I do almost all of my work online (with the exception of writing) and I use a variety of devices. My laptop, tablet, smartphone and my desktop computer use depends on where I am and on the activity I am engaged in. I use a cloud-based CRM and for other small businesses this is what I recommend.
- Single computer/desktop system
- Client/server system, usually self-hosted with software on each user’s PC or laptop to access it
- Cloud-based systems (supplied and hosted online by a third-party provider), and accessible anywhere online
What is CRM?
Customer relationship management (CRM) is managing your business’s interaction with current and prospective customers, using data analysis about customers’ history and specifically focusing on maintaining customers and developing new customers.
The data is gathered from a range of different communication channels. These include a company’s website, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials and from social media. CRM systems allow businesses to learn more about their current customers and areas to improve on targeting audiences (how to best meet to their needs).
CRM helps with keeping you focused on your relationships with individual people, your customers, service users, colleagues, and suppliers; including finding new customers, and providing support and services.
Here is a great short video explaining just what a CRM system is. A beginner’s guide, one I found most helpful when I began looking into CRM systems.
Small business advantages
Cloud-based CRM systems mean every user has the same information, all the time. You can check data, update it instantly after a meeting, or work from anywhere. The same information is available anywhere from all your mobile devices; when you need it. Cloud-based CRM systems are quick and easy to implement. No required special installation and no hardware to set up (keeping IT costs low and no worries of version control and having to upgrade.
CRM’s are generally priced per user, per month. Multiply the base cost of your CRM by the number of users (your team) to calculate your total monthly CRM investment. The prices listed at Nutshell.com range from $10 to $100.00 (USD) per month per user and the kinds of features you need.
With a cloud-based CRM for small business you have the advantages of:
- Faster deployment
- Automatic updates
- Cost-effectiveness and scalability
- The ability to work from
anywhere, on any device
Benefits of a CRM system
Improving customer satisfaction and experience. The more you know about your customer’s behaviors, preferences, and needs; the better your chance of meeting those needs. An old saying but still true in today’s’ online business world, people do business with people they know.
Increasing revenue by building strategies (focusing on customers or clients with a higher potential). Your CRM should enable you to do targeted marketing that leads to positive revenue. For example, if your contact notes contain the various interests of your client you can use those to illustrate why product A would be a better choice.
Streamlining your sales pipeline (the process that begins with the first interaction and continues thru purchase and follow-up), By using customer relationship management, you can determine the most efficient steps to move thru your process, predict expected revenue, and remove bottlenecks from the sales funnel
(making it easy to move leads from one stage to the next).
Efficient internal communication is essential for any business with more than one employee. And for any business with more than 1 client/customer. Keeping your data on the same page ensures you are up-to-date on each contact ensures that the same data is available to employees, creating seamless communication and improving collaboration.
These are only some of the advantages that CRM systems provide. According to IBM, by not using a CRM you can expect around 79% of your leads failing to convert.
Customer relationship management covers a broad set of applications helping businesses manage these (among others) processes:
- Clients/contacts, customer data and interaction
- business information and marketing: automate sales, track leads, contracts access, assets and/or resources
- customer support, supporting vendor and partnership relationships
- Employees knowledge and training
And to that listing, I would add usability. What do I need to learn to use a particular CRM system, how easy is it to use and how long before I can see results (my Return on Investment)?
My learning style can best be described as a let me use it approach. Give me the basic information I need to get started and let me find out what questions I need to ask to “master” the system. Perhaps not the best way to go but I have only a limited amount of hours each day and time management is extremely important.
My cloud-based crm
My primary current CRM is cloud-based (mostly) but is a hodgepodge of systems and styles. It consists of my email contacts (3 different accounts), my social media connections (each separate), and a wild mix of online notes (I am a OneNote fan) and all the assorted pieces of paper I have jotted notes to myself on. Cross referencing this particular system is a nightmare on so many levels. But it does work, after a fashion.
I am currently (and slowly) combining my CRM system into a digital system using Shuffle by Elify. I gain a cloud-based CRM with a marketing system that is cost-efficient and is simple to implement and use. Let’s take a quick look at this and you can make a determination as whether this would be a system that fits you.
Shuffle uses the QR (Quick Response) code technology and was designed specifically for smartphones and mobile use. What began as a virtual business card has evolved into something much more. Mobile friendly web-page/ landing page, Lead Capture/ Generator, personal greeting cards, training platform and just about anything else. Adaptable for use with any business or personal style. Shuffle is cloud-based, a quick and simple download of the app (free at Google Play and Apple iStore).
A very brief intro to Shuffle cloud-based crm for small business using my bullet list of processes based on my use and findings.
- Clients/contacts, customer data and interaction Clients can be easily manually entered into your account and are also automatically added thru lead capture when using the web-page/ card itself. With basic information (name, business info, points of contact, social media links) come the additional services of Chatter (in-house messenger type), Activity, Notes, Shared Cards, and Follow-up Reminders. Your custom Tags keep groups easily identified and save time by grouping your contacts. For me it comes down to having the information I need about a client easily available, all in one place.
- Business information and marketing is readily available and easy to use. The Shuffle web-pages come with unlimited sharing, unlimited campaigns and tracking. Cards can be shared individually to contacts and you have notifications on when viewed and links clicked. Bulk sharing notifies you on views and links clicked also. Lead generation/ capture provide notifications and automatically are entered into your Contacts, with tags to identify campaign and products/services. Simple step to add follow up reminders and not miss a lead!
- Customer support services include being able to schedule reminders with flexibility. Shuffle maintains a responsive Help Desk for any questions you may have, along with a Library of “How to…” videos and text instructions to get the most out of your subscription.
- Employees knowledge and training can be streamlined and updated thru the use of the cards. Always have the current up-dated information available to your employees and partners thru sharing. Each card is dynamically updated and available for viewing.
With over 300 crm solutions to choose from, there are plenty of options. The choice is yours to make based on your business, the size and scope. While Shuffle by Elify is not perfect, it is a sound choice for a small business looking to improve customer relationships. With a suggested MSRP of $20.00 per month it is a good bargain with plenty of practical uses. And if you use my Invite Code, take a discount and only pay $10.00 a month.
Shuffle comes complete with 10 of the 1QR cards, each with unlimited sharing and with unlimited campaigns/tracking. Subscription includes the QRDex (the ultimate digital Rolodex), inside the app messaging, and (newly added) a partnership with Zoom for video conferencing. And with an Affiliate Program that can easily pay for itself along with providing an additional income stream.
Take a look at my personal card. Fill out the form at the bottom, and let’s talk together about how Shuffle’s cloud-based crm for small business can be put to work for you today.
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Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders