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Enhancing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Small Midsized Businesses (SMB) : Smart CRM Strategies, Tactics, and Solutions for SMB Growth
Small to midsized businesses (SMBs) become successful by truly understanding their customers and being responsive to customer needs. They deliver a superior Customer Experience from initial contact, to sale, delivery, and post-sale service. It is their prime marketplace differentiator. And customer relationship management (CRM) software has become critical to SMBs by automating their ability to identify profitable sales opportunities and to develop customer loyalty and lifetime value, including social media referrals. CRM applications, combined with SMBs’ business savvy, makes SMBs more competitive in an often challenging market. Still, there are business, economic, and vendor technology challenges in turning realization into reality. How SMBs respond when implementing CRM and deciding on the right applications could well decide their future.
CRM Trends The following are several trends that are shaping the use of CRM and the design of CRM applications today:
- CRM focus shift. Businesses are changing their CRM use priorities from sales, then support, and then marketing, to marketing and sales in tandem, followed by support. As a result, SMBs achieve higher profits by targeting customers whose requirements and budgets fit best with their products and services. Abetting this strategy are the customers themselves targeting specific companies to engage. There are more productive sales lead qualifications, faster closings, greater customer satisfaction, loyalty, and referrals. There also is reduced customer service and support costs. Customers are experiencing fewer issues with their products and services now that they’re getting more aligned with their needs.
- Strategic social media use. SMBs are now turning to CRM tools to “social prospect” – surfacing prospects’ career, demographics, interests, location, and purchase information from their social content. They are enhancing customer lifetime value (CLV) by uncovering, assessing, and tracking customers’ social influence and referral values. SMBs target the top social influencers with specific content or offers, and measure product use across demographics. They quickly spot their strongest brand advocates and ensure they stay loyal and engaged.
- Stronger solutions. CRM applications aimed at SMBs are becoming easier to use, more functional, with added integrations and workflows. They supply deeper insights into customers and sales staff performance. They now permit any mobile device access and data inputs from multiple sources. CRM for SMB applications often now feature marketing automation, sales acceleration, and integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Hosted CRM applications have given SMBs more affordable and flexible access to features once only available with expensive and enterprise-targeted on-premise delivered solutions.
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