By Duncan Stockdill

Businesses are primarily built on relationships. Every interaction your business has with a customer is an opportunity to evolve that relationship. And customers that have strong relationships with their business partners are likely to stick around a lot longer than those that don’t.

You can gather data from your customer interactions and analyze it to optimize operations and create competitive advantages. But this doesn’t work unless you have a standard procedure and platform to make this happen. A customer relationship management (CRM) system makes it possible for organizations of any size to manage these customer interactions. And it’s not just an enterprise-level must-have. Every company – small or large – needs a CRM system in place. One could even argue that CRM systems have a bigger impact  on smaller businesses.

If a customer is working with a smaller business, they’re likely to expect  a closer relationship than if they were working with a huge corporation. If you don’t have a CRM system set up to manage those relationships, you could quickly lose the trust and business of your current customers.

Utilize integrations

When  you spend a ton of time and resources getting leads, you want to close them Without a CRM system, 79 percent of all marketing leads are never converted to sales. That’s a pretty shocking number, and reason alone to invest in a good CRM tool as soon as possible. Time is of the essence when converting leads so it’s essential to connect your marketing tools, like email, social, and marketing automation, to your CRM system.. This will give both your sales and marketing teams a complete view of leads and prospects so they can create customized and engaging communications plans to turn those prospects into customers quickly.

Relationships are #1

Having a deep understanding of your client’s business should be a top priority. Why would a company want to spend money paying someone for services when they don’t feel like their account manager understand their business? A CRM helps you understand your customer,  it gives you deep insights as you analyze your interactions. You can figure out what your customer’s goals, challenges, and preferences are, you can show them you care,.

Save money

The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent, but the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent. While new customers are a key ingredient for growth, they’re not easy (or cheap) to come by. You can offset new customer acquisition costs through upselling to your existing customer base. Since CRM systems keep track of all sales, it allows you to understand what products are often purchased together, and the order products are generally purchased in. You can then analyze all of the existing opportunities and spot a good fit for add-on deals.

Enhance employee productivity

52 percent of high-performing salespeople identified themselves as power users who take full advantage of their companies’ CRM  technology. Adopting the right technology frees up your teams from admin and process-focused tasks and gives them more time to understand  and build relationships with customers. It increases the likelihood that customers will stick around longer and use more of your services. Automation across sales, service, and marketing will free up time for your employees so they can spend more time nurturing those important relationships.

Service is still priority

55 percent of consumers say they would pay more for a better customer experience. Even the very best product is only as good as the service that accompanies it – before, during, and after the sale. Figure out what your customer wants and deliver. When the entire team has access to the history of the client, it’s easier to provide personalized messages,solutions, and the right resources to make your customers happy. Authentic interactions build trust and encourage repeat business. It also helps with customer retention, a major pain point for most SMBs.

CRM systems are essential for all businesses, especially those in the SMB market. If you’re already investing time and money in the technology, make sure all of your employees know how to use all of the features available, this will maximize the impact it has  across your organization.

Duncan Stockdill is a founder and CEO of Capsule. Duncan looks after marketing, product and design decisions, guiding the team to deliver a world-class product that helps thousands of businesses around the globe. @DuncanStockdill, @CapsuleCRM

CRM stock photo by Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock