If you are running your business in a disorganised manner using spread sheets and post-it notes, it might be time to consider a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

A CRM system is a tool that will integrate your sales, marketing and call centre functions, ensuring employees work together and share critical information. If used correctly, it can help to generate sales, reach potential customers and improve your profitability.

A system can be set up on a computer network or accessed via the internet. The latter is a more cost effective solution for smaller IT businesses and is more flexible in that it can be accessed remotely and from a wireless device. Here are just four ways in which a CRM system could benefit your business:

Keeping Track of Leads and Customers

Paper based files and even programs such as Excel can be difficult to manage and it’s easy to let opportunities fall by the wayside. A CRM system allows the user to follow leads and customers in an organised and proactive manner. A CRM system will help to ensure that every lead moves through the sales channel, from first contact.

Helping your marketing efforts

A CRM system will enable you to build up a detailed picture of each customer. You can categorise them according to likes and dislikes, spending patterns, age, location and gender. This in turn enables you to segment your customer base into groups of buyers with different budgets or tastes. Once you have identified your various groups, you can target them with marketing messages and offers, devised especially for them.

Building Customer Loyalty and brand awareness

Acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining existing ones. A CRM system can help you to build loyalty by staying in constant contact. Customers will remember you and you will stand out from the crowd.

Identifying cross selling opportunities

Every customer has the potential to purchase more – whether that’s a different product, or more of the same. A CRM system can help identify potential cross selling opportunities to new, existing and previous customers.

Now, more than ever, it is essential we nurture and retain our customer base. Implementing a CRM system could be one investment that really does make a difference. Knowing, understanding and predicting what customers want now – and in the future – is vital to business success.

There are several hosted CRM systems specifically designed for small businesses. Many of these applications have different features that will be better suited to an IT business than others. Before you select a program, it is important to take time to evaluate it and ensure your team is comfortable with it.

Whatever package you choose, making it accessible to everyone is vital. Limiting it to just sales staff means you could miss other opportunities across the organisation. Some systems can be costly so make sure you shop around.

This post was written on behalf of iComplete – Business Services & IT CRM experts.

Shannon Morris

Shannon Morris is the full-time editor for Blogs 6 Community sharing her thoughts on health, latest news buzz and shopping hacks and product reviews with site visitors.

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