Small Business CRM: Tips For Using CRM To Increase Sales

As CRM adoption becomes more natural, questions are still asked regarding usage. In 2012 it was reported 80% of implementations were seen as failures which is partially due to the technical background of those doing the implementation, when a commercial background is beneficial. For small business CRM, the knowledge is available for how to best optimize chances of success.

What Can Small Business CRM Do For Me…?

PowerWe know there are a host of benefits (we cover this in the linked article) to using CRM. Ultimately, it comes down to 3 categories:

  1. Improving customer relations
  2. Improving productivity
  3. Increasing sales

If you are an independent business owner or have a small sales/marketing force, then it is a natural progression to use CRM to help with your daily and campaign activity.

Of course, there are many different solutions available to you. (Near 200 at the last count.) The good news is that, for the most part, the features and benefits are the same. We would always recommend or Zoho as a robust, customized solution.

Knowing that the potential is there for improving sales, marketing and customer service, to be successful with small business CRM, we encourage five things:

  1. Customize
  2. Standardize
  3. Integrate
  4. Use
  5. Use an Administrator

Why Data Is Important In Your Small Business CRM

In today’s world, we’re not sure we can think of a situation having the opportunity to making an informed decision about something is not beneficial.

Sure, the odd ‘impulse’ purchase or decision comes into play. However, more often than not we make decisions based on fact and insight more often than not.

For your small business, CRM can provide the information and insight that can help you reach the three goals outlined above. This is why we encourage customizing and standardizing the data you have in your CRM.

Custom Data

Customization refers to modifications that can be made to a CRM to enable you to input the data relevant to your business at a emptyBusiness, Contact or Opportunity/Quote level (as well as others).

When you have customized ‘Fields’ of information (for example, Industry, Lead Source etc.) you have the power of information at your finger tips. You can easily see what is working in your sales and marketing, where you are performing well and much more.

Picture this; you join several organizations where you hope to meet prospective clients. Each is likely to cost around $400 per year, if not more. If you have custom data you can track the return of investment from each organization by knowing which leads and customers were generated from which source. Powerful stuff, right?

One way to ensure you can use data and information effectively is to standardize entry.

Standard Data Entry

At Alderbest we offer Data Transformation and Cleaning services. To be honest, we hope we don’t have to do this for a business more than once. Over the years we have seen small business, and large Fortune 1000 companies, have the need to regularly cleaning the data in their CRM. This isn’t so much as the likely need of cleaning contact information to keep things up to date. Things are likely to change. It’s more because data entry isn’t standard so when the time comes for looking at information to see the ‘state of the nation’, it is not achievable because data entry is sporadic and inconsistent.

In your small business CRM, keep things consistent. Maintain standard entry rules. For example, billing addresses and contact information. Is it necessary to have them or not? If so, standardize the entry.

What Can I Integrate With My Small Business CRM?

Take advantage of all the developers in the world trying to make our lives easier. Most CRM will enable you to, at the least, integrate your email tool(s). If you use a solution like or Zoho, the opportunities are almost endless.

For most small businesses, the goal from CRM is to become organized, improve sales and marketing and see a 360 degree view of the customer. So, when thinking about integration think about what tools you use that are related to your customers. This could be other sales and marketing tools, project management, HR, Finance and other business systems.

We do recommend doing things in ‘phases’. Start with what you use daily, and rely on, then go from there. Sometimes things can get overwhelming and we don’t want to take a step back. Using your CRM effectively will push your small business in the right direction and we want to keep the momentum going!

And that, takes us on to a great tip for increasing sales with CRM; using it.

When Should I Use CRM?

Every day, and in real time if possible.

If your an independent business owner, put your ‘sales hat’ on for a minute. If you have a dedicated sales person, think as a manager.

It is recognized that typically most ‘sales people’ spend only 20% of the time actually selling. CRM is proven to improve productivity and help with the sales process. So, if you have small business CRM, then use it!

If everything is setup correctly and training has been provided, then using CRM should be simple. As with anything, keep an eye on the prize, be dedicated and you will see results.

Why Should We Use An Administrator For Our Small Business CRM?

Full disclosure, we’re biased!

Having a professional keep an eye on things for you, hold you accountable, keep things updated with software and industry developments and doing the ‘grunt’ work for you can be time saving and help you focus on what’s important. Running your business, maintaining contact relationships and generating revenue!

In reality, there will be modifications you need to make to your small business CRM. This could be something seemingly small, like add a new Field or Value to a pick list. It could be more complex, such as create a new tab or Object, add a new user or run an analytical report. Either way, an Administrator who can do maintenance work and provide sales and marketing insight is a valuable resource that is available.

It’s not like the world will implode if you don’t have an Administrator. Have the same thought process when making a decision as you would about hiring IT support, an Accountant/Book Keeper or other service provider.

That’s everything! Addressing these 5 tips can greatly improve the results you will see from your small business CRM adoption.