How CRM Can Help Your Startup Grow

james_lloyd-townshend.jpg

 

 

Starting a business is exciting, but many businesses can find it difficult to gain momentum once they’ve opened their doors.

No startup wants to be a startup forever, and for a business to succeed, it needs to keep growing. However, a huge percentage of startups fail to generate enough revenue to keep them afloat; on average, around half of small businesses don’t make it past the five-year mark, with approximately one in five bailing out before their first anniversary.

Startups planning to expand their businesses should have a clear, actionable plan to foster growth, and at the heart of that plan should be their customers. Customers are the bedrock of any business, and putting them at the centre of your strategy is the first step to developing a prosperous operation.

Luckily, there are tools available to help burgeoning companies do just that, namely CRM; a type of software that helps manage your relationships with your customers, build your base, and bring close more sales.



How can CRM help startups?

When it comes to business, the old adage rings true; knowledge is power. A CRM brings all of your customer data together into a unified, accessible platform, giving your sales team a 360-degree view of their customers, and making sure you’re utilising that information in the most effective way.

From data management and marketing to lead development and customer service, a CRM is a one-stop shop for everything you need to carry a customer through your sales funnel.
  
There are many areas to consider when mapping out an expansion plan for your business — you need to consider not only how you’re going to increase your sales, but how you will market your brand, and how to maintain a consistent level of customer service as your business grows. With that in mind, here are five key ways that a CRM can help your startup thrive.



Improve productivity

Having data scattered across various systems and channels is a recipe for disaster — gaining a complete picture, or a ‘single source of truth’, is essential to efficiently managing your business. A CRM centralises all of your customer and sales information, meaning your salespeople have access to everything they need to do great work, all in one place. In turn, a structured sales process will help generate more revenue, and ensures that your company’s service is consistent.

Consolidating your data and processes into one platform will also be useful when it comes to expanding your team, by creating a knowledge bank to help new employees quickly get up to speed with your way of working.

Many CRMs even use machine learning and AI to automate workflows and time-sucking tasks such as data entry and generating reports, giving you more time to focus on the important things that will take your startup to the next level.

How do you know if you’re ready for a CRM? As a general rule of thumb, if you’re dealing with more than 10 leads at one time, then you need a solution to help you manage those leads. But if you’re still not sure, take this quick quiz:

 

 

Tap into new markets

Breaking into new markets is one of the fastest ways to grow your business. Huge shifts in the way customers communicate and consume means businesses are having to update their acquisition strategies.

Expanding your customer base today often means positioning your company so that your target audience can find you when they need your products or services. To that end, social listening, SEO, and inbound marketing are just some of the most effective tools in a startup’s marketing arsenal.

A good CRM will include the features you need to master all of these approaches, developing customer awareness and establishing your brand in the process.



Offer great service

Once you’ve found your customers, you need to work on keeping them. Repeat business is the most cost-effective way of generating revenue — it’s always easier to sell to an existing client than to a new prospect.

As a startup, you are in a fantastic position to offer outstanding, personalised service to your customers, and a CRM can help you deliver that.
A CRM tells a story with your customers’ data. Each client’s history is detailed within the platform, tracking every interaction they’ve ever had with your company. Without a CRM, it would be near-impossible to keep abreast of all of these touch points.

 



Knowing exactly  how, when, and why a customer has engaged with your startup will allow you to tailor your service and marketing to each of them individually. No customer wants to be bombarded with generic messages; a CRM lets you create a bespoke sales process, eliminating any potential duplicate or crossover messaging, building trust, and creating a better customer experience.



Level the playing field

Where once business software was the domain of enterprises and big box companies, the advent of cloud-based services has democratised the market, giving businesses of all sizes access to tools that can help them compete in their channels.

No matter where your business is in its lifecycle, if you have customers, you probably should be using a CRM — you can be sure that your peers and competitors already are.



Analyse, evaluate, improve

The majority of CRMs have extensive analytical and reporting capabilities, so you can get an accurate, real-time overview of your startup’s health.

A startup can only move forward by looking for opportunities for growth, and the best way to find those opportunities is to take a good hard look at what your business is doing now. With a centralised hub for all your sales and customer data, you can see where you’re excelling,  and identify areas for improvement, as well as ensuring any future decisions you make are informed and data-driven.

CRM can also provide much-needed scalability when expanding your business. Having a software solution that can grow with you means you won’t be met by any frustrating shortcomings, or time-consuming upgrades when your business is trying to meet additional demand.

Growing a business isn’t easy, but implementing a CRM system could help make sure your startup becomes a success, and not another statistic.