CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a tool used to improve a company’s relationship to existing customers, as well as reaching out to new potential ones. These communication improvements are designed to enhance the overall quality of the customer experience. A CRM tool can also be used in the communication between business partners, sales customers and colleagues. Gathering all contacts in one single platform will provide a clearer and better organized work surface, from which numbers and valuable statistics can be easily obtained. If used with a project management tool, a CRM can provide new and more effective sale strategies without having to invest large amounts of money in conventional marketing research strategies.

Is a CRM tool the right choice for my company?

If the services provided by a company rely on regular contact with its customers, the implementation of a CRM is highly recommended. Such a system can be applied to all, or individual parts of the workflow. There are different options that can be considered, depending on the specific needs of each company:

  • A CRM software can be used as an analytical tool for collecting and processing customer information: in this case, the system will acquire and evaluate all customer data (such as transaction data) and use this information to establish specific target group characteristics or migration tendencies.
  • This data can also be used for implementing further marketing strategies, such as market segmentation. In this case a CRM tool should be used as an operational system.
  • Communicative customer management relationship tools are designed to facilitate communication within the company and outside of it. These tools help to bundle the different channels through which customer contact takes place, such as telephone, e-mail or any other online medium. This way all information about the current communication status will be available to all relevant employees.
  • Collaborative CRM can be particularly helpful in facilitating communication between departments and other internal processes, such as information exchanges with outsourced instances and sales staff.

What is to be considered?

There are a few relevant questions that need to be thoughtfully considered before implementing a CRM tool in a company. Which particular areas of the company could benefit from the CRM system? For which of these is the implementation of the system definitely necessary and for which optional? Which new strategies would a CRM system allow? Who will be entitled to access the system and how should authority levels be assigned?

Companies without an own server or IT departments should consider a cloud-based solution when choosing the right CRM system. This way the reliable functioning of the system can be guaranteed. Cloud-based solutions also offer more flexible options when it comes to accessing information. All stored information can be obtained on the road, during business trips or meetings outside of the company.

Small businesses come in all sizes and shapes. Some take the form of mom-and-pop convenience stores while others nationwide present family business. Some are made up of two founders who work out of a garage while some others have hundreds of employees working in an organized setup.

But, there is one thing which unites all sizes and types of small businesses. They embrace technology with open arms. They understand that technology is a driver of growth and its usage is inevitable to scale their business rapidly.

What are the technologies that every small business must adopt to run at a pace that they desire? This post answers that question. Here are a handful of such technologies to get you started with.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System

According to Salesforce SMB Research Infographic, growing SMBs are two times more likely to use a CRM compared to SMB laggards. The infographic also reports that at least one of out of every 3 SMB uses a CRM to better manage their customer data.

The benefits that a CRM system can bring to a growing SB are numerous:

  • Access to connected data
  • Better understanding of customers
  • Sales pipeline monitoring
  • Automation of routine tasks
  • Single repository of all customer information
  • Analytics and data reporting for business efficiency

Undoubtedly, a CRM software is a must adopt technology for small businesses that want to know their customers better and also sell better.

Cyber Security

66% of cyberattacks are aimed at small business  ~ Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report. There are two things which makes small businesses a juicy target for hackers. One, they are growing at an aggressive rate. They do have considerable amounts of data like customers’ credit cards, personal information and credentials that is worth stealing. Second, small businesses do not give cyber security as much importance that a large scale enterprise would be giving.

They assume that they are too small for hackers. The expensive price tags of security measures also discourages them from ramping up their cyber security defenses. But, there are penny-wise cyber security measures like RapidSSL certificate which helps to secure a small business’ online transactions. SSL certificates encrypt the data that is coming and going out of the business website, thus keeping the raw data safe from being stolen or hacked.


Statista estimates that by 2022 global spending on Public cloud IT software (SaaS) and platform services (PaaS) will touch $216 Billion. Cloud has become the default choice for every IT endeavour. From deploying applications to hosting data centers, there is infinite opportunity in the cloud.

