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Strategy

Should I be using a CRM? 4 Questions to Ask

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For most larger companies, it's not even a question. Because of the scale of their marketing and sales operations, they use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. In fact, businesses of all sizes are catching on, as 74% of U.S. companies now use this type of platform.

Still, we often get the same question especially from smaller businesses: should I use a CRM, or is it too much for the size of my operation? In the vast majority of cases, the answer is an emphatic yes. Despite some initial concerns, a CRM platform can help you improve and automate your communication, make your sales processes more efficient, and scale your business.

When faced with the question, do I need a CRM? These are the concerns we typically hear.

Question #1: Does Company Size Matter?

Yes: if you only get one new lead per week, you probably don't need a platform designed to automate your marketing and sales efforts toward your 52 new annual contacts. But do you really want to remain that small? What if your product takes off, and you need to scale?

That's what a CRM does. In fact, not starting with a great number of leads increases the ease of implementation, helping you build some initial automated processes that will pay off once more contacts enter your database.

You might feel like your company is too small now, but with the right marketing approach, it won't stay that small forever. When it grows, you need a software in place to keep growing with you.

Question #2: Isn't This Type of Platform Too Complicated?

If your current marketing process require manual entry, you may think of a CRM platform as a nuisance. For anyone who touches it, it means learning a new system. Is that complication for your everyday tasks really worth the effort?

The answer is a clear yes, because of how much a CRM can save in other areas. First, the right platform ensures data quality, helping to avoid duplication and shifting responsibility from individuals to technology. That, in turn, makes both responsibilities and daily tasks easier to transfer should an individual leave or take on a different role.

Question #3: Will My Marketing Lose the Personal Touch I currently have with my customers?

Especially small, neighborhood businesses may worry that automated messages lose the significance that personal outreach to each potential customer can provide. In reality, that personal outreach is not just difficult to scale, but also possible to duplicate using CRM data.

In fact, any attribute gathered in your contact database can be used for personalization purposes. You can dynamically insert a lead's first name or job title into an automated email, or segment your contacts based on these same attributes for more personalized outreach. As a result, your messaging can scale more easily, but without losing its personal touch.

Question #4: But What About the Cost?

Finally, none of the above matters if your budget does not have the room for an expensive platform. Fortunately, we have good news: a variety of free options are available for your business to start using immediately, requiring nothing but set up time and effort in order to improve your organization's processes.

In addition, it's important to note that even paid solution provide a significant ROI. In fact, one study estimated that businesses who use a CRM will gain $8.71 in revenue for every dollar spent on the platform. Even if you decide that a free solution is not the right fit for you, your positive return will be significant.

Learn more about customer relationship management with this free guide.

Still have concerns about the possibility of a CRM for your business? In that case, download our Beginner's Guide to CRM eBook to answer more of your questions. Of course, you can also contact us directly for help in finding (and implementing) a solution that will almost immediately improve your business efficiency without a negative impact on your bottom line.

About the Author

Jake Fisher

Jake Fisher is partner at Bridges Strategies. He specializes in inbound marketing, B2B sales and multicultural communication. He enjoys good food and bad golf. You can follow him on Twitter at @jakefisher