There is a movement out there that points us to do things the way all businesses do things – guided by CRM. Human resources, marketing, intellectual property, and contract development should all be done the way the big businesses do. They have already invented the best way. So, why should we reinvent something that already works? Because ultimately a successful business is about successful people. That isn’t a formula that everyone can follow. Small businesses, entrepreneurial in nature, are unique. And that’s why they are successful. They support a specific cause in a specific way that cannot be duplicated by anyone else.
What is CRM
CRM (Customer Relationship Managers) is a software tool that is watching out for potential customers. Customers that don’t even know yet that they want your services or products. They are looking for current customers that are candidates for more of what you offer. For example, a service that they did know you offered. CRMs are matchmakers, of sorts. They are searching out the perfect fit for your company and its customers.
In a single day, you may make hundreds of connections to people. You need a way to organize these connections in a smart, quick system. Big business has many of these tools. Additionally, because their sales staff might run two and three people deep, anyone can pull out possible sales calls or sort through cold contacts to find that one that might just light a fire.
But that is part of the problem. CRM is built for big business, where teams of people work on singular data lists and contacts. Let’s say you are a staff of one – maybe two. Why do you need a complicated, multi-layered computer program to keep you on top of your sales calls?
Small Business is Different
In a small business, certain things are EVERYONE’S job. There is not enough room, time or personnel to have everyone’s focus scattered about on sales calls. Follow-up calls to people you’ve already met with or cold calling is nearly impossible to fit in. But, those are your people. You are their contact and you need to take care of them. One very big reason that small business still thrives today is the personal service they can offer. Taking ownership of your customers gives them the comfort that they are your only customer. Additionally, it gives them the assurance that you understand them and what makes their industry tick.
A friendly business colleague once said: “People don’t buy from you because they understand you, they buy from you because they feel understood.” They feel good that you understand their business. You appreciate why they do what they do and you identify with why they need the equipment or the product that you sell. They like that when you design a new product you are thinking about them and the unique piece of the marketplace that they fill. Having CRM isn’t going to get you an understanding of their business. However, spending time in their industry, spending time researching their products and getting to know your customer will!
Who is CRM Built For?
CRM is built for businesses that have multi-layers of customer service. Many people are helping that business, and there may be many people on the job. Alternately, if it is just you, a computer program isn’t going to replace that handshake or that afternoon leaning on the fence talking about beef prices. That late lunch where YOU picked up the tab and listened to your client talk about his passion will pay off more than some software.
CRM isn’t going to give you the listening skills it takes to close that deal over the big box store. They offer more services and usually for less money. Sure a CRM will help you not miss a lunch date or forget a follow-up call, but what customers really want is to be heard. For more information on understanding your customers and closing the big deals, contact V12 Strategies.