Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the secret weapons that growing companies use to manage their internal communications, communicate with employees and overall run their business more effectively.
(Welcome to sponsored reviews, from SmallBizTechnology.com and Small Business Trends)
I recently spoke with Bob Greenlees, director of operations and business development, at data migration company ShuttleCloud, who shared with me how Insightly CRM has benefited his business. He discussed how it’s helped him better communicate with his employees, manage projects and build a community with his customers.
Why is CRM so important for small businesses
While every business leverages email as a communication tool and even uses email marketing to some degree, it’s the power of CRM that gives businesses an integrated view of their business.
Better Communication with Clients
Bob explained that without CRM, he would be looking at clients in only one dimension. Let’s say he called on a client last week, and that client called in and spoke to another ShuttleCloud staff member. Without the power of CRM, Bob’s team would not know all the important interactions that everyone had with a particular client.
Improved Internal Communication
Many growing businesses work with employees and contractors who are not sitting in the same office, in a cubicle next to each other. In this scenario, remote teams must be able to work across time zones and geographies. Bob explained that his cloud-based CRM tool, Insightly, allows his distributed team to work seamlessly and more productively.
Integration with Existing Software
CRM is great, but it’s not meant to work all by itself. Many of us have Google Apps or Microsoft Outlook as one of our core office applications. One of the benefits of Insightly CRM, is that it fully integrates with Google Apps and also has an integration point with Outlook 2013/Office 365 Business Edition. Since ShuttleCloud uses Google Apps, Bob can be working in his Gmail powered office email and see the details of a contact through Insightly. Seeing the contact in Insightly helps add context to a potential reply.
Why You Should Choose Insightly
There are many CRM programs available for a small business such as ShuttleCloud and I asked Bob why Insightly CRM is best for him. He explained that it is easy to use, it offers both a gratis account that is free for up to 3 users and 2500 contacts, and a 14 day free trial of the premium paid version,. Furthermore, Bob feels that Insightly is feature rich and the built in suite of tools best serves his business.
Questions you Should Ask About CRM
Bob asked several smart questions before he decided to use Insightly.
- Is it easy to use?
- Can we get it up and running quickly?
- Will I get more out of it than I’m putting into it?
- Does it easily integrate into the other applications, like Gmail, that I’m using?
The answer to each of these questions was YES.
Another bonus for ShuttleCloud is that Insightly works well as a project management AND communication tool. Bob explained that project management and communication are two separate functions, and while some CRM tools try to do both, most do not do project management well, but Insightly does.
CRM for Small Businesses
We know that CRM is something that very big businesses need, but is CRM useful for very small businesses? The answer is yes. If you wait too long to implement and use a CRM solution you’ll find that you’re wasting time and losing productivity. Every day you’re not using CRM is yet another day when you might not properly serve a customer or when a team member is missing critical information. Bob suggested implementing CRM before you start to experience too much “pain” in your business from a lack of proper communication and collaboration.
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