As a Virtual Assistant who helps freelancers and small business work smarter, finding systems and processes that improve organisation is one of my special talents. (The other is making an excellent cup of tea with my eyes closed, but that’s not really relevant right now, is it?). In this quick guide, I’m going to answer the question ‘what is CRM?’ and give you a brief introduction into how you might use a CRM system to benefit your business.

What is a CRM?

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is the strategy and process of nurturing client (and prospective client) relationships. Effective CRM can help businesses improve the way they handle leads, sales and ongoing client relationships.

What is a CRM system?

A CRM system is the software companies use to make customer relationship management easier. It’s a system that stores data in one central location, making it easier for multiple team members to manage an account. An online CRM system with cloud storage also makes it easier for businesses to access their client data from anywhere, at any time.

How can a CRM system benefit small businesses?

It makes selling easier

When it comes to sales, knowledge is power. The more you can track and record your clients’ likes, dislikes, preferences, questions, enquiries and desires, the easier it’ll be for you to meet their needs.

It can grow with you

As your business grows and you bring on new team members, your CRM system will expand to accommodate more clients and contacts. You can even get bespoke systems that are designed exactly for what you need.

It can help you to be social media aware

Smart CRM systems can help you keep track of your clients’ activities on social media, making it easy for you to understand more about who they are and what they need.

It can be cloud-based, meaning you’ll be able to access your data from anywhere

Forget business cards or a spreadsheet that can only be accessed from one location. With a cloud-based CRM system, you and your team can get access to your data whenever, from any device.

Which is the best CRM system?

There are loads of CRM systems on the market, many of which would likely suit your needs. Finding the best platform for you means finding one that provides all the features you want at a good price. The standard features you would expect from a good CRM system include:

  • Contact management – a way of organising and storing customer data in one central location
  • The ability to assign and track tasks – set yourself reminders or delegate a task to someone else
  • Easy to use – it should be a smart, quick system that’s easy to navigate
  • Scalable – it needs to be able to grow with your business, allowing for more contacts and increased functionality as your needs change

Some of the more advanced features you might find appealing are:

  • Reporting and analytics – for spotting patterns, trends and behaviours that can help you to better understand your clients
  • Social media management – to track your clients’ activity, including likes, dislikes, shares, and interactions
  • Email tracking – for keeping score of your open and click rates (check that it integrates with your mailing system)
  • A mobile version – for updating your entries on the move

Email me at sadie@sadiefinch.com to let me know what features you’re looking for. I’d be happy to recommend the ideal system for you.

How much does a CRM system cost?

Depending on what your needs are, the price can be anywhere from free up to over £300* per user, per month for an advanced system. The free versions are usually a great place to start if you’re a small business. For help setting up a new CRM system, email me today at sadie@sadiefinch.com, or find out more about my CRM set-up and support service.