Trying to pitch “Customer relationship management” (CRM) to small and mid-sized businesses can be painful. From their perspective, if their company only has a small handful of customers, why would they ever need a dedicated system or process to keep track of them? Their spreadsheets have been working just fine.

Hopefully, their business will eventually skyrocket. Then what? Eventually, they’ll need to implement a customer contact management system that’s a little more organized than an explosion of spreadsheets. This could be an extremely overwhelming situation if it’s put off for too long.

A handy fact to consider is that 75% of sales managers say that using a CRM helps to drive and increase sales? CRM systems improve customer retention by 27%? You can’t really argue with numbers like that.

But What Is CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management, and it refers to software that helps companies track interactions with their future and current customers. The goal of implementing a CRM is to create a system that your sales and marketing teams can use to more efficiently and effectively to interact with prospects or customers. Marketing will often use a CRM to ensure that they’re passing the right leads to their sales team — a key aspect of developing a strong relationship with the sales team.

Salespeople utilize a Customer Relationship Management in a different way. They would use it as a way to source potential customers, communicate with them, and track these interactions over time. The ability to see the entire history of this potential prospect increases their productivity and efficiency.

Here are two groups that would benefit from having a CRM implemented:

  • Business to Business (B2B) companies that generally need to track customers and prospects across lengthy sales cycles and have the ability to track the prospects through the sales funnel.
  • Business to Customer (B2C) companies that would need to track considered purchases.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t companies that don’t fit within the two types of businesses above that wouldn’t benefit from a CRM system.

In order to reap the full benefits of a CRM, it’s important to choose one with the features that are right for your business both today, and in the future. Think about your company’s growth goals, and consider both your short-term and long-term needs when investing in a CRM platform. Keep in mind, a CRM is not only a financial investment, it is also a time investment for your sales and marketing organization. Picking the right system, implementing it, and enforcing best practices around it’s usage will pay dividends as your company continues to grow and scale.