Guest blog contribution from - Womply

You’ve probably heard the term “CRM” tossed around, but what does it mean and why is it important for small businesses?

CRM stands for “customer relationship management,” which is just a fancy way of saying “improving every touchpoint with customers.” CRM has become one of the largest and fastest technology categories because pretty much every large or mid-sized company uses a CRM solution like Salesforce or HubSpot.

If big companies are using it, shouldn’t there be CRM for small businesses? The answer is unequivocally yes.

What does customer relationship management mean for small businesses?

For small businesses, any effective customer relationship management strategy must address three key touch points along the customer journey:

  1. When customers are searching online for places to spend money locally
  2. When customers are in your place of business
  3. After the customer leaves — you have to stay top of mind to encourage repeat visits

Everyone thinks about how to improve the customer’s in-store experience, but very few understand the importance of taking control of the customer relationship before and after purchase. These days, these interactions happen primarily online, which makes them hard to manage without a CRM software system.

Compounding this problem is the fact that there are very few CRMs designed specifically for small, local businesses. While 9 of 10 larger businesses use CRM software[1], only 1 in 3 small businesses do[2]. That’s primarily because small businesses have different needs than big ones, especially when it comes to building better customer relationships.

The Zero Time and Zero Data problems

If CRM is so popular and valuable, why haven’t more small, local businesses started to use it? Simple: lack of time, and lack of data.

Think about the average day for a small business owner or operator. He or she wears many hats, spend most of the day in a customer-facing role, and works long hours with few (if any) staff to rely on.

So, how does a small business obtain the customer data needed to run CRM software when they spend all day trying to serve their customers and run a business? The short answer is, they can’t.

At Womply, we call these the “zero time” and “zero data” problems. It boils down to this: if you don’t have time, you can’t get customer data. If you don’t have data, you can’t use CRM software. If you can’t use CRM software, you’re at a major disadvantage in attracting, retaining, and satisfying customers.

Think about it. Even if every small business were given a free Salesforce license, most of them wouldn’t be able to use it because most simply don’t have the information necessary to populate it—they don’t keep a thorough list of customers, don’t have the tools or knowledge to track customer interactions, and can’t append important data points like spending patterns or contact information.

The “zero time” and “zero data” problems widen the already huge gap between small businesses and big businesses who are working (and spending) their hardest trying to win customers in local markets. Without access to relevant data, and CRM software to make it useful, local businesses are fighting an uphill battle.

What’s more, even many CRMs intended for smaller businesses require multiple hours of work per week manually inputting customer addresses, gathering email information and other relevant data, and managing marketing campaigns. Small business CRM software should automate most if not all key tasks to keep owner/user inputs to an absolute minimum, and save busy small business owners as much time as possible.

Small business CRM software can unlock the true value of your transaction data

Any business that accepts card payments has access to one key piece of data: customer transactions. But, think about your credit card processing statement. How useful is that on its own?

Silicone isn’t very valuable as a raw material. When it’s transformed into a wafer for computer memory, it becomes extremely valuable. Similarly, your transaction data becomes exponentially more valuable when it’s expressed as customer and business insights via small business CRM software.

What does your revenue look like on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis? How do you compare against your competitors? What are your best sales periods, and which need more attention? Are your customers primarily “regulars” or first-time customers? Do they spend relatively little money per transaction? Or do they come in once a year but spend hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time?

Without the right software to organize and interpret your transaction data, the answers to all of these vital questions and more are simply guesses. However, when combined with intelligent CRM software, your transaction data gives you the best view of the way your customers interact with your business—and allows you to target them for effective email marketing.

Use intelligent CRM software to illuminate every customer touchpoint

It’s clear that small businesses need a CRM that solves the zero time and zero data problems, and turns a data asset they already have—customer transactions—into something much more valuable and actionable.

Womply CRM automatically creates and updates your customer list, adds contact and transaction info, and allows you to send marketing emails so you can build a stronger customer base—even if you don’t have customers’ email addresses.

Unlike traditional CRMs, Womply CRM accounts for the zero time and zero data problems and helps you take control of every customer touchpoint, from the consideration stage to building loyalty after the sale:

  1. Get found by more customers searching for businesses like yours with reputation management
  2. Know exactly how your customers are interacting with your business and how it impacts revenue with an automated customer directory and business intelligence insights
  3. Keep customers loyal with just a few clicks with automatic email marketing

If software can help you improve your online reputation to attract more customers, track every interaction with customers, and get in touch with them after they leave the store, that’s the essence of CRM—and a game-changer for some of the busiest entrepreneurs in the world.

Through a special agreement between Womply and Authorize.Net, Authorize.Net customers can take advantage of an exclusive offer and get their first month of Womply CRM free. Click here to learn more or visit https://www.womply.com/authnet/.


ABOUT WOMPLY

Womply’s mission is to help small businesses thrive in a digital world. Our AI-powered data platform enhances our comprehensive small business management software, which includes the world’s only pre-populated CRM plus small business intelligence, reputation management, marketing automation, and integrated payments. Every day, we serve more than 150,000 small businesses across 400+ verticals, in every corner of America.