August 7, 2013
Do small businesses really need CRM software?
The world is full of all kinds of software tools that think they’re indispensable. So how do you as a small business owner decide which ones actually are indispensable? It’s important to focus on just the ones that return considerable value, both because of the expense involved and because too many cooks inevitably spoil the small business broth. That is, you don’t want to be spending all your time learning and harmonizing different apps; you want to be gaining productivity right away. The small business CRM software space in particular has become very large and competitive, so CRM companies always have a reason why business owners can’t survive another minute without them.
You may be tempted to say that CRM software is yet another shiny-looking toy that ultimately isn’t worth its cost to small businesses. And the truth is, it can appear that way at first. Many small businesses start with something very simple for tracking their client data, for the excellent reason that the information they’re tracking is simple. The stalwart admin enters everything in an Excel spreadsheet, configures it in a way that works best for him or her, and updates it every day. Nobody else has to worry about it. But this is a strategy that will keep you small–probably smaller than you want to be.
Invest (Wisely) to Promote Growth
The advantage of CRM is that it keeps your information organized and easy to analyze, which makes your team more knowledgeable, quicker on its feet, and better able to make strategic decisions. That’s what will lead to sustainable growth. The more time you spend getting used to a particular process, even if it’s not the greatest idea to begin with, the more reliant your business becomes on that process, and the more fragile it is as a result. These processes also tend to be very quirky and specialized. Do you really want all of your business’s deal, event, and client information resting on a single person with a single (often mysterious) way of keeping track of it all? As you grow, and the information you track becomes more complex, it becomes more susceptible to risk, and the more dangerous homegrown CRM solutions become.
We don’t want to scare you with all this gloom and doom. We just want to point out that when you’re making decisions for buying and implementing software, you have to think about 1. what unique value it will add and 2. whether it will eventually promote growth and efficiency.