For many people who work at startups or small businesses, the term CRM can sound a bit daunting: drawing up associations of big, complex businesