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CRM for young businesses – what key functionalities drive growth and success

Have you just started with your business? Or maybe you have already been on the market for some time and are planning the next big step for your startup? Are you thinking about global expansion into foreign markets? If you’ve found your way here, this is probably the case, and certainly, in the near future, all of this can happen. However, for this to happen you need the right tools to support not only you, your company but also your entire team in achieving your goals. So, if you are still wondering whether Startup and CRM are a good match, let me take a few minutes of your time to explain why CRM is needed in your company, what key functionalities you should expect from the system and its provider, and how you can effectively prepare for the search of a CRM tool for your business so that the software you choose meets its current and future needs.

Why do you need CRM?

Does your business, your employees, or perhaps you yourself have dozens or even hundreds of interactions with customers every day? Each of which is important in its own way? Does every customer expect to be the centre of your attention, with you remembering every email and phone call? Do you care about strengthening your relationship with your customers and retaining them effectively? If you have just said YES three times, it means you are at the right place on the path of your business development. A properly tailored CRM solution can only help you grow it further and achieve success. How?

A CRM system is a solution that will allow you to collect all information about your customers, structure it appropriately and manage it effectively from one place. Consistency of information, its transparency, and accessibility for you and your employees will mean that instead of spending time on acquiring knowledge that already exists around you, you will be able to fully focus on the customer, and thus put him at the centre of your company. This approach will allow you to strengthen your relationship with your customers, thus translating into increased customer retention and increased trust in your company, which is an extremely important point on the map for many startups.

Your customers expect value

However, in order for you to deliver value to your customers, you must also ensure that your business functions properly on the operational side. This is where you need to look at the second dimension of the CRM solution. In addition to storing customer information, it will also allow you to optimise processes within your company, thus increasing its efficiency and profitability. And maybe now you think that your start-up is just a few people, but imagine what can happen when you take off like a rocket and your business starts to take off. You’re unlikely to have much time to optimise your processes then, are you? So, no need to wait, start improving your processes from day one. Remember that even a brilliant idea without its effective operational execution is still just an idea.

The result of this equation, which involves putting the customer at the heart of your business and at the same time taking care of the operational efficiency of your business, is increased sales and growth of your business. Have I convinced you that a CRM tool is necessary for your business? Let’s now move on to find out what specific functionalities you should expect in a CRM system.

To fully benefit from the implementation of a CRM platform, you should prepare your team for the arrival of new tools. Read more about it here!

What key functionalities should your CRM system have?

From my experience as a consultant, I know that answering this question is not easy and usually “it depends”. Why? The functional scope of a CRM solution is dictated by the specific needs of a given company and its employees. However, my experience also allows me to point out a few key areas for users without which it is impossible to speak of a good CRM system.

Management of Marketing Campaigns and Leads

A CRM solution in your company should support marketing activities aimed at acquiring new customers. It should also structure further work with them based on a clear process and steps necessary to complete in order to convert them. 

It is important that the system also allows you to analyse data in the area of actions taken to acquire customers and the costs associated with these undertakings. Such knowledge will allow you to decide which marketing activities are really effective and which you should focus on now. And also – which are better to abandon because they do not bring the intended results. Make sure that your future tool allows you to manage the entire sales funnel in an intuitive way.

Contact Management

Effective contact and contact information management is the heart of any CRM platform. This means that this information should be easily accessible and transparent. That way you and your employees will be able to quickly access it whenever it is needed. 

A good tool should also allow you to add the already mentioned interactions with a person at their record level. That way you’ll be able to see all related events, tasks, notes, etc. from one place.

Task Management

Your CRM tool will, over time, become the place where much of your work and all customer information will move to. Therefore, you would want to be able to manage tasks in a simple and user-friendly way. 

It is important that your CRM solution allows you to keep track of tasks at the right granularity level, but also promotes their graphical visualisation and consolidation, for example in the form of a kanban view, where tasks can be moved freely between their statuses.

Reports and Management Dashboards

Your CRM platform will be a treasury of knowledge! It will be constantly fed with successive portions of information by you and your sales team. Thanks to effective reports using current data, this knowledge can be transformed into complex management dashboards that will support you in your decisions.

Mobile application

Data should be in one place, but you should be able to access it regardless of your current location. This is possible through a mobile application on your phone.

It is important that the app reflects most of the functionalities of the system, is clear, and has a high UX. Also, pay attention to whether you can use it without access to the network.

Email integration

Your inbox is the point where important information is exchanged and many interactions with your customers take place. This information and its content should immediately appear in your CRM system so that it is available to everyone who works with you.

How should you prepare and what should you consider before deciding on a CRM tool for your company?

I know from experience that the choice facing you and your company is not easy. Choosing the right CRM platform requires spending time analysing existing solutions and evaluating them in terms of your needs, pains, and development plans for your business. However, for this choice to be effective, you should consider the following areas and perform the following actions.

  1. Together with your team, identify needs, bottlenecks, and key inefficiencies in the process.
  2. Prepare a list of requirements indicating the priority of a given functionality for your company and its employees.
  3. Analyse available market solutions and arrange demonstration meetings with vendors. Get to know them and their value proposition for your startup better.
  4. Think long term. Pay attention to the following areas when deciding on a supplier.
    • Scalability and the ability to dynamically adapt to your needs as your business grows
    • Support from a trusted local partner.  Reduce the time you spend working on the system and focus on working with it
    • Extensive knowledge base and well-developed technical documentation
    • Integration possibilities with other systems
    • User Experience, User Experience, and once again User Experience

We know this can be tricky. Every startup is different and facing different challenges. This is a general take on some of the common issues that Startup companies might face. We are happy to help you by looking at your organisation’s individual challenges. We will also guide you on the right path in choosing the right CRM tool! Contact us!

Article by Michał Michnik.

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