When working with small businesses, they often suggest that they are not able to invest in CRM technology. And they might be right if they only look at big software and big projects. However, many of my clients, even some with fewer than 10 people in their business, have made CRM investments that have made a massive difference in a way that continues to give them a great return on investment.

What if your CRM solution could help you acquire more customers, keep and deliver more value to the customers you already have, or save you an enormous amount of admin time?

Clever investments – not only in technology but in making sure the technology is used well, making money for smart businesses every day. Some examples I have seen include:

  • A small sales team that massively increased their conversion rates by having a high focus on repeatedly following up on business. Ensuring that every salesperson’s open transactions were visible to the team and their manager meant that valuable business wasn’t slipping through the cracks due to a lack of timely follow-up and support.
  • A membership business that increased retention rates by linking all their member data together to understand what renewing customers were doing or getting that resulted in a renewal rather than a cancellation and automating additional communications to help members so that they wanted to stay. This was even linked with automatically generated tasks for the team to follow up personally at key points.
  • An education business that moved online and was able to use information about course registration and participation to cross-sell into other courses and different products.

None of these examples require high-end software and huge IT teams. They do need a thoughtful selection of the right technologies and a plan for implementation and usage to drive value.

The thing is to choose solid products that suit your needs now and at least a bit into the future. For example, businesses that mainly need to manage mailing lists for newsletters and similar content often choose “freemium” products like Mailchimp. Which is a solid product, but when you out-grow the free version, you quite quickly find yourself paying a premium-level price, which is not great if you still need the basics (just for a few more subscribers). In this case, you might have been better going for something like MailerLite. Almost every marketing CRM gets more expensive when subscriber and email send volumes increase, but something like MailerLite doesn’t go up quite so quickly!

Similarly, some of the headline acts of the CRM world, like Salesforce, seem a great idea; you might have used it in your corporate sales job and be quite confident with the product. Buying Salesforce might be a great idea to start as you mean to continue, investing in a baseline for your fast-growing start-up. If you are a small business that wants to stay in its lane and only expects to manage sales deals, the first few levels of Pipedrive might suit you at a lower price.

Every CRM solution I mentioned here is good software and is the right answer for some businesses. Yes, there is some truly terrible software, and it usually doesn’t get too far. These examples are all established products that are important parts of the big CRM market. The key is knowing what is right for you and what will give you value now and in the future. And for many businesses, using CRM software early on is a game changer in driving growth. Don’t wait until you have an entire IT department to help; there is probably a CRM that can help you achieve your business goals today – at the right price.

Are you making the most of the capability of CRM solutions today? If you are considering a CRM solution, have a look at my e-book that shares tips and tricks to avoid the 5 most common CRM mistakes