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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) For Small Businesses

The customer they say is king. They are the reason for your existence as a business. But it is one thing attracting the right customers and it is another thing keeping or holding onto them. Therefore, coming up with the right strategy or approach to manage your customers is key to your business.

This fact clearly highlights the importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to all businesses. Customer Relationship Management may be defined as a marketing strategy that involves maximizing shareholder value through winning, growing and keeping the right customers. Big businesses have marketing departments that invest heavily into this strategy. However small businesses most likely don’t have a dedicated marketing department. This does not restrict the execution of this strategy to big businesses alone. It is open to all because the central idea is “The Golden Rule”. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. Treat the customer the way you would want to be treat if you were in their shoes.

Some affordable software packages that small business can use for their CRM include;

  • Insightly
  • vTiger
  • Really Simple Systems
  • FreeCRM
  • ZohoCRM
  • Raynet

They have free versions that have limited functionalities. The prices for their basic sign on versions range from $12 – $40 per user per month. Other package options are available.

CRM caters for both new and existing customers. They are both very important. However CRM prioritizes existing customers because;

  • It is more costly to attract new customers than it is to retain old customers.
  • Existing customers usually spend more money or patronize your services more than the new customers.
  • Happy customers recommend your business to others. They market for you.

Two things you can do to build a good CRM are;

  • Have a good knowledge of your customers’ behavior – Have some knowledge about what their needs are and how you are or can satisfy that need. Have some idea about their perception(s) of your products and services.
  • Build an outstanding transactional relationship with your customers – Make their business experience with you very pleasurable and memorable. This is where small businesses can excel over bigger ones.

Reference: Longenecker, Justin G., Moore Carlos W., et al. Small Business Management: An Entrepreneurial Emphasis. Thomson South-Western, 2006. Print.

By: Ekow A. Aikins, University of Scranton MBA student and WEC intern

Artwork adapted from

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