#3 CRM - Keeping Customers and Growing Your Business

Posted by Sean Donnellan on Jul 19, 2019 4:17:08 PM

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

 

If your business is up and running, you know how hard you worked to get your first customers. But did you know that acquiring customers can be the easy part - keeping those customers loyal and making sure they return to do repeat business with you can often be much more difficult.  

However, existing customers can contribute significantly in helping you build a successful business - so it makes good business sense to manage these relationships  effectively. 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has been around for years but many small business owners don't consider it as an option as they think their business may be too small or just doesn't need it.

On the other hand, small business owners that use CRM software to track interactions and keep in touch with customers and/or prospect customers could not envisage operating without it

There are many options available for small business with a lot of providers offering free versions - what is key is to take some time and research what the best option is for your business.

We outline below some of the basic functionality included in most CRM platforms and include a couple of examples allowing you to compare and contrast to find the one that most suits your business. 

 

CRM Software - what it does

All CRM  platforms enable you to easily build and maintain a customer and/or prospect database. With this database you can: 

- Store customer details, product preferences, special requirements etc 

- Communicate with your customers easily and track responses to calls/emails 

- Identify visitors to your website and track their activity, building a profile of what prospect customers are particularly interested in

- Deliver email marketing campaigns in bulk to promote special offers, discounts etc

- Follow up with inactive customers that have not bought in a while or did not complete a purchase with a gentle reminder

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How Much Does CRM Software Cost?

How much does CRM software cost is the same as asking how long is a piece of string?

The answer varies depending on the number of customer records and the functionality within the platform. 

As I mentioned earlier, there are  numerous providers offering free versions - for example  HubSpot, Insightly and Zoho  to name but a few. These free platforms provide the functionality to get you started and see if it suits your business. 

We have listed just 3 free versions of CRM software below to get you going with your research: 

Insightly  - A CRM platform that is popular amongst smaller businesses. It's simple and easy to use and includes features such as project management, task management and activity tracking

HubSpot -  Free version is very intuitive and popular with small businesses who want to keep a record of their customers and potential new customers. HubSpot allows to set up tasks and reminders automatically

Zoho - Again free version is very popular and has a lot of the same features as both Insightly and HubSpot so it is really a matter of personal choice. 

 

Personal Data and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you process personal data as part of your business, then GDPR applies to you.

It is important to remember that:
 Customer AND employee data is personal data
 Storing personal data either electronically or in hardcopy constitutes 'processing' personal data and is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation.

There is a lot of helpful information available from the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland to make sure you are fully compliant with all data protection regulation

Find out more here

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Microfinance Ireland aims to provide information and support tools to help your business be successful. 

To see more Blogs with more valuable information for growing your business click the link. 

https://info.microfinanceireland.ie/existing/business

Topics: Start Ups, Business Plan, Business Plan Template