5 Tips to Choose the Best Client Management Software for your Small Business
In the digital world, your small business must become customer-centric to survive and grow. Focusing on customers is key when trying to scale your small business.
You need to determine what your customer’s pain points are and what your business can do to solve them, and to do that, you need to be able to interact with your customers effectively. Enter Client Management Software or CMS.
Digital Marketing and Customer Interaction
With more and more businesses becoming digital, small set-ups need to capitalize on the digitalization of marketing.
If you want to scale your business, you need to enter the digital platform. It is here that customers are now interacting with businesses, giving reviews, and where the sales are being made.
In this new digital world, it is important to capture all of your customer interactions and engagements. We can only do that if we have a system that combines all of these interactions in one place. A Customer Management Software will do that for you.
CRM vs. CMS
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System and Client Management System (CMS) are essentially the same things; often, these terms are used interchangeably. CRM and CMS are two different terms for the same thing.
The acronym CMS can also refer to Contact Management System and Content Management System. These two terms are different than a CRM system. A Contact Management System is used to manage contacts, while a Content Management System is used to manage your website content.
Why Do You Need Client Management Software for Your Small Business?
If you are a growing small business, then you will require client management software to manage your interactions with customers. As a small business you, are probably short-staffed, so automating systems will greatly improve workflows and efficiency.
Below are some of the reasons why you should consider using a CMS system for your small business:
- Makes data entry faster
- A centralized platform to store data
- Alerts to follow up with customers
- Contact data at your fingertips
- You can segment customers
- Sales and other useful reports
- Can automate sales forecasting
- Analyze data to make better decisions
- A safe place to store sensitive customer data
- Make smarter sales moves
Client Management Software for Small Business
A client management system or CRM system helps you manage your interactions with customers so that you can track all online and offline client activities.
The system is important when generating leads and tracking them. Let us learn what we should be looking for when picking a system for your small business.
1. What Is Your End Goal For The Client Management System?
When picking a client management system for your small business, you need to determine what exactly it is you want it for.
Do you want it to increase lead generation? Or do you want it to track customer interactions across platforms? Listing out what are the needs that you need to fulfill in order of importance will help you determine the most important tasks you need to be fulfilled.
- Increasing sales – analyze data to improve sale processes
- Nurturing leads – Can convert leads from your website
- Effective workflows – A CRM will make your systems smooth.
- Getting to know your customers better
2. What Kind of CMS Does your Small Business Need?
There are three different kinds of client management software for small businesses, and you should first determine which kind of CRM your small business needs before investing in one.
- Operational CRM- This kind of CRM is effective at managing interactions of customers with your brand.
- Analytical CRM – This CRM will analyze data so you can make effective sales decisions.
- Collaborative CRM – This kind of CRM will share data across departments.
If you are a service-based business like a consulting firm, you may want to look at an operational CRM, which is more customer, forward-facing. If you are, selling products, then an Analytical CRM might be more appropriate as it will help you analyze your sales data to make better decisions.
If you run a company where you have many departments, like a fashion house, then maybe you want a collaborative CRM that will provide one platform for all of your departments. Employees will be able to access customer data across all departments
3. Is the CMS Easy to Set-Up?
When looking for client management software for your small business, you want to make sure you choose one that is easy to set up. As a small business, you cannot afford to close shop for a long period to train staff and set up a CMS.
You want to invest in a simple CMS that can be implemented easily so that you can start using it right away. A large company may have substantial staff to cover the period when a new data system is being set up, but small businesses do not.
Before purchasing one of the questions, you should ask the CMS vendor is practically on the ground how long it will take to get the system up and running.
Things to ask before purchase:
- Do we need permanent admin to run the CMS for our small business?
- Does this CMS require extensive staff training?
- From purchase to on the ground running, how long will it take?
- Do you provide staff training?
- If you do not provide staff training, do you provide material to train staff?
4. Compatibility of Client Management System (CMS) with Other Systems
Does your Client Management System (CMS) synchronize with the other systems in your small business? The last thing you want to do is invest in a CMS to find out that it does not connect seamlessly with your other management systems.
To do this, you will need to do your research. Find out exactly what the compatibility is of your CMS and list down the current systems you are using right now. If you have this system handy when you talk to customer service, you can ask them if their CMS tool is compatible with your current systems. For example, The Real Estate CRM is a tool that is specifically for the real estate business and will sync with other real estate systems.
Some of the systems that you want to make sure your client management software is compatible with are:
- Your website: For an example of your small business using WordPress, many CMS’s on the market are compatible with your website.
- Automated Marketing: If you have an automated marketing system, you want to make sure your CMS tool will feed information into it.
- Email: If you have an email that talks to your CMS, you can feed leads into each system so you can follow up on leads.
- Social Media: If your CMS system is synced with social media, you will be able to track customer engagements and interactions and feed that into a central system so employees can access it.
- Calendar: Having a calendar that connects to your CMS system will enable you to set up appointments and meetings with clients that will show up on your calendar. This makes it easy to remember your schedule.
5. Try Out the CMS
Before you purchase, you should try out the CMS so that you have an idea if it is something that will work for your business.
Most companies offer a free trial that you can avail yourself of before you purchase the system. This way, your employees can try the system before it is implemented. It is important that you have to buy-in from all of your employees before you purchase the CMS.
Some of the things you should look out for before purchase are:
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Will it sync your contacts?
- Is it worth the cost?
- Does it offer free support?
- Does it have good customer service?
- Are your sales reps comfortable with it?
The Best Client Management System
The best client management software is the one that works for your business. What works for another business may not work for you and vice versa. You can be the best judge of what your small business needs.
When deciding which system works the best for you, make sure to focus on what you are trying to achieve. As a small business, it is important to always make sure whatever system you are implementing, that you feel comfortable with it.
A CMS system should not make you are running your business more difficult but easier. If you find it is taking up too much of your or your sales rep’s time to use the system, then it might not be the best fit for you. As your staff will be the ones who will be using it the most, it is important to always get feedback from them during each step of implementation.
What you do not want is to adopt a system that makes your team feel that they are being monitored or checked upon. That is why it is so important to have to buy in early on before implementing the system. If your team does not use the system or rebel against the implementation of the system, it will be a loss for you and your business.
Your customer interactions should become faster and more efficient. You should feel you have time to devote your attention to more pressing manners after you have adopted the CMS system.
If you keep this in mind when deciding to set up a new CMS system, you will be on your way to smoother workflows, better customer interactions, and more leads for your small business.
If you want to learn about small business growth, read 25 small business ideas to accelerate growth.