CRM for Small and Medium Businesses

The needs for a CRM Application for a small or medium business are often just as complicated as those for a large company. There are usually differences in a) the number of users that need system access, b) simplified functionality and c) less technical skills/capability/people in the business to bring the solution to fruition.

There are six key steps for an SMB to consider.

  1. Review the CRM info on our site
  2. Review vendor shortlist
  3. Ensure vendors can meet your needs
  4. Shortlist two vendors
  5. Conduct and evaluation

Key things to consider at this stage include

  1. What are the business drivers behind the CRM Purchase (e.g. increase revenue, improve customer service)
  2. What functionality do you need
  3. Identify whether you have a preference for a cloud or on-site solution

The CRM Shortlist

In terms of vendors, you will note that our recommendations will usually consist of:

  • Large and Profitable software companies
  • Companies with a large number of customers across many industries
  • Companies with an extensive range of partners and services options

This is for important reasons:

  • Choosing a CRM system is a business decision with expected system lifetime of 5-8 years
  • Software companies only survive if they can grow their new customer numbers - that funds R&D for new functionality
  • They are more likely to be viable and improving the products in 5 years time

Prove a Vendor meets your needs

Conduct one-on-one meetings with these vendors/implementers to explain your company’s needs and requirements.

Focus on who they have as references customers in your industry and of your size. This ensures that they understand your industry and the key areas of functionality needed to make the solution a success. Have the vendor setup conference calls or site visits to companies they have worked with in the past.

Shortlist two Vendors

Once you have conducted the initial evaluation of vendors on your shortlist, you need to cut that list down to the top two vendors. Who can your work with; who do you trust to be with you over the long haul? (A typical CRM system may be in place for 5-8 years.)

Although you may have a strong preference for a vendor early in the evaluation process, it is important to keep an open mind. In addition, it provides you some leverage during negotiation.

Conduct an evaluation

This is the time when vendors will need to prove that they can fulfil your CRM needs. Review and compare how the different vendors’ applications work and map to your internal business processes.

Draw up a list of key attributes that you are looking for and score the vendors against the attributes. The Implementers will often have these available and will use them as resources to guide you through the evaluation phase.

Choose a vendor and deploy your CRM Solution

Once you have all the information you need, you will finally be able to choose the best CRM vendor to meet your needs.

Choose the vendor and commit to a partnership to get the implementation right. Commit the ‘brightest and best’ resources to the project. Give the project team support and authority to make decisions on behalf of the company. This is the best way to ensure a successful implementation.


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Date posted: 2014-12-15 | Comments(0)

Do you need a CRM System?

The buying, installing and running of a CRM system is an important move in a company’s development. It signals to staff and customers that you are moving forward and have plans.

With this comes the added responsibility of ensuring that the system helps to add-value to your business.

Studies show that on average, companies using CRM software grow their businesses at a rate 2-3 times faster than those that do not. But you need to ensure that the system is in place for the right reasons – this guide aims to help in clarifying those reasons.

What is your high-level need?

Business is often about problems and the reason you visited our site is that:

  • You have a problem
  • You hope that CRM will fix the problem, but you are not sure
  • You need to understand what CRM can do and if it can fix the problem

In our discussions with customers, vendors and analysts CRM systems are usually put in for two reasons:

  1. Opportunity 
  2. Productivity

In some cases the Opportunity cannot be addressed with current systems and processes without hiring lots of new staff, so Productivity is also a driver.


CRM can help you to grow your business, to be more efficient in winning and managing customers.

A CRM can help companies to better manage growth. This may mean moving from spreadsheets and databases to running the business in a CRM system. The information in the CRM is ‘up to date’; there is no “which version of the forecast are we looking at” discussion. This is often called “the single source of truth”.

There are different sets of opportunities for different departments in the business.

In B2B environments a common set of functions for sales is called Sales Force Automation that can include:

  • Account Management
  • Contact Management
  • Territory Management

These help sales staff and managers to target, acquire, sell and manage relationships with customers. This means that managers can:

  • Identify target Companies
  • Develop plans to generate business Leads
  • Assign the best sales staff to manage Opportunities
  • Optimise pricing offers to close Sales
  • Manage Customers for long-term relationships

In many businesses, marketing is often an after-thought – something that is done with the limited energy left after all other tasks have been done. Marketing is often thought of as advertising and brochures, but with a CRM system marketing should have a major role in your business. A CRM system will allow your sales and marketing team to work together, with marketing ‘preparing the ground’ for your sales people to have discussions with prospects, customers and partners. They will have an integral part to play in the five-step sales process above.

Examples can include marketing sending an email to customers on the introduction of a new product. They can then identify and measure which customers went to your website as a result of the email – these can be prioritised for follow-up by sales.

CRM systems also have the ability to record conversations with contacts and accounts. This can be extended to call-centre functionality. All telephone calls outbound or in-bound can be recorded. They can record the discussion with the customer, address and answer the question or gather more information and raise follow-up flags.

In summary the CRM software consolidates all customer information and processes into one, holistic view of each customer. This enables customer-facing employees in sales, marketing and customer service to make quick, informed decisions on everything from cross-selling and up-selling opportunities to target marketing strategies and effective problem resolution.


Sometimes a company has grown quickly and they realise that future growth is hampered by the ways they currently do things. A common issue ...

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Date posted: 2014-12-15 | Comments(0)