Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is no longer just a sales and marketing software but has gained recognition as one of the standard business processes imperative for a successful enterprise. While most MNC’s and larger companies have embraced CRM, start-up’s and SME’s still believe it to be an investment that can be debated and even dropped.
Affordability and accessibility still seem to be factors obstructing the SME’s and Startup’s to embrace CRM. These are now set to change with the arrival of Cloud Computing and the invention of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) concepts that are set to make CRM technology more affordable and accessible to masses. Further, the conception of CRM as just a tool to boost marketing and sales is also being transformed, with newer frontiers and sectors exploring the potential of this technology.
Sanjeev Nimbkar, Vice President, Insight Business M/c Pvt Ltd. commented, “Customer Relationship Management is one of the very important aspects of any business organization. More than mere understanding the live business opportunities, it also helps in providing several insights about the health of sales function which in turn helps boosting the organizational revenue, including Monitoring Active Opportunities, Understanding the stagnant opportunities and identifying remedies to correct them, Understanding Consumer Trends, Identifying & Monitoring campaigns and charting out clear forecast for Revenue projections, Organizational Growth and redefining focus areas. Besides, CRM applications also help automating several operational aspects, like managing an organized client database, product inventory and pricing etc., thus help in increasing the productivity/efficiency.”
Listed here are significant yet so far ignored contributions that the CRM tools can make to the start-up and SME’s enterprises:
Networking is a key for businesses, especially for SME’s and start up’s. Most of these rely on multiple sources for networking, including employees. Converting these networking opportunities into tangible business leads is the next vital step to success. However, with multiple people involved, keeping track of the contacts and conducting effective follow-ups can be tricky. With CRM, not only is there a recorded contact but the development of that into a lead can be well documented and shared with all to ensure there is no delicacy of efforts. Further, it would also help timely and professional follow-ups for these leads, resulting in an effective business generation.
- Investors Funding Opportunities
As a start-up or an SME, funding plays a major role in the scale of success for your company. Such funding opportunities, like networking, sometimes come in unexpected timings. Using CRM, these can be efficiently recorded and tracked using appropriate filters so as to follow up on them when required. A potential funding opportunity can make or break the success rate of the company and thus, accurate handling of these contacts is imperative.
- Internal transparency and collaboration
With automated data, startups and SME’s can use CRM to create transparent work procedures that encourage collaboration, trust, loyalty and motivate employees to work together as a team, creating a strong task force to forge ahead in business. It also ensures better productivity, efficient performance and faster rate of growth for the company and its employees
- Smooth Employee Transition
Accurate and timely entry of records using CRM technology ensures the process is well regulated and transparent. This helps during a time of employee transition, a process quite frequently heard of in Start up’s where employees join and leave frequently or when there is a frequent change in roles. During such events, CRM helps to ensure the line of work does not suffer and there is no room for errors or misgivings when the new employee is handed over the task.
Growth is paramount in the minds of entrepreneurs and an effective CRM system is the best tool one can equip oneself with for the purpose. With effectively managing marketing and sales, networking and funding opportunities and a robust performance management systems, CRM can help automate a pattern of growth. Ensuring all areas are well connected and operate smoothly in tandem with complete transparency, scalability cannot just be achieved but can be effectively planned and measured.
- Building brand & reputation
Even as a start-up or an SME, building a positive brand reputation is vital. Using CRM efficiently can lead to setting up of an efficient standard business process and system at the early stages of your business, such that it helps build trust, reliability and customer loyalty, from inception. Some key factors instrumental in brand reputation building are strongly entrenched in the basic principles of CRM. These include ensuring commitments and deliverables are clearly communicated and followed up, facilitating personalized customer interactions, Tracking consumer loyalty and providing prompt response to feedback, streamlining an almost automated sales and delivery pattern and lastly boost brand awareness and reputation on the online platform, using social CRM, to connect with customers.
Commenting further, Tushar Shah, Director, Paths Group noted, “Generally CRM is perceived as a tool for centralizing all the data and to manage customer experience. However, if used appropriately, CRM can also prove to be an excellent market research tool. For most SME’s and start-up’s, every activity/ initiative for businesses comes within a budgeted expense, rarely leaving any leftover margins for elaborate and expensive public surveys and vital market research through independent agencies. CRM can help tremendously here. All one needs to ensure is an accurate input of data and one can unlock an array of intelligent insights into consumer behavior, market trends and campaign success etc., through data backed predictive analysis. Thus, CRM can help SME’s and Start-up’s make informed decisions instead of taking uncalculated or random decisions based on loose facts or external recommendations. Thanks to CRM, I have been able to successfully move from IT assembling to become a Solution provider and thus I would say that if used to its full potential, CRM can be a catalyst for SME business growth”
Adding more, Limesh Parekh, CEO, Enjay IT Solutions, said, “We all at Enjay are determined to be #1 in Indian CRM market. The only way to be successful is to make our customers successful by providing not just the best Technology and support but also effective training and innovation to ensure our clients can make the most out of our services. Moreover, as an Indian CRM service provider, we take pride in understanding the unique requirements our clients and their target consumer markets, thus offering the perfect, tailor-made solution to Indian SME’s and Start-up’s. Since inception, Enjay has been making relentless efforts to provide meaningful innovations in product and services in the field of Sales CRM, Mobile CRM, Integrated CRM on mobile and web platforms and Helpdesk and Call Centre Solutions. As a result, we now cater to not just SME’s and Start-up’s but also enterprises. It will not be before long that the Indian businesses will realize the potential and successfully implement CRM for exponential growth and expansion”
By implementing CRM from inception, the Start-up’s and SME’s have an opportunity to set up an efficient and productive business process that will be instrumental in their success. Further, with IaaS and SaaS, CRM is more affordable and accessible to implement and manage. Effective and timely use of CRM can help the enterprises to not just increase their rate of success but can also prove to be a major boost, reducing the turnaround time for the company to break even and transform into a larger business.