At Focal, we are blessed to be working not only with large organizations but also smaller ones that offer services in specific verticals; financial, education, construction etc. I am passionate about CRM/CX, enjoy working with smaller companies and helping them optimize their CRM processes. It is interesting that whenever I talk to senior management at small businesses about their CRM initiatives, I often get one of the below responses:

  • They are too small and they believe they don’t need a CRM system.
  • They say that already have one in place. Typically, after a discovery session or further discussions, I come to know that it is not really a modern CRM system but just a system/tool to manage their core internal operations;
  • They are too busy to learn/implement anything new.

Having worked with a number of small businesses, I believe that the adoption of CRM systems in small businesses is low for various reasons:

  • Wrong notion: unfortunately, the concept of CRM is often confined to large enterprises. Often, there is a preconceived notion that CRM systems are very expensive, which is not true. Think Zoho (start free) or Salesforce Group Edition.
  • Limited exposure to the key trends: exciting things are happening in the CRM/CX space. Platforms such as Hubspot and campaign capabilities in LinkedIn are providing the right tools/platforms for marketers/sales folks to get the word out, engage customers and understand them better.
  • Limited resources: Often, there are no marketing resources. Senior management relies on sales folks to grow the business but they are already swamped and have no time to research on industry trends, social engagement etc.
  • Limited Productivity tools: sales professionals are often on the road with customers, partners etc. They need the right applications and tools to be able to close their deals and deliver remarkable experiences to their customers. Unfortunately, most of these tools are limited to large enterprises either due to cost or other reasons..

For small businesses to grow, they should adopt a good CRM system (one that fulfills their marketing, sales and service needs) as early as possible. This will ensure that there is at least a centralized customer database to begin with, which will facilitate better collaboration amongst sales and service teams. When employees get habituated to the use of a CRM system, senior management can help them improve their productivity by providing the right tools that integrate with the CRM system.

The world is getting more and more customer centric every day.  If a CRM system is not adopted (starting point), the damage could be huge and small businesses could end up getting even smaller..