a better sense of how to satisfy them.

CRM can also help you resolve customer-service problems faster. Easily assign issues to the right team member and track support history so that nothing falls through the cracks. With CRM, everyone has all the information they need about a customer's case.

6. It's Easier and More Affordable Than You Think

Small businesses often assume that CRM software is expensive or difficult to use. But thanks to the cloud, small-business CRM software licenses can start as low as $5 per user per month as noted by Capterra. Many vendors also offer free versions for a limited number of users.

Ease of use is achieved by stripping away fancy features and confusing buzzwords in favor of simple user interfaces, easy integration with other software (email marketing tools, productivity tools like G Suite (Docs, Gmail, etc.), Microsoft Outlook, accounting software and more), and onboarding assistance. Small-business users can be up and running in days, with the added benefit of ongoing support should you need it.

Are You Ready for CRM?

You're probably already considering the benefits of small-business CRM software, but first, it's important to evaluate whether your company is ready for CRM. Consider the following:

  • What features are a "must-have?"
  • How will you import existing data? Will your vendor help?
  • Who needs access and what administrative privileges should they have?
  • What third-party software integrations do you need? Your CRM is a centralized hub for all your data, much of which can be incorporated automatically from your email marketing software, accounting tools and email.
  • Who will own the CRM?
  • Will it meet your future needs?

Do your research and even try before you buy. CRM is what you make of it; start slow and add features as your needs and confidence grows.