Cloud helps small businesses achieve massive cost savings required for IT infrastructure. In fact, it is cloud which enables small businesses to rapidly scale their services without being bogged down by upfront costs and rigid infrastructure.

Small businesses that want IT agility, flexibility and scalability must move their operations to the cloud. SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) are the popular options that can be used to scale a small business.

Enterprise Mobility

Mobility is culmination of people, technology and processes. It is not a standalone technology as such. Small businesses need enterprise mobility to cater to the growing demands of two sets of users – one, the business users themselves and two, the customers.

Enterprise mobility helps employees to use a wide variety of devices and applications to work from anywhere they are at any time they wish. For customers, it offers an omni-channel user experience which is not restricted to any fixed channel. A classic example is a mobile app.  Employees can use a mobile app to raise tickets for their office administration purposes. Customers, on the other hand, can use a mobile application to track their orders, make payments, get product updates and much more.

Enterprise mobility broadens the scope of usage for several stakeholders thus making it easy for small businesses to scale their customer base rapidly.

Machine Learning

Machine learning, which is a subset of Artificial Intelligence is wrongly assumed to be the forte for only large business houses. The truth is, there are several machine learning applications that small businesses can leverage to deliver better customer service, make data-driven decisions and also automate routine tasks. The end results are obvious – easier customer acquisition and retention, cost-efficient decision making, proactive customer service.

Some business operations where SMBs can deploy machine learning include conversational interfaces (chatbots) for customer service across social channels, data visualization, data modeling for customer profiling, setting rule-based billing, understanding customer intent and so on.

Mixed Reality

Mixed reality is the umbrella term used for real-time experiences that are created using a merger of physical environments and virtual objects. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are the two most popular mixed reality technologies.

  • Virtual reality places users in virtual environments where 3D objects respond to the user’s physical gestures.
  • Augmented reality on the other hand, places digital objects over physical objects when they are viewed through a screen.

Both these mixed reality technologies can be used by small businesses for a wide-variety of purposes like giving customer demos, showing artificial replicas of personalized products, virtual tours of products and so on.

The days ahead for SMBs

SMBs need to embrace new-age technologies with a feverish passion to step up their offerings. From revamping their services to offering superior customer service, there is so much that technology can empower a small business with.

contact management

Contacts (which could be leads or customers) form the heart and soul of any business. The all-important goal of any business, regardless of size and industry, is to retain customers and keep cross-selling and up-selling while finding new ones. Finding new leads through lead generation helps you fill the top layer of the sales funnel and expand the business. Whether you like it or not, few customers eventually drift away from your business. Hence, it’s important to steadily acquire new leads and have a good chunk of old customer data in hand.

Relying on spreadsheets and emails to store your contact list could be the worst thing for a business to do. Why? Because it is an old school technique which is not a good fit for today’s dynamic business environment. Why spreadsheets are not an option for your business?

  • Spreadsheets involve manual entry of data – Businesses today need more efficient systems to create, capture, share and consume data in the most effective way
  • The data in spreadsheets is more siloed – Businesses need robust tools to manage data from various sources and put everything at one location, a centralized address book
  • Spreadsheets cannot analyze data or deliver information – A smart solution should analyze the data and produce information

So how do you keep the company contact information safe?

The solution for all the above issues is to have the contact data in a contact management software that allows automation, integration, and tracking. It gives a complete view of customer information, customer activity, contact details, communication history, social media activity, on a single page. Let’s look in detail at the benefits of contact management software for businesses.

  1. Pull and sync contacts across platforms

You can have a well-organized contacts book if the data is low. But as your business grows, so will the number of customers and keeping a track of hundreds of contacts across different platforms is not an easy task. Contact management system imports the contacts from email, mobiles, social media and also allows you to export them to other platforms easily. The idea is to cobble together your entire contact list and build a single source of information. Few contact management tools even allow you to scan the business cards and pull the data.

  1. Run a quick search for information

Contact management software (CMS) compiles complete information of all the contacts and provides an efficient way to pull it at any moment. It keeps you ever ready for those surprise calls from a customer or prospect, so you can easily sort and search their data. A contact’s email address on the search button can give a full record of when the last call or email interaction happened, what the interaction is all about, and what should be your next step. This is one way of searching for data.

Sometimes you need to make a more advanced search to filter and pull a categorized list of contacts for the next email campaign – even this is made pretty easy with CMS. And did you know that you can save these search results? You can absolutely do that, just define the search criteria, give a name and save. You can define the search based on different criteria – like the type of lead score, buyer persona, campaigns, touchpoints, prospect conversion actions etc. For instance, make a search for all of those contacts which belong to a particular industry, designation, location, and find your ideal profile and run a campaign exclusive for those contacts.

  1. Track the user behavior with analytics

The most interesting part of any business is to learn about their customers, what they do with your emails, which pages do they refer to the website, what part of your website pulls their attention. Wouldn’t that be great information to sketch your next move? Contact management software when integrated with CRM gives you the actionable insights into customer and prospect activity on the website, mobile app or email.

Analyze the customer’s interests, web patterns and get a full report along with real-time alerts. Web behaviors help you check the buying pulse of prospects which could impact directly on conversions. If a prospect has spent an hour or more on the product’s page, he might be in the awareness stage, so you can email product catalogs or comparison sheets his way. Analytics tell you which page a customer is interested in, time spent on each page, on which page they left the website, customer’s location. This allows you to target the right content to the right set of audience.

  1. Dwindle your emailing efforts

The traditional form of email is a thing of the past since emailing has changed over the last 20 years. The new technology of email has changed the way businesses run. Now you don’t have to panic in sending 1000 or more emails in a day – CMS does this for you with ease. Sending bulk emails through CMS is easy and quick, just prepare a list of contacts with email content and click ‘send’. CMS reduces the efforts and time involved in emailing. You can also clean the contact list (remove the email addresses) based on the bounced list of email addresses.

  1. Listen to the social interactions

In today’s world, if there is no ‘social’ element added, you are missing on lots of potential data for the business. CMS pulls the social interactions of every contact from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and puts the data in one place. These interactions guide you to what customers are saying about your products or services, gives you a chance to get involved in the conversations and respond to their questions. A deep insight into these conversations can also help you in enhancing the product features.

  1. Improve customer experience

When you have all the customers’ information, web analytics, purchase history, demography and more, you are well informed and prepared to respond to their queries. This helps in making better conversations now that you know your customers and their behavior. When you proactively address customer issues before them mentioning it, you win their trust.

The #1 complaint of every customer is that they are asked to repeat themselves each time they call. Not anymore. Every employee in the company can now carry a single voice because all the departments can access and update the information in the contact management software, which will apparently reduce repetition. As a matter of fact, you can foresee the issue and solve it proactively. Customers will surely be impressed with the efficiency and timely responses of your representatives, thus enhancing customer satisfaction.

  1. Prepare for sales meeting on-the-go

A mobile contact management system gives access to all the customer and prospect information so that you prepare for customer meetings on-the-go. You can now take sales calls more confidently as well as update the meeting information as soon as you complete it. As soon as you update the data, management can take the call on their next step, so you don’t miss the lead. This becomes crucial when you are out of town for the sales/ customer meetings which are in a different time zones than that of the management. This boosts the productivity and maximises sales.

  1. Increase the return on investment

When customers are satisfied with your service, when you see more conversions, when the leads move quickly down the sales funnel, when sales team close more deals, you know that you have made a better investment. Contact management system drives all these by building efficiency to every department of the organization. It’s good to have a system that eliminates the administrative tasks of the employees so they can invest time in more productive tasks.

Not just that, CMS improves upsell and cross-sell opportunities because you know the customers well. You can also gain new customers through the word-of-mouth of satisfied customers. Many companies have benefited from CMS to upsell and cross-sell their products to customers.

A customer relationship management solution has an integrated contact management software along with various other solutions for marketing, sales and customer support. You can check for further information