Small Businesses Need to Embrace CRM Software
A recent survey by Software Advice revealed that the vast majority of small-business CRM buyers are still looking for basic contact management, with 62 percent seeking a standalone application for sales force automation (SFA). That’s no surprise. SFA is typically the first step for businesses to organize their customer data and track customer interactions across the sales funnel. As such, it’s long been the first thing small businesses look for when it comes time to adopt a real CRM technology strategy. Small business however face some challenges when it comes to implementing a sales structure or process for managing leads and the sales cycle. They may lack experienced sales management and the majority of lower cost CRM solution providers cannot offer assistance here. One firm that does is Commence Corporation, manufacturers of Commence CRM. Commence has been providing sales automation solutions and sales best practices to the SMB community for more than two decades. Industry articles and product reviews traditionally only talk about a product’s features and as a result, companies like Commence that offer consultation and best practices for improving sales execution don’t get much mention.
Of U.S. buyers seeking an integrated suite, 88 percent want a combination of sales and marketing automation. So small businesses are increasingly looking to implement a full, end-to-end CRM solution. They want to better align marketing with sales and enable sales reps with access to lead nurturing data and interaction histories from across the sales pipeline. This means growing opportunities for vendors that offer a broader small-business-centric suite of sales, marketing and service applications. Very few low cost CRM solution providers offer an integrated sales, marketing and customer service solution. Two that do include Salesforce.com and Commence CRM mentioned above.
When we asked small-business CRM buyers why they were evaluating software, the most common response was that they were simply interested to learn more about how CRM software in general could help their business, or about how more robust systems might improve upon their current solution. This is consistent with Gartner’s research as well, which suggests that an increasing majority of buyers are citing “self-driven information search” as their most preferred method at every stage of the buying cycle. This highlights the need for CRM providers to ensure that they’re in a position to be found when buyers research potential options—whether through search engine optimization, content marketing, driving B2B software reviews or other inbound marketing efforts.