Customer relationship management has the potential to turn your small business into a powerhouse that draws in new customers with a huge lead-to-conversion rate. All you have to do is figure out exactly what your customers are looking for, give it to them, and do that deliberately on a consistent basis.
The whole point of CRM is to meet people where they are because people don’t want the generalized, packaged experience; they want a personalized, human experience that anticipates and satisfies their needs. There has never been a time when it was easier to do this than it is right now. Take these 5 CRM services, try them out, and see for yourself if any of them will be a good fit for you because they might just transform your business.
Salesforce has designated 4 basic departments within their service which they serve for your business to produce the results you need. The departments they offer aren’t surprising, but they are at the top of their game for a reason because the services they offer can bring you to the top of yours.
First: Sales. As their namesake, Salesforce makes sure that you have the tools you need to monitor all of the interactions people have with your business, so that you can then take informed action to bring in those leads (which they also help you to find). Once you have the sales under your belt, you need truly great service to stand out to customers and, let’s face it, to keep them, too.
Salesforce can give you genuine help with giving every customer you have (as well as potential customers who are still on the fence) the best possible experience by creating a fully-customized experience that is tailored for that specific client. With the data you collect before you even know them and after, it is easy to anticipate the needs of the customer and give it to them before they even know they need it.
Another important department, marketing, is also a specialty of the service. You can design your marketing campaigns around your customers, rather than building it generically around a basic brand identity. Marketing should be carefully planned and catered to your customer base; it shouldn’t be a shotgun advertising blast that hopes to pin customers to the wall.
Last, but certainly not least, Salesforce has a capable IT department which will make sure that your entire system is designed to improve your employees’ ability to serve customers, while simultaneously optimizing your customers’ ability to work with your company.
Infusionsoft has a proven platform for CRM that has a comprehensive arsenal of tools across the board to help you connect with customers in a natural way. One of the best features of the service is that you can integrate their CRM software with your own website by using customizable pages and web forms, so that there is never any incongruity.
Run Infusionsoft from anywhere, including either the standard control panel or the mobile app. Take advantage of the API they offer, as well, to make sure your own business site lines up perfectly with the CRM software without any uneven overlap. It can also be tough to stay on top of who is who as you build your client list, which is why it’s great to have access to the “segment & tag” feature, that you can use to mark every client (which the software basically does for you) and incorporate all the specific details together for each.
Then, you can automate the process of communicating with those clients, so no one on your team has to do the time-consuming legwork of constantly contacting individuals. The more information you have for your customers, by the way, the more you can just add it to a centralized database for them. Lead-generation tools are also included with Infusionsoft. Once you identify solid leads through their service you can automate the process of connecting with them and bringing them in.
Finally, and possibly the coolest feature you get, is detailed tracking. You can add up to 100 fields on your internal web pages to organize categories and needed information from customers that will help you log important details for each customer, corresponding with who they are and what they need from you.
Insightly lives up to its name in a variety of ways, first and foremost in the way that the system will link any new details that you acquire for customers to the existing information that you already have within the platform. They call this, “relationship linking”. It’s a lot more valuable than it seems to be because this is a task that you never have to worry about; a computer is doing it for you.
You’re probably painfully aware of how monotonous and bewildering the chore of sorting customer information and linking it with their new information can be, so having a service that does it for you can be massively useful. Something you might not find in other services, which you will find with Insightly, is a feature that helps you stay on top of the process of bringing projects with clients to completion, to ensure everything is done properly and on time. They really have a well-designed service that walks the customer experience through to completion every time.
Tools for IT are also included, to make sure all the information you get from customers is handled properly and pulled through to the finish line. Manage all of your data correctly with Insightly, too, deploying it in an easily-understandable way that is also accessible to the right people within your company. To keep all of this together in a fully-visible and manageable format, you can design your own dashboard and access tracking and metrics for every customer, with a user-friendly mobile app, as well.
4. Google Contacts
You’re basically going to get everything you would expect from Google in their Contacts app. Of course, the Contacts app integrates with the Gmail suite that you already have, complete with the capability to connect with your existing contacts, and that’s kind of the point. They definitely don’t put much effort into creating an entirely independent service for serving the CRM needs of small businesses.
That’s kind of not the point of Google Contacts. The essential idea behind it is to centralize contacts, with the benefit of some other features, so that you can take those contacts and merge them with the CRM service you’re already using. So, you can take the contacts you already have in Gmail, etc. and organize them more efficiently through the Contacts app while looking at metrics like frequently-contacted people or duplicates that you may not have noticed.
That’s not the worst idea in the world because it’s something you don’t typically think about when you’re communicating with customers, and it’s actually not something that your CRM software may catch. Something else that you can use this app for is to quickly jump to the information you already have saved for organizations or individuals in your Google account, and then integrate it with your current client accounts.
It’s very possible that you might be serving customers right now that you don’t even realize are people you already have a history with that isn’t logged in your current records. Then, everything you have saved in Google Contacts can easily be labeled or added to specific groups to keep it all in the right category, so that it’s easier to view and organize.
The last and one of the greatest things about Google Contacts is that you have the ability to import contacts from other sources (as well as export Contacts to external sources), just to add another welcome level of usability to whatever CRM solution you have going.
Nimble is one of the lesser-known, highly effective CRM services that can make managing your customer relationships more seamless with very simple features. If you already have good policies in place for your company and employ a few core CRM principles, then you really don’t need a whole lot of help with it beyond good database management and high-functioning automation.
That’s exactly what you get with Nimble, which is a service that excels at automating things very well. First things first, they can build your contact list automatically with some minimal input from you. It really just takes submitting the details that you already have for customer accounts within the software, and Nimble will then create lists for all of those accounts that you can easily access and read anytime.
Another thing it will automatically do for you is to connect social media information and other insights for customers, so that you can significantly cut down on research time to develop new leads, as well as serve current customers. Keeping it simple, Nimble lets you add whatever custom tags you want to customer accounts and, using those tags and markers, utilize the insights provided by the platform to make sure all of your prospects are put into the correct category and filed any custom way that you need them, to keep better track of the people with whom you’re doing business.
Here’s a uniquely helpful tool you won’t find with a lot of CRM providers, either. As there are all kinds of meetings, scheduled calls, emails, tasks, and other appointments that you will have along the way with your customers, you can either attempt to stay on top of all of that by yourself and hope that you don’t miss anything, or you can have a service that keeps it together. And we’re not just talking about Google Calendar.
Nimble keeps track of all your appointments and tasks with clients to make sure you never miss a meeting, or more importantly, never miss an opportunity or a new sale. So, you can just log into your Nimble account, see what you’ve got coming up, and take the right measures to stay on it. And while you’re staying on top of all your contacts, you won’t have any limitations on where you’re working because you will be able to work from anywhere.
Nimble gives you all the tools you need for data management that is stored on their servers and accessible from anywhere, including mobile access. You can either use their app or a mobile browser, but either way, you’ll never be without the information necessary to serve customers properly.
Customer relationship management is highly underrated. In fact, CRM has almost become a term that denotes something novelty, while in reality, it is the basis for a successful business. Before what we call, “CRM” existed, we just called it, “customer service”, and even then, there was good customer service and bad customer service.
CRM as we know it now refers more to an automatic, online service that includes a variety of tools that do the work of anticipating and meeting the needs of the customers of a business. We’re writing this post because it’s an extremely helpful tool, but it helps to also understand the history of where it came from.
Only a few decades ago, business owners prided themselves on doing just that—anticipating and fulfilling the needs of all their customers so that they would come back and continue to be patrons. Now, business owners have the same drive with the added advantage of tools that can give them deeper insights into what their customers need while managing every bit of data they can procure for those customers. CRM providers aren’t something to be ignored; they can change the game for your business.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.