The start of the year to-do list for an SME owner can be daunting. No doubt you’re thinking about myriad administrative and organisational needs relating to accounting and finance, staffing, your product and service roadmap for the year and more. In the course of all this productive planning, and as you look to build stronger relationships that drive ROI in 2019, consider how you’re responding to customer information.
Your customers have shared their data all last year through clicks, subscriptions, service requests, sales inquiries and more — and now expect your business to be able to turn those interactions and touch points into a more targeted, holistic experience.
Small- to medium-sized businesses that cater to the right customers — and to
From improved customer experiences to increased productivity, CRMs are on the rise for a reason and have become powerful and customisable enough to adapt to the needs of SMEs across industries. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what small businesses need to know when looking for a CRM — or evaluating their existing solution — in 2019.
Popular for a reason: The CRM landscape is evolving, with SME-focused solutions increasingly providing greater value to small businesses than
Easy does it: The right CRM can work magic, serving as a single platform that can span across the entire breadth of an organisation — sharing information and providing value for customer service, sales, product development, management, operations and more. The sales-cycle will no longer be filled with fragmented or piecemeal information conducted offline on notepads and whiteboards.
Time to Act With Analytics
Playing nice with predictive analytics: Businesses need to craft effective ads, select which customers to cross-sell to and address their customer churn. Since you have access to intelligent information, the question becomes — how will you aggregate and leverage all this data? Today’s best SME-focused
Getting real with artificial intelligence: CRM and AI are quite a dynamic duo. When combined, they can bolster the revenue of your business with a predicted $394 US billion dollars gained by 2021, according to Statista. When paired with a good SME CRM, AI technology can act as a virtual detective that collects clues to build customer personas, improve your ability to personalise interactions and put the right information in front of your team (and your customers) to help create meaningful interactions.
Machines that dance to your algorithms: Once an external function of CRM, machine learning is now integrated into advanced CRM solutions for SMEs. And as the demand for customer intelligence increases, you can take the next best step to make a sale based on your history in the sales cycle. These systems recommend communications based on your customer preferences. The best SME CRMs are designed to make sales and marketing recommendations that help you close deals faster and cater to your customers’ specific needs.
Experience is the New Journey
Mapping your customer’s path: If you want to improve the customer experience, listen to your users. Trust that your target market is willing to pay more for a quality 1:1 experience. Old data models relied on placing people into broad groups, casting customers as two-dimensional characters based on gender or profession. The best SME CRMs go well beyond raw data to construct a realistic snapshot of each customer based on new
Grow through retention: As a small business, you want to move seamlessly from conversion to retention. Make sure your CRM taps into behavioural insights and personally re-engages lost customers. CRM automation can free up your time, allowing you to focus on building core customer relationships without having to manually track down interactions. Tech-driven CRM systems will communicate across channels to rapidly seek information in order to understand each unique situation.
Automate your marketing process: Natively integrated marketing automation technology in an SME CRM solution can help a business improve sales in a hurry. Once you’re able to see which pieces of marketing content lead to customer engagement, how the customer engages, how long and what their next steps are — you’ll wonder how you managed before automating. Marketing automation technology designed specifically for SMEs has gone a long way toward levelling the playing field between small and enterprise level competitors across a variety of industries and market verticals.
Nurture the conversion: Nurtured leads convert faster, and more
Reach For Cloud-Based Solutions
Mobile is flexible: Increasingly affordable, elastic and with you everywhere you go — the sky’s the limit when your CRM lives on your mobile device. 68
Go for layers with a subscription model: For SMEs, it’s often preferable to pay a small flat monthly fee instead of a more substantial upfront cost. The subscription billing model allows small businesses to effectively control, plan and manage their budgets — while also ensuring their technology is updated and they have access to customer support as the company grows and needs change.
The Bottom Line
In 2019, an effective CRM can provide your SME with an opportunity to proactively anticipate customer needs and guide the customer experience while streamlining and unifying disparate areas of the business. A CRM won’t solve all your problems, but the right CRM can lead to marked improvements throughout the business while positively contributing to bottom line growth in a variety of ways. Get out there and find the right solution for your business’s growth in 2019!