We often use the term “small business CRM” or “simple CRM” when we talk to some of our potential customers but when it comes to small businesses, most of them really need just a contact management solution. The reason we use the term CRM is because it conveys a bit more than contact management. It suggests that it comes with the required business processes to take small businesses to the next level. And this is what most small business owners are looking for. They are usually at the stage where they have managed to grow their businesses up to a point where they’ve outgrown the simple business processes they have used before. They have more employees or perhaps they outsource the sales or marketing to someone else and they need to have visibility of what’s going on in their business while ensuring that everyone in their team is up to the high standard they are looking for.
CRM though is generally just a tool that helps you implement your business processes, but these are something you, as the business owner, have to design because you know what’s best for your small business and how you want to grow it further. A business process is just a fancy way of saying “the way you’re doing things”. When you have employees or when you work with freelancers or outsource work, you need to think about the way you want these people to operate. It does help to write down a few sentences of what’s expected, a basic workflow they have to follow, especially when they need to interact with other employees or sub-contractors.
Once you have these few sentences, you can use a simple CRM or contact management app to implement these business processes. You can start using the CRM as a shared repository of customer intelligence, customer communications, previous sales history and general collaboration between your employees and contractors.
It’s not rocket science, but we feel the term CRM conveys more of the right attitude of understanding your own business, defining your business processes and be on take charge of your small business destiny. Ok, maybe without the melodrama.