Did you know that there are around 300,000 entrepreneurs setting up businesses around the world? Roughly 50 million startups launch every year. Impressive numbers, right? They also underscore the pretty fierce competition that’s out there. To make it, startups have to remain focused, working aggressively to create a customer-centric culture that helps differentiate them from the pack.
By now, you already know that there’s no cookie cutter path laid out for entrepreneurs. You’ve likely weathered some challenges already as you work to build an amazing team, get a product out to market to fill a need and leverage the right technology to help support you as you go.
And now, as the end of 2018 rapidly approaches, you need to start getting ready for the year ahead. Completing progress reviews, perusing earnings reports and setting goals aren’t the only tasks that should be top of mind. Perhaps the most important question you can ask yourselves is this: how can you better meet your client and customer needs? No matter what industry you’re in, prioritizing stellar customer service is crucial to every part of your current business model and your future goals.
That’s why having an awesome CRM for startups is so essential. It’s easy for entrepreneurs like you to think that finding the right CRM is something that can wait until they’re experiencing significant growth or growing to a mid- to large-size company. Not so. If you don’t already have a CRM, here are a few of the ways that this essential technology can help you navigate your unique challenges as a startup:
- Organization: Startups often manage a hefty inflow of data. Unless you have a great organizational system in place, you run the risk of overlooking important information, missing key details and ultimately losing out on potential revenue. Even if you’re a staff of one or two people, the organizational power of a great CRM increases your efficiency, allowing you to run with enterprise-level precision.
- It Puts Useful Information at Your Fingertips: Not only does a CRM help you organize all your information, it also provides a single point of access to the most critical information for your business. You get a complete picture of your customer’s journey, detailed records and invaluable future insights with features like real-time visitor tracking — all of which lets you do what you do best: serve your target customers.
- Contact Management: Never lose a phone number, email address or other key information again. The database of your CRM harnesses all those important details and gives you — and your staff — the ability to access it quickly. Even better, when you choose the right CRM, customer records will immediately pull up when they call in, giving your startup the edge you need to deliver outstanding service no matter who answers the phone.
- Features that Work for You: You know the importance of using tech that scales with you. But did you know that a CRM can also help bridge the gap when you’re light on staff with features like IVR, which routes calls to the best person for the job — no receptionist necessary? Even better, today’s modern CRMs also deliver value-added, power-packed toolkits built right into the platform, allowing you to accomplish everything from sending text messages to making phone calls to handling payment processing. All from one system. No logging in and logging out of multiple programs.
Can you see how invaluable a CRM could be for your startup? As you start making your plans heading into 2019, choosing the best CRM for your business should be at the top of your to-do list. Streamlining your business practices and helping to increase profitability are two key benefits you’ll get. But first, you need to choose wisely.
It’s a crowded marketplace with many options out there. From unlimited users CRM to free versions and everything in between, you’ll find it all. To help you make an informed decision and find the platform that’s going to be a game changer for your business in 2019 and beyond, we’ve compiled the 10 most important features you should be looking for.
1. Payment Processing For Collecting Customer Payments
Ideally, you want a platform like CRMDialer — one that caters to a variety of markets with the essential tools you need. Even if you’re not taking payments just yet, having this amazing feature built right into your CRM is a real game changer. Other services out there include this, but many charge licensing fees and annual fees on top of their CRM costs. Make sure you go with one that offers clear, upfront pricing for payment processing services with no setup or hidden fees. Also, look for a CRM that accepts major credit cards, e-checks and ACH transfers while also giving your customers the option to set up automatic and recurring payments. Providing convenience and the utmost service to your customers goes a long way to establishing your startup as the leader in your field.
Not only does this benefit your clientele, it also lets you start establishing a more predictable cash flow and get paid faster while offering top-notch security to protect sensitive data.
2. An Incredible Database
Remember how we talked about the importance of staying organized? That’s the key feature that a fabulous CRM database provides. Not only does it help you corral all the data that’s streaming in around you into one, easily accessible location, it also gives you the opportunity to start building detailed customer profiles. Look for one with unlimited reporting, bulk importing to make light work of those long lists you’ll be adding to the system and email validation that’ll help ensure your emails get where they need to go without bouncing back.
3. Built-In Phone System
Any business, but especially a startup like yours, benefits from having a platform that does it all. Look for one that pulls double duty as a CRM and phone system. Not only does this allow you to avoid having to invest extra money in pricey phone systems, it also gives you ultimate scalability and flexibility. Add and delete users in minutes without having to buy more equipment. Even better, a power dialer CRM gives you value-added features like:
- Click to call, which lets you make calls right from your browser
- Voicemail drop, so you can spend less time leaving messages and more time doing what you do best without sacrificing a personalized touch
- Local presence dynamic dialing, which allows you to start building your business’s visibility in various markets, making it easier for your marketing team to use geo-targeting metrics and take advantage of “near me” searches
4. Email Integrations That Sync Up
In the old days, you had to log out of your CRM and into your email account to access your messages. It may not sound like a big deal, but if you consider how many times a day you check email, that could add up to a significant amount of lost time. That’s why you want a CRM with email integrations built right in. Inbound and outbound email that syncs with your Outlook or Gmail account gives you the advantage of speed and efficiency while working within the CRM and while keeping up with your mail.
Additionally, email templates allow you to create branded messages and marketing campaigns that you can then send out according to the schedule you set up. And metrics let you know exactly how everything’s performing so you can adjust as needed or go ahead and share what you’ve been working on with the entire team.
5. Texting Right From Your Browser
Email isn’t your only marketing tool. Research suggests that SMS marketing gives you a staggering open rate of about 98 percent and a response rate of 45 percent. Definitely a tool you want to have in your back pocket! Before, entrepreneurs and marketers would have to use their business or personal phone to send text messages to customers and prospects. But not anymore. With the right CRM, you can send texts right from your browser, even while you’re on the phone. It’s the perfect way to send account details, reminders and follow-ups.
6. Internal Chat
How cool would it be to set up a chat room for your team? This chat feature is more than just the IM of the past. Now you can organize by groups, topics or individual discussions to share files, photos and other information. But best of all, it gives you a searchable database. If someone needs to find that information later, all they have to do is plug it into the chat feature and they’ll have exactly what they need in mere moments. Some chat features, including the one CRMDialer offers, also comes with a B2B chat function, enabling great collaboration outside of your startup also.
7. Metrics and Reporting
Being able to monitor what’s going on in your startup is another great benefit of having the right CRM. Metrics allow you to quickly shift tactics with your email and SMS marketing efforts. Reporting gives you a bird’s-eye view of your team’s productivity. Many of today’s best CRM platforms also include automatic call recording, which you can easily pull up to analyze performance or help train new team members that are getting on board. As a startup owner, having the key reporting you need empowers you to quickly make any adjustments necessary to keep operations on track for your 2019 goals.
Happy customers are repeat customers. Customers that think you’ve gone above and beyond? They’re the ones that are going to set word of mouth about your startup on fire. That’s why it’s crucial to have a CRM with a built-in helpdesk. This outstanding feature gives you everything you need to make sure each and every support request is handled quickly and efficiently. Monitor your team’s effectiveness, watch as requests move from received to open to resolved — and do it all from anywhere on any device.
9. Visitor Tracking
Understanding your customers’ needs are at the heart of delivering a product or service that best meets those needs, right? One of the cool features included in CRMs like CRMDialer is real-time visitor tracking. When a customer or prospect clicks onto your startup’s website, you and your team get pop-up notification. You’ll get key insight into what they’re looking at and how long they’re on each page to give you more information about their interests and pain points. Not only does this help you reach out with a perfectly-timed call, email or text message, it also elevates your messaging from a sales pitch or cold call to a customer-centric, meaningful conversation.
10. Seamless Integrations
The fewer systems you have to log in and out of, the better. That’s why you want to look for a CRM that seamlessly integrates with the tools that are most important to you. For example, CRMDialer integrates with:
- Adobe Sign
- Google Calendar
And so many more. Best of all, if you want to build your own integration, you can do so with the API development guide.
Honestly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The right CRM offers tons of useful features and white label customization that lets you quickly and easily create a branded platform without having to use a developer. There are so many reasons to implement a CRM now, well ahead of the holidays and the New Year. By the time your startup is sailing into 2019, you could already be enjoying ease of operations, streamlined processes and boosted bottom line. A great CRM is all about supporting you and giving you the tools you need to take your startup to the next level.
Why wait? Head over to CRMDialer today to sign up for a free account (free forever and good for up to two users) to test the waters and experience the magic for yourself.