Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has been an essential sales and marketing enabler for many years at a corporate level but there’s often a perception that implementing one means considerable investment and technological challenge. That may lead to the belief that size matters when it comes to deciding whether a CRM is for you.
Read on for 10 reasons why any service-based business needs a CRM, regardless of size.
1. To keep all your contacts in one place
First of all, the beauty of CRMs today is that they are customisable and that means that you can keep all of your contacts in one place. You might have a current client list in a spreadsheet with suppliers in another and store contacts in Outlook or Google or have a stack of business cards on your desk which you have collected while networking.
Too much of your time is spent trying to find the phone number or email address of that interesting person you met somewhere, sometime in the last few weeks. Sound familiar?
Turn your two-dimensional spreadsheet into three- dimensional data.
Don’t get me wrong – I love spreadsheets, but they don’t work for keeping in touch with people and often you’ll just have too many versions, stored in different places. A CRM changes a two-dimensional list into a three-dimensional, interactive tool, which can be played with like a Rubik’s Cube, allowing you to slice and dice your data any way you want.
A cloud-based CRM will enable you to record a contact’s details (even scan the card with a business card reader and automatically input it) and set up a follow-up task while you’re out and about, email direct from the system and log phone conversations for all your contacts. If you’re busy delivering and growing your business, this type of automation is essential.
2. To Reduce Feast and Famine
You can’t, even with the best will in the world, be in two places at once. When you are out delivering your productised service, you can’t be generating interest, keeping on top of your pipeline or doing any of the other trillion back-office jobs you need to do to keep your business not only ticking along but growing.
The right CRM will prompt you to do things in a predetermined sequence; you’ll be nudged to action tasks so that you don’t forget them. The right CRM will not only help you manage your contacts, but move new opportunities through your pipeline, your existing clients along your product staircase, and manage your deliverables – so the tasks that it reminds you to do can be across 100% of your business, if set up correctly, of course.
3. To provide you with a first-class digital memory
There’s a limit to how many things we can remember at any one time. In fact, it’s been shown that we can only hold seven (give or take two) at any one time – George Miller, a cognitive psychologist at the Harvard University Department of Psychology identified this way back in 1956. It’s now known as Millers Law – so don’t worry when you forget things, or your head feels like it’s going to explode. It’s not just you! Let’s face it: running a business means all the jobs fall to you, even the ones that aren’t making you money.
A CRM will help you run your service-based business in a more efficient, organised way. It will free up head space to spend on the areas which will generate more revenue and help you grow your business. Most importantly, it can help you deliver the quality of service your clients need you to provide for them.
Make life easy for yourself and get some CRM help – keep a note of a conversation on the person’s record and set up a task to call them and follow up; set up best-practice processes for encouraging an opportunity to convert to a sale and for the delivery of what your client has purchased. Remove emotion from a specific situation by establishing the processes beforehand and then the CRM will prompt you to undertake the next task – it’s as easy as that. Save yourself from re-inventing the wheel each time and make every day a productive day.
4. To set up your business for growth
Until you are ready to take on some dedicated help (be that an employee or a VA), you will need to stretch yourself as far as you can. You’ll be able to stretch yourself a lot further with a CRM system which has been designed specifically for your service-based business. A good CRM will integrate with an email delivery system and your accounts package – a lot of your business processes can be automated so that things are ticking along whilst you are engaged with delivery. Not only that, relationships with any associates or suppliers can also be managed, keeping them in the loop on joint projects and opportunities, which is vital when you are growing your business.
And, when you are ready to ramp up a gear and take on an employee, the whole thing will take less time and energy because all your processes and systems will be set up ready for them to hit the ground running and do things as you want them done. Yes, your CRM will also create consistency and rigour in your business.
5. To adopt best sales practices and keep an eye on your pipeline
So many growing businesses don’t have a pipeline, but how can you truly run, let alone scale your business, unless you do? Understanding where opportunities are in the sales process helps you plan and manage forecasts – and keep the boat afloat. Understanding what actions need to be taken to convert the lead into a sale, and being reminded of those actions, will give you the best chance of winning the deal. A good CRM will enable you to see all your opportunities in one place so you can see the total value and what needs to be done to realise that value.
6. To adopt best service delivery practices
Your clients come to you because they have been referred or searched for you. They have bought into what you offer; they want or need your services; and they deserve the best – but you don’t need to re-invent the wheel every single time. They deserve to receive the best of what you have to offer and that is a service which is tried and tested and improved over time.
With a CRM you can set up a series of tasks which enable you to deliver best practice in the shape of a high-quality, consistent service and a good system will prompt you to carry out the actions when you need to, so you are able to help more clients.
7. To get a 360˚ view of your client and still communicate 1:1
A good CRM will give you the ability to have a 360˚ client view and offer 1:1 communication as it will integrate with your email delivery system and your accounts package.
GDPR comes into play here too – make sure you use the correct lawful reason for processing for the correct group of contacts.
8. To encourage your clients along your product staircase
The easiest source of new business is most likely from your existing clients. A product staircase is a really visual way to think about upselling new services to existing clients. They already (hopefully) love and trust you so if you’re not helping them to work with you more, you’re not doing them any favours and you and your business are missing out too.
9. To find more sales opportunities among existing leads and accounts
By understanding who your ideal client is, you also understand the problems they face and how best to contact them.
Having your leads and prospects in a CRM means that you can slice and dice your contacts as you want and need to, ensuring that you send communications containing messages which resonate with them, so increasing the chances of them wanting to work with you when they realise they have a need for which you offer a solution.
10. To save you money and time
This is probably the most important reason. A good CRM saves you money and time. It gives you the ability to increase revenue and decrease costs, meaning you increase net profit.
Most of all, a good CRM enables you to be out there delivering your service and being present in your business. Whilst you are out there helping your clients, your CRM is capturing any new enquiries and getting ready to remind you to undertake the actions you need to when the time is right.
Service-based business need a CRM regardless of their size. Because CRMs are so customisable, you can have one designed to fit your existing business but which can also grow as you do. By implementing a purpose-built CRM, it can be flexible and reflect your ideal client avatar, business model and goals.
All you need to do is invest time to think about how your processes work, who your ideal client is and what you offer them, then you can populate your CRM with your clean and enhanced data. And learn how to use it, so it becomes part of your day-to-day business life.
If you are unsure why you need to know who your ideal client is, or how to create your own Ideal Client Avatar you might like to check out my free eBook which will help you.
I’m fairly confident that implementing a CRM will be a life-changing experience for you and your growing business.
How I can support you
My goal is to help you, as the owner of a service-based business, to grow your business by getting the most value out of your three highest value assets:
- Your contacts/data
- Your processes and systems
When you make the most of your contacts/data you are in the best place possible to increase your revenue. When you have efficient, repeatable processes in your business, you reduce the cost of sales. Both of these give you, as the business owner, more headspace to focus on growing your business.
The overall result is an increase in net profit.
I’m always happy to have a chat – you can contact me at email@example.com
I have been working with CapsuleCRM for over 11 years and helped many service delivery clients increase revenue, reduce costs, make the most of their contacts, manage their pipeline and deliver great customer service.
I do this by designing and installing Capsule to meet the client’s needs, offering a bespoke CRM to suit their business requirements. Capsule really is a great solution for service-based businesses and when it is integrated with Mailchimp and Xero you have really solid foundations in place to grow your business consistently and successfully.
To find out more or arrange a time to discuss how I can help you, please contact me. Thank you.