Get a CRM and kickstart your small business

Small business owners rarely have the time to start thinking about CRM. CRM is not only a piece of software, its also a whole business mentality, day by day process, which, if supported by good software, can help you gain things that would otherwise take you too much time to tackle when happening in low volume, or would overwhelm you when they would start happening in larger volumes.

Even the smaller piece of data matters

Let’s say you sell custom plastic bottles that you create in your small factory. You have a set of 20 clients which you know. You want to find out who of these clients is responsive enough in the emails you exchange or you want to see which of the potential new deals you talked about with these clients takes more than normal to progress.

Both of these metrics would take you some time to calculate on paper. If you had a CRM software though in which you add and update data day by day and at the same time allow them to manage some of your data for you ( like visits to your website, email responsiveness, deal age in days and so on ), then it would be really easy for you to get the info mentioned above. So easy in fact, it would take a few clicks to do.

Inbound?

So you do have a website and its there mostly for people to find your store online and locally, you’ve done some on-site and off-site SEO and some local SEO too. People do find you and call you. Here is where the barrier of entry comes in place. Some people do not like to talk to the phone, or they might find you when they are in their jobs, they would prefer to send you an order or a request via a form or an online store rather than calling you.

Here is where inbound as an important approach comes into play. Do you have forms on your website for people to request a quote or order something online? If you do, are these forms connected to your CRM or if someone sends a request, you have to add them to your prospects lists by hand?

A CRM system can help you build forms that you can have on your website, when a visitor fills in their data and sends a request, these forms directly post data to your CRM database, fill in important information that you would not be able to collect ( like the pages they saw on your website before filling in the form, how they came on your website and do on ). Now you have this person in your database, even if the deal goes bad and you lose it, they are still there, you can circle back to them, contact them again, know their history with your company and so on.

Business “Intelligence”

Once you put a good CRM in place and integrate it with your website, email, calendar and online presence, it will start collecting data. You have to be diligent enough from day one so that you help it collect data on a day by day basis. Add your appointments, track your business emails, manage your contact list, fill in missing data and in general, try to keep it as current as possible.

Then in regular time frames, get into your CRM and ask questions you need answered, “how many deals did we lose in the first half of the year?”, “for the deals that we lost during Q1 and Q2, which areas where the prospects from?”, ask combined questions that make sense to you. These questions will probably be able to be answered by your CRM data in their entirety and that will come in seconds instead of hours. You can then make decisions based on these CRM systems.

Which ones do we propose?

We have HubSpot as our day by day CRM. You can start with their free tier, its more than competent to help you get started!

There are others as well of course, Zoho CRM, FreshSales and of course, SalesForce, although from our testing, these ( although fantastic implementations ), might be a little bit more “advanced” in terms of on-boarding. For a small business owner / team with no CRM experience, we suggest to start with HubSpot.

DISCLAIMER : this is not a paid promotion, we have not received money from any of the brands mentioned above nor are we advertising them. All brand and product names are trademarks of their respective owners and we are in no way related to them.

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