Make a Super Bowl Impact on a Small Biz Budget with CRM Jessica Lunk Some things in life – like million dollar Super Bowl ads – seem designated for big business. And while Super Bowl ads aren’t always super effective, what small business wouldn’t want to make a huge splash in front of 100 million viewers? A Super Bowl sized advertising budget may be out of your reach, but technology has made it easier for small businesses to compete for customers on the same level as the biggest business players. Large corporations are using CRM technology to: Organize their customer contacts Keep tabs on customer relationships Automate administrative tasks Track every stage of the sales pipeline This level of technology used to be out of reach for small businesses, because SMBs typically don’t have access to a technical resource to implement enterprise software, or the bandwidth to train employees on complex systems. But things are different today. SaaS technology removes the need to invest in hardware or employ technical expertise. Now small businesses have access to the same tools larger companies use. In fact, 6 million small businesses purchased their first cloud service last year. But is a cloud-based CRM solution right for your SMB? As a small business owner, you may have a close relationship with your customers at the moment. Maybe you know which of your customers need to be handled with care, and which ones are fans. But as more people buy your product or service, it will become more difficult to keep tabs on relationships and manage contact data. You’ll hire more employees. You’ll add new product lines or diversify your service offerings. Soon, customer knowledge is scattered, and data becomes a little more complex. That’s where a small business CRM can add tremendous value. CRM helps companies to scale up without increasing their resources and grow their customer base without losing the personal relationship they have with their customers With a small business CRM: Information is shared across your small business. For example, sales can easily check that a customer doesn’t have an outstanding complaint with support before upselling a product. Busy work – like creating a task to follow-up with a new opportunity, or scheduling a reminder to ask for feedback after a support call – is automated, keeping everyone in rhythm and on track. This frees up time for revenue-producing activities and reduces the need to add to your workforce. With customer and prospect information in one place, it’s simple to see how many leads, opportunities, pending and closed deals are in the sales pipeline. A clear picture of your sales pipeline means that you can focus your efforts at the top or bottom of the funnel accordingly. More customer data allows for better decision making and more accurate sales forecasting. Just as a video of your cat can go viral on YouTube to reach a Super Bowl level audience, small business CRM can help SMBs reach customers just as effectively as large businesses do. But maybe viral videos aren’t the best analogy. They are really more of an art than a science, and usually require a bit of luck. A CRM, however, can help you add and support more customers without adding more employees, access better data about your customer base, and make a calculated, measurable impact on your small business. Just like big businesses do.