We’ve all heard that in order to grow a business you need to put systems and processes in place to enable the business to operate smoothly. But as with much advice it can often be easier said than done. While many businesses are able to effectively train staff to perform their role, it is still often the overall business that suffers from disconnects, over humanised administration and lack of data; resulting in huge losses in both profit and time.
Often the key to really enabling a business to reach its potential is a good Customer Relationship Management system or ‘CRM’, but unbeknown to many business owners is how far these systems can go. In days gone by CRMs were simply expensive diaries of contacts – not any more. Increasingly a good CRM for your small to medium sized business can operate all of your billing and invoicing, payment reconciliation, opportunity and sales management, customer and project management, intranet, resources and so much more.
Larger CRM systems really engrain themselves in your business and were historically only available to large enterprises and corporate operations with the alternative for small business being low end database solutions and worst case scenario an Excel spread sheets. Now with the increase in cloud computing, there are several affordable systems in the market that not only provide a huge return on investment for SMEs, but enable the SME to have fully features CRM solutions at a much more affordable levels. This provides the benefits of managing the business end to end.
These next generation CRM solutions, such as Xeus CRM provide a wide range of functionality, while still focusing on delivering value to SMEs without all of the unnecessary ‘corporate level’ features that add such overwhelming cost. Dipak Pankhania from Plug and Play commented; ‘If you’re looking at enabling staff to work together more effectively and perform functions without the business owners intervention, then putting a ‘system’ in place just got literal. With an online solution you too can really drive your business forward knowing that both your admin and your operations are being effectively managed.’
The key to the success of such systems is the effective customisation and implementation in the business, while delivering on affordability at the same time. However this isn’t the end of what CRM can do for your business. Such systems can really enable you to continue your customer relationship online directly through your website with a customer login area where the customer can interact with your business through one point of contact. This has enormous benefit, enabling you to reduce bad debt by offering online payment for invoices, take reoccurring payments by Direct Debit, and manage support requests. Here you can control the flow of communication between several members of staff and one customer contact, sharing large files, gathering better customer data and enabling your business to make more of the customers it already has.
Whatever your business, a good CRM can save you time and money, while enabling you to focus on increasing revenues and operating more profitably.
This article was written by Dipak Pankhania, Director of Plug and Play Ealing.