Randomly escalating operations can pose many managerial issues for small business owners. Every single penny needs to be accounted for!

While expanding the infrastructure in terms of human resources and other overheads is a costly option, many business owners have successfully turned to enterprise CRM solutions.

These project management tools help them become more efficient, competitive and profitable. Overall costs are reduced and scalability doesn’t seem like a steep mountain to climb anymore.

However, business owners often make the wrong CRM choice.

The kind of CRM you opt for depends greatly on your business niche and the actual requirements. No two businesses are the same.

Project management needs can vary from project to project, team to team and organization to organization.

The CRM you choose must provide the following benchmarks across any business niche:

  • Increased collaboration
  • Higher team morale
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Improved product quality

Agile Project Deployment

For small business owners, enterprise solutions that provide highly agile project management are always better to opt for than traditional services. Traditional software is less flexible in approach and adds to the overheads for small businesses.

Thus, they are hardly beneficial for small businesses that cannot afford to spend a lot of time in planning.

Solutions like Zoho Salesforce, HubSpot Sales and others help filter down inbound marketing channels and sales pipelines and reduce errors and anomalies by nullifying human error on all the back-end pipelines.

Heidi Melin, who is the CMO for Eloqua states:

CRM focus is just on the operations within the pipeline and what moves through the pipeline. That front end of the process from inbound marketing all the way through direct hand off to the sales team is a really critical part of the process and is where marketing automation focuses.

3 Pin Point Reasons for Choosing an Ideal CRM for your Small Business

They are:

#1 Improved Order and Management

Most small businesses turn to effective CRM solutions to boost productivity and filter out roadblocks to enhance performance in a cost-effective way.

It helps in maintaining a centralized workflow. Issues like misplaced documents, scattered communication and improper estimates are cut out, as human error is negligible.

Teams can communicate and collaborate better. Project layouts linked with the cloud assist in remote collaboration and improve productivity exponentially. Tasks are assigned, deadlines are tracked, and consistent metrics are developed and reported.

Without an effective CRM solution, barriers and roadblocks pop up and often affect final product quality. This happens because timelines get stretched as teams fail to stay in focus and implement coordinated efforts.

#2 Enhanced Remote Collaboration Decreases Overheads

We are seeing all time high figures globally when it comes to freelance employment, remote jobs and independent contracts. More and more small businesses opt for such freelance professionals as they generally provide a more dedicated effort at much better costs.

An effective CRM communication helps in establishing a virtually connected team that can easily delegate, collaborate, share responsibility, engage with customers and maintain all deliverables. This calls for a project management tool that everyone can access and use, irrespective of their location.

#3 Automation Reduces Error

A universal dogma that cannot be ignored!

If startups have dedicated sales and marketing teams at all, they tend to be light and agile. These high performing teams work quickly on projects that entire teams might manage at bigger companies.

To do so, it requires intense focus. So, the more tasks they have to take on, the less focus they get to exercise, and this takes a toll on performance. Those means extra minutes sales reps spend manually logging call notes, creating post-call tasks, entering one lead’s information, and then searching for another’s, could mean less time spent preparing for their next sales call.

That is why as businesses scale up it becomes increasingly difficult to get the team performance peaking. Also, hiring additionally can prove to be highly risky when expanding.

A case study of eLOBE using Vtiger is a great story of how project automation with CRM achieves efficiency. eLOBE is a business development services company for large B2B software and service firms located in US and Europe. They started with a phase a sustained growth but their traditional CRM proved not to be a worthwhile solution in the long term.

Rife with issues, the CRM resulted in periodic lapses in access to critical sales and engagement data. This affected marketing and sales efficiency. Therefore, it started looking for a solution that could provide high availability and adaptability to its marketing and sales processes.

What they essentially needed was:

  • High availability
  • Ease of customization and Implementation
  • Customizable sales and marketing workflows
  • Custom lead segment lists
  • High level contact and deal views

eLOBE opted for Vtiger CRM on-demand. With this framework, it revamped its operations and leveraged the CRM’s free customer support feature.

Using comprehensive task management features, workflow automation and segmentation tools, and eLOBE engaged with more customers and started giving improved customer experience.

First and foremost, it achieved a 100% cloud-based, paperless infrastructure at no extra cost. Next was a 25% increase in marketing productivity followed by improved segmentation and communication. It gained access to globally available system, adapted to a complex lead nurturing process and has been using the CRM avidly ever since.

Hence, automated solutions that can take care of data entry and retrieval so that professionals can focus more on direct product verticals, customer engagement & service and business planning. Automatic data entry from emails, ready to use email templates, auto call logging, automatic task creation, and global search are just some of the automation that save time.

Your choice of CRM should be goal oriented.

Although, we have established that fact that CRM solutions can be highly effective for small businesses, it is important to note that the current business climate is dynamic, complex and evolving consistently.

There are numerous challenges to face. Demands keep fluctuating and the budgets and resources are always tight. It is therefore essential for them to optimize every aspect of business, especially project management.

Traditional Project CRMs can prove to be Fatal

It is simply because they don’t meet the problems of this smart business ecosystem. Usually task driven and predictive, there are not powered by Big Data based machine learning algorithms that improve and upgrade as your business grows.

Agile solutions are more adaptive. By facilitating constant communication between teams and collecting consistent data they provide ideal solutions for cross-functional teams like developers and graphic designers.

They are helpful for businesses that have flexible environments like a freelance firm, businesses that need to provide instant delivery and those that need such platforms for direct engagement with various stakeholders.

Traditional project management solutions have a ton of roadblocks:

  • The major focus is on the process and not on the end result
  • Comprehensive documentation is mandatory and time taking
  • Planning is rigid, dynamic action is restricted
  • Due to the rigid nature of contracts there is minimal incentive in teams.

However, these loopholes seem to be nullified with effective CRMs with these features:

  • Focus is on interaction and communication
  • Product development is the priority
  • Flexibility and dynamic nature of outflow
  • End users are of prime importance

For successful adoption, infusion and long-term usage of any CRM, businesses need to carefully plan the introduction of the framework within the organization.

Owners should first familiarize themselves with the solution. This also includes senior managers, key executives and project managers.

One must also assess the readiness of the organization to accept the solution. Therefore, identify and evaluate whether different organizational forces can assist in the transition to such a framework.

It depends on many factors. You have to assess whether your organization values creativity and innovation over stability or not. Are they willing to make independent decisions or are they capable to do so?

Endnote

Effective CRM is technological leverage that you as a business owner need to exploit. Agile approaches are best suited and value innovation over traditional procedural benchmarks.

The final decision depends solely on your specific business requirements. Personally speaking, if you are looking for solutions that improve your offerings, product quality and overall team potential along with keeping external stakeholders in the loop, then effective CRM solutions are the way to go!