Great news - you have launched a startup, developed new innovative product and attracted investments! Well done! But it is just the beginning.
You will focus on product development in the near future. But crucial importance will also have marketing side: to make sure that a solution will be accepted by the market and meet customer needs or create a customer base by the time the product is ready for sale. To meet these goals startup should consider the building of customer engagement processes even at that early stage.
A CRM (or customer relationship management) is a system which allows businesses to store and manage their customer and prospect data. Choosing a CRM system for Startup is a very important step for which you need to prepare well. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Such items as key planned activities to use a CRM for, budget, number of users who will use the system should be clearly defined.
In the early stages, probably a spreadsheet will be sufficient. This is an easy, low-threshold way to get into the basics of sales pipeline management. A CRM should help to cope with the complexity that comes with following up on multiple leads/deals at the same time.
- Is it a new or an existing customer?
- What is the history of contacts with him?
- Which products did he buy before?
Startups that have CRM have all their data organized and can easily follow up with their customers. Once startups become more organized, their sales and marketing department can operate in a more efficient manner.
We have prepared 10 reasons why Salesforce may be valuable for Startups:
- Proper organization of Leads and Customers. The ability to attract potential customers, manage relationships with both new and existing customers are the most important things needed for a successful startup business. Not all leads turn out to be clients, not all customers are equally important for business. A CRM allows an organization to classify each lead or customer appropriately. The process of work with riskier clients should differ from the process of work with non-risk or new customers. Prospects, too, can be grouped differently to separate promising leads from those where no contact has been initiated. Additional advantages: data is stored chronologically and duplication of data is prevented. That is a standard functionality of the Salesforce platform that comes out of the box.
- Possibilities for cross and upsells. Nothing would be more expensive for any business than trying to regain lost business or opportunities. It has been said that it costs five times as much to attract new business than to retain those you already have on as clients. With a large volume of daily communications with customers, it is very important to track negotiation progress. In case staff rotations will occur in the company, it will be easier for new employees to catch up with the history of communications with the client and his preferences. It helps to significantly improve the level of service provided. For that matter, Salesforce data model has a lot of objects such as Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities with the ability to fill in information about calls, events, tasks, emails and more. Nothing will be lost.
- Security of Data. Salesforce platform is cloud-based, which means that all data is securely stored and is not susceptible to such dangers as theft, fire and floods, no data centers or data warehouses needed. CRM in the cloud also reduces dependency on the physical presence of an employee, all data is synced and is available for work at the same time from anywhere in the world.
- Scalability. Salesforce says that 70% of startups struggle with scalability which, in turn, leads to an unstable foundation. The growth of the customer base should not affect the level of service provided. Salesforce offers a wide range of products, and as an organization grows, many products can be added, this will save a startup from a large amount of possible integrations and necessity to migrate data from platform to platform.
- Analytics. CRM is capable of generating analytical reports which are displayed on the dashboard and can be customized according to the user needs. Reporting and Dashboarding capabilities are a great resource in noting key performance indicators, tracking opportunities likely to come up in the near future. Furthermore, a platform gives advanced reporting and analysis tools that can illuminate data trends.
- Saving time and resources. Out-of-the-box Salesforce solutions include best-practices in the sphere, depending on the product, are ready to use and highly configurable. A lot of additional requirements (such as data access levels for various roles, profiles, different sales processes, page layouts, record types for different products, sales forecasting) can be realized without code writing and presence of IT experts in the team.
- Trailheads. Free online learning platform Trailhead gives the ability to learn platform in a game-style manner, without having to invest a huge amount of time into training. It eases roll out across teams who have little experience with Salesforce or other CRMs.
- Appexchange is one of the world’s largest and leading business application marketplaces. It works much like the Apple or Google Play Store, where users can download and install apps, taking into account customer ratings and reviews. Free and paid apps are available. The greatest benefit of the Appexchange for startups is its accessibility; expansion of the platform is fairly straightforward with a number of free apps on the marketplace.
- Salesforce applications can be reached either from desktop and mobile device. Your reps are more flexible to fulfill clients’ needs while they are away from the office working in the field.
- Salesforce has a huge community of experts, where a startup will be able to get consultations upon request. A lot of possible questions might be already answered in Trailblazer Community
Any startup should be prepared to boost the growth of the customer base and organize proper client records storage before they have a long list of clients. The introduction of the CRM will prevent the occurrence of such unpleasant moments as loss of customer information, ignorance of interaction history, same repeated questions to the customer, etc. Proper CRM management will help employees to focus on key issues affecting sales and profit margins.