“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 you own a business and you've never heard of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, your probably thinking that your doing just fine without one. This is probably a quite common conception amongst business owners.
But I don't think it would be quite as common or as easy to find people who own a business and have used CRM systems that would go back to their old ways of managing their customer data.
This can be the difference that sets your business apart from its competitors or how your competitors set themselves apart from you.
What Can It Do?
CRM systems allow you to easily build a list of your customers, this list then becomes your Database. Once you have a database of customers you can,
- Track your customers, by tracking them you can build a profile and see how often they visit your website, how often they spend money on your website and how much they spend. This data can be very useful in helping you learn more about your customers behaviour.
- You can then send your customers special offers depending on what they are likely to want. You can target large amounts of customers with the same email and save your self a lot of time.
- You can track emails so that you can see who is interested and who is not, again helping you work out what customers are interested in your product or service.
- See what pages they viewed on your website and this will help you get a better understanding of what your customer needs are as well as what they are interested in while on your website.
If it sounds like to much effort, don't worry most people don't like the idea of change. But these CRM platforms are built so that you can gradually implement its features so it doesn't have to be one major change. Its gradual development and the more you use it, the more you will work out how it can work for you.
This can be used in both retail and service industries as it is just helping you understand the customers who are interested in what you are offering.
How Much Does It Cost?
How much does this type of system cost is the same as asking how long is a piece of string? The answer is going to vary in a lot of cases depending on factors such as the amount of customers a business has and what tasks the CRM platform is carrying out for a business.
Luckily there are free CRM platforms such as HubSpot, Insightly and Zoho to name but a few. These free platforms allow you access to some features and give you an opportunity to get used to using CRM databases.
If you want to grow your database and start using more of the features that they have to offer, then it will not remain free. But by this stage you will know if it adds value to your business or not and this will enable you to make a decision.
These systems really do make the difference when it comes to keeping and building relationships with your customers.
Below is three examples of popular CRM platforms that have free versions.
Insightly - A CRM platform that is popular amongst smaller businesses. Its easy to use and includes features such as project management, task management and tracking which can be very use full for businesses of any size.
HubSpot - Has a completely free version available and again can be very use full for small businesses who want to keep a record of all of their clients and potential customers. HubSpot allows to set task and reminders to contact your customers which can be great when you want to have repeat customers.
Zoho - The last of the tree CRM platforms that will be mentioned. Again its perfect for small businesses, has a free version and can offer a lot of the same features as HubSpot with regards to tracking visitors to your website and lead nurturing (maintaining a good relationship with customers).
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