6 December 2023

What exactly is a CRM system and how can it benefit small businesses?

By Ronald Smith

If you’re not familiar with the term, CRM stands for customer relationship management. Basically, it’s a type of software that helps automate and speed up boring, repetitive tasks.

Before we dive into today’s topic, if you want to learn more about CRM overall and the ways it can benefit your small business, check out our article 15 Reasons Your Small Business Needs CRM.

Recently, I had the chance to attend Zoho Day 2022 in Austin, Texas, as part of Small Business in: 15 on location. I learned a ton about CRM software and how it can really take small businesses to the next level.

So, what exactly does a CRM system do?

In this cool chat, I’m gonna be talking to Dilip Nagarajan, the product manager of Zoho CRM. I’ll be asking him about what exactly a CRM does and why your business totally needs it. So, let’s dive right in!

Shawn: So, Dilip, what’s the deal with this CRM thing? Why should I care about it?

Dilip: Well, my friend, a CRM is a real game-changer. It boosts your productivity and brings more value to your customers. It’s a time and money saver! And the best part? A CRM system has so many tricks up its sleeve to make all of this happen.

Just think about all those everyday tasks that can be pretty tedious. A CRM can swoop in and make things easier with automation. That means less manual work, faster actions, and a stronger customer relationship. How cool is that?

Shawn: But hang on, Dilip. Are CRM programs actually easy for regular people to handle?

Dilip: Let me fill you in on some exciting news for small business owners like you. We’ve come up with an amazing solution that takes care of all those tedious tasks you’re currently tracking in Excel spreadsheets. Yes, I’m talking about the customer lists, variables, and other mundane things that eat up your precious time.

I’m thrilled to share that our software can now manage all these tasks for you, so you can focus on what you do best. Imagine not having to worry about keeping track of your customers or interacting with them every day. Our software takes care of all that for you!

The best part? Switching from your old spreadsheets to our CRM system is a breeze. You won’t need to spend hours learning how to use it. Just hop right in and start connecting with the people you need to stay in touch with. It’s that simple!

The Amazing Benefits of a CRM System for Your Business

Let’s chat with Vibhav Vankayala, the head of product marketing for Zoho CRM, about how CRM helps you manage your customers as your business grows.

Shawn: How does CRM help you maintain a relationship with your customers? I mean, it’s easy to say it, but how does it actually work?

Vibhav: Well, when you start out as a small business, it’s pretty easy to remember your customers’ names. But as you expand, it becomes more challenging.

To boost your efficiency, you need a system that can keep track of all your customers and their preferences, what they want, what they’re thinking, and so on. Underneath it all, there’s a lot happening with each customer, like:

  • What are their preferences?
  • What do they like?
  • When do they want you to reach them?
  • What are the products that they want?

That’s where CRM automation comes in. It’s really cool because it lets me send emails to customers at the perfect time for them, and it’s all personalized. You know, it’s like having a superpower or something.

So, those are some things that might not be obvious at first, but once you start using CRM and seeing the benefits, you’ll wonder how you ever did business without it!

Shawn: Let’s dive deeper into this, especially for small businesses, even those run by a solopreneur. The other option is to manually keep track of all your customers, remember everything, and juggle different time zones and preferences. When you send an email, did you remember to send one to that person? Did you remember to follow up with them like they asked? How does CRM make things smoother? Now, picture this: I have 200 customers in different time zones. With CRM, I can set up the system to manage all these individuals. But how exactly?

Vibhav: First off, if you’re a business and you’re the one starting something, like a Black Friday sale that’s just a couple of days away, here’s what you need to know. So, firstly, there are three different time zones in three different countries. That means the product catalog in the U.K. might look a bit different than the one in the U.S.

Not only that, it’s not just about the states. We’re talking about different types of content that automatically go out at specific times. There’s another aspect to consider: can this action be triggered by a past customer? If they’ve visited your website, now might be the perfect time to send them an email.

If you’ve been on my website for a while, I might gently ask what you’re waiting for. I wouldn’t want to bother you, but maybe you’re having trouble finding what you need. That’s where the chat agent comes in – they can help you out. They might say something like, Hey, I noticed you’ve been on our website for a few minutes. Are you having trouble finding what you’re looking for? Can I assist you in any way? This way, the business owner can get a better understanding of the customer’s journey, especially for online businesses.

Shawn: You brought up an interesting point about how the customer can also initiate the relationship with the business owner. It’s not just the business owner reaching out. The customer’s actions, like what they look at or if they ask for something, can set off this relationship. Can you explain how CRM helps in building and nurturing these customer-initiated relationships?

Me: It all comes down to the core of CRM, which is giving the customer what they want. But here’s the thing – understanding what they want when they tell you is good, but understanding what they want before they even say it is even better. And once you grasp that and their intentions, you can act on it and deliver.

So, it could be as simple as a customer spending a few minutes on your website or calling your toll-free number. Or maybe they specifically visited your pricing page or added something specific to their cart.

Now, each of these actions speaks volumes. The important part is deciphering what each action means and then taking proactive steps. You do it before they even have to ask. And when you do that, they won’t even consider looking at your competition because nobody knows them better than you.

Come Join Me for the Rest of the Episode: What Does a CRM Do?

Hey, make sure you stick around for the rest of the episode. We’re going to dive into all the amazing things a CRM system can do for your company. Trust me, it’s mind-blowing.

But for now, let me tell you the most important takeaway – CRM software is like having a superhero on your side. It swoops in and automates all your customer relations, saving you time and money as your list of customers keeps growing.

If you’re as intrigued as I am about CRM Systems and want to explore more tools to help your business grow, check out Small Biz Trend’s super informative video about Using Heat Maps to Build Your Business.

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