Life for a startup can be challenging. Day in and day out, they have to find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition and work more efficiently and effectively in order to grow. Startups, therefore, are looking more and more to technology that allows them to do more with less. A key piece of technology that accomplishes this for startups is customer relationship management (CRM) software. A solid CRM solution allows a small team to complete the work of twice as many staffers. Plus, there are a variety of additional benefits that one provides. Read on to learn the top reasons why startups should use CRM software.
Increased Efficiency Of Your Business
A CRM solution provides your business with a single repository of customer and prospect information. Each contact in the database has his or her own contact page, and all the details about that individual are stored there—including basic contact data, interactions contacts have had with your team, and their buying history with your brand. Every team member helps to compile that information and can take action on that same information, reducing work overlap and allowing everyone to access the data they need in an instant. If your customer support team needs information on an open opportunity that contact has, they don’t need to call up sales to ask, rather they just go into the CRM and access it. It also automates loads of time-consuming administrative tasks, letting your team focus their time and energy on higher-value work. Ultimately, it makes everyone in your business more dynamic, so they can complete more work in less time.
Growing Your Customer Base
Most CRMs help you become more effective at prospecting and closing new deals, which is critically important for a startup looking to get off the ground. With so much information about each contact, salespeople can tailor their conversations based on that information and go into each prospect meeting armed with that person’s interests, buying history and more. Some solutions take prospecting even further by including a full marketing automation suite in the core CRM, so you don’t have to pay extra for one and then integrate it with the CRM. For example, Agile CRM offers full CRM, sales, marketing and customer support capabilities, all in one system. This allows its users to benefit from features like web forms and landing pages to generate more leads, email marketing capabilities to maximize the reach of your brand, social media marketing features that let you reach prospects on the social platforms they use most, and so on. So, when considering your CRM options, be sure to look for the greatest ROI you can find, because resources are limited but the need to grow is ever present.
Your Team Stays Organized
When everyone is working on the same data, everyone is also taking action off the same data. When everyone compiles the data as a team, you increase data accuracy and reliability. Moreover, most CRM solutions also act as a personal planner, with the ability to create tasks, assign them to your colleagues, set task alerts and receive task reminders. Essentially, CRM software can double as project management software, providing greater organization around internal and cross-departmental initiatives. When a task is late, the team member in question will receive a reminder so that things don’t fall through the cracks. A well-organized team gets more done, faster, and at a higher quality.
Scalability to Support Growth
If like most startups, you have the vision to grow your business, a solid CRM solution will support that goal and empower you to more easily achieve it. Typically, CRM pricing is based on the number of users you have and the number of contacts that your database will hold. You can start using a CRM and pay for just one or two users, and 1,000 contacts if that suits your context. Then, as you grow, you simply pay to add more users and contacts to the database. Everything that you’ve been doing up to that point will be saved in the system. You’ll still be able to access all the contact data that has accumulated, all of the deals closed, and every interaction that customers have had. Simply put, you’ll never outgrow a CRM and have to invest in a new type of software to support your larger size. Rather, a CRM will grow alongside you and support you all along the way.
Getting Ahead of the Curve
The value of the CRM industry has more than doubled in the last six years and shows no signs of slowing down. At this point, any business that wants to grow sustainably and successfully needs to use CRM software. Better yet, any company that wants to be competitive at all, needs to use one. That goes for small startups and enterprise-level corporations alike. What that means is that you really need a CRM solution today, and the longer you go without one, the greater your need will be. The longer you wait to get one, the harder it will be to get back out ahead of the strong technological tide that has made them essential for success. Startups can implement one in early days with little pain along the way. But if you wait until you have 100 employees, the organizational learning curve will be much greater and implementation will take much more time, and be a greater struggle. Plus, you’ll have a lot more data to bring into the system, which will further draw out the time it takes to get the system up and running.
More Informed Decision Making
We’ve covered the fact that CRM software allows you to build extensively detailed profiles on each customer. They also provide powerful reporting and analytical capabilities such as metrics around the state and health of your sales pipeline, predictive growth analytics based on past sales, and so on. This insight allows you to make more informed decisions about the direction of your business, and tactics you might employ to achieve the kind of growth you want. Armed with so much insight, you are able to identify the tactics that are working, and those that are not, so that your team can consistently operate at a high level, help you grow your customer base and increase revenue year over year.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
The more satisfied your customers are, the longer they will stay loyal to your brand. When you automate so much administration, you are able to process customer requests and respond to customer inquiries in much less time. And if the CRM you choose also provides customer support capabilities—such as Agile CRM, mentioned above—you will be able to provide faster resolutions to customer issues. All of this adds up to a vastly improved customer experience, in which customers feel more valued and are more successful when using your product or service. This will help curb customer attrition, and let you solidify recurring revenue, which will aid in revenue growth.
More Personalized Relationships
With so much information on each contact, you can personalize your approach to interacting with them in order to deliver a superior customer experience. The information you keep stored on each individual includes basic contact information such as telephone, address and email, as well as information around the interactions each contact has with your company, including emails opened and web pages visited. It is also where you can go to reference information on opportunities, deals, buying history and more. You can use this to personalize your communications to them. Each time a staffer reaches out to a customer, they will be up-to-date on the most recent interactions they have had with your company and can use that to drive customer outreach in a way that helps customers feel like they matter. This also ties back into customer satisfaction and increased customer retention.
Alignment of Sales and Marketing
When everyone in your business is using one source of truth about contacts and their details, it allows your teams to collaborate better with one another. For example, a common feature in CRM that link to marketing automation is the ability to score leads on their way to becoming qualified and handed off to sales. Sales can work with marketing to continually refine the scoring mechanism and the qualification threshold. In this way, marketing can hone in on the best way to score leads so that sales only have to focus on the best, sales-ready leads and can ignore dead-end leads. When marketing and sales are working in tandem, like a well-oiled machine, efficiency goes up further, as does lead conversion and deal closure.
Internal Transparency and Accountability
Because so many things are tracked back to the same, single system, it’s easy for directors and managers to keep their finger on the pulse of their teams’ performance. CRM software provides managers with the ability to maintain a higher-level view of what their team is accomplishing. They can see which team members are letting tasks slide, which salespeople are completing the most outreach, and which support team members are maintaining the fastest ticket resolution time. This kind of transparency allows startups to hold their teams accountable for their work. It also provides insight into where bottlenecks are forming so you can address them and keep your teams operating at a high level. A transparent business has a greater potential to be profitable over the long term, and CRM software provides maximum transparency into individual teams’ as well as overall company performance.