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CRM – Why it’s important to SMEs

1 - Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has grown in popularity over the past 10-15 years. There’s a train of thought that it’s a technical solution only for large enterprises. How accessible is it for SMEs?

It may come as a surprise if you thought CRM was just for big corporations with huge sales & marketing teams, but the truth is that you don't have to be big to benefit from CRM. So, the question SMEs are urged to ask themselves is not ‘should we be using CRM?’ but rather ‘why are we not using CRM?’. There are so many CRM solutions on the market nowadays and some are specifically tailored for SMEs. Besides they are very affordable and reasonably easy to implement providing people are keen to embrace a new philosophy of work.


2 - What can SMEs gain by using CRM?

A CRM platform enables you to manage the enquiry across multiple channels without losing track. Today’s customer might raise an issue in one channel – say, Twitter – and then switch to email or telephone to resolve it in private. CRM is a business strategy whose outcomes optimise profitability, revenue and customer satisfaction by implementing customer-centric processes. A CRM strategy cannot be developed in isolation. It must be relevant and linked to the overall Company strategy. On average, Companies using a CRM system experience: Better customer relationship by 56%; increase in Sales by up to 37%; Sales Productivity by up to 44% and finally Forecast accuracy by 48%.


3 - What would you recommend SMEs consider when implementing a CRM system?

My key advice would be to Start small, Think Big and Move quickly. Besides, Companies should become customer focused and be prepared to adapt their culture by encouraging innovation and collaboration. Without this kind of approach, a CRM strategy would get delayed or collapses at worst. Let’s remind us that technology, in this case the CRM system, is only the “tool” to manage customer relationships but the real enabler is “people”. Using the 80/20 rule, I would say that 80% is about people and only 20% is to do with the technology used.


4 - Could CRM help with the new EU data protection GDPR?

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most significant change to European Union (EU) privacy law in two decades to bring this in line with current technologies. This applies to all organizations handling the data of EU citizens and GDPR regulation will come into force from 25 May 2018. Brexit, by the way, will not matter. So, in line with the new directive, internal processes will need to be more detailed and ensure greater transparency. Using a CRM system is definitely a significant step towards being GDPR compliant but more will depend on the capability of Companies managing their customer information. SMEs that don't currently have their email marketing service integrated with CRM should look to review these processes now.

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