A blog about entrepreneurship, technology and big data - Payment Analytics, Social Media Management & Marketing

Small Business CRM systems are not effective

We have come across several small businesses in the last 30 days that have invested in a CRM system, but don’t really understand them. Small businesses are seeking to mimic large businesses in leveraging technology such as a customer relationship management software system.  Their goal is to  automate sales and marketing functions, and efficiently manage customer interactions with the business. The good news is that such software has become more affordable and more easily available with the advent of cloud computing.  The problem is.. it does not work for most small businesses. Why? Let us break down the problem a bit. The first thing you need to do when you turn to a CRM system is to create a list that is segmented into leads, prospects,  customers, and super loyal customers. This is a great start, but just a start. Now you need to wrap a sales process around these customers. This is where many small businesses fail miserably. It is not really the fault of the CRM systems per se,  many are great  solutions for those that are able to master all of its cool functions and effectively leverage the available features. The real problem is that most businesses, particularly merchants like those in the restaurant and retail trade, do not have the time to train themselves or their employees to master the tools. It is just too complex for them to execute upon because there is no cookie cutter solution. Every merchant needs to map a custom sales process onto the customer segments.

We have been working on this problem for much of this year with the goal of automating the sales process for small businesses to make it super simple to execute upon. We have been testing various solutions to enable merchants to interact with their new, loyal and lapsed customers without new hardware, training or additional effort. Someone who can overcome this hurdle will have finally developed technology that makes merchants life simpler rather than complex as many CRM systems tend to do for the small business space.