Customer Relationship Management
Every customer is important, from the first person who puts their trust in your business to the ten thousandth client who jumps on the bandwagon well after it has gathered a healthy head of steam. The only way to go from an unknown newcomer to an established force in your particular industry is to manage your customer relationships effectively. This is not just important for after-sales support; it also applies in the run-up to a sale, as well as further down the line when the time come to market your products and services to people you have successfully converted in the past. Turning one-time customers into loyal acolytes who come back for more is immensely tricky, unless of course you have the right CRM system at your disposal. Smarty offers an exceptional all-in-one platform for impactful, streamlined customer relationship management that will be certain to improve engagement, conversions and retention rates, giving your business a firm foundation to build on.
So you have a great idea for a business and the right team in place to make it a reality – but where do you find the leads you need to jump start your sales in those first days, weeks and months? Unless you’ve got a vast marketing budget at your disposal, this could be the biggest stumbling block that your start-up needs to overcome. Leads cannot be conjured out of thin air; they need to be generated efficiently, stored logically, prioritised appropriately and followed up on by sales specialists who have all the information at their disposal to get a good result from their efforts. For many emerging firms this can seem like an insurmountable challenge, especially with the amount of data that is involved in the digital age. However, a quality CRM will make this a doddle, allowing you to generate leads and take them to the next stage without any of the traditional hang-ups.
When you only have a few sales in the pipeline, managing the process of ensuring that they are fulfilled effectively is fairly straightforward. But unless you plan ahead, you might not be able to cope once demand begins to accelerate and more customers are clamouring to get a piece of the action. Sloppy handling of the sales process can be a bottleneck for entrepreneurs operating across a variety of marketplaces and target demographics. The only way to stay on top of this is to get organised early, ensure all the relevant information is being recorded and made available to those that need it, and where possible attempt to automate the more menial tasks while compiling and analysing key metrics so that they can be used to influence your future marketing and sales efforts.
When it comes to customer service, expectations are sky-high. Unfortunately it is all too likely that a small firm will miss a trick and overlook the importance of having a good support infrastructure available to prospective and existing customers. It is not enough to merely provide a range of contact options – a good business should also be responsive, respectful, approachable and most of all bespoke in its treatment of every customer and client. The generic approach simply will not work, but unless you have near-instant access to information about past interactions with customers to hand, you might end up earning their ire. Sales staff can flounder and support team members will be left looking foolish if someone calls or emails about a previously raised issue, only to find that there is no record of this and that they need to start from scratch. Likewise if follow-up messaging and marketing materials are not relevant to their interests or needs, customers will feel that they are far from special and barely valued by your business.
Prior to the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation in 2018, businesses were subject to fairly strict yet somewhat archaic legislation governing the way that they could use customer information. This led to a lot of confusion, a lot of complaints about privacy and a lot of concerns about how sensitive details were being collected, stored and used in the digital age. Today, with the GDPR in full force, no organisation of any size can afford to be behind the curve when it comes to data security. Furthermore transparency and honesty are key; if you want to avoid a steep fine and stay in the good books of regulators, being compliant with the latest rules is a must. However, for start-ups that have so many other plates to keep spinning in their attempt to gain traction, this issue can slip to the lower echelons of the priority list. Smarty CRM helps you stay compliant.
Management & Business Tools
A quick search for the high profile tools you need to manage a modern business can leave you reeling at how expensive a lot of the most popular platforms are. This creates something of a Catch 22 situation for emerging firms; you need to make money from sales to afford access to these cutting edge solutions, but you cannot get your sales off the ground in the first place without the right premium services at your disposal.
For a start-up, generating leads and collecting sales data is half the battle; the real struggle comes when you need to start crunching the numbers and converting the raw figures into a format that you can actually analyse, assess and use. Reporting is even tougher if your information is stored across several different platforms and being drawn in from a variety of sources. You may find that fragmentation is your biggest foe; one which it seems incredibly tough to defeat without a holistic CRM system on your side.
Run a Business from Anywhere
Contemporary start-ups, from sole traders and microbusinesses to firms with a dozen employees or more, need to be agile. This agility typically involves empowering managers and staff to work effectively wherever they are. Being tied to a single geographic location is liable to hobble a new organisation, even if it is hungry for success and equipped with the right basic ingredients to make it to the big time. Major players achieve agility by embracing cloud-powered services that are accessible around the world. A smartphone, tablet or laptop with an internet connection can be your best friend when you want to run your business on the move. The only issue is that you need to make sure you pick software solutions that take this into account. Securing complete flexibility and scalability is not possible if you are relying on legacy software installed locally on a single device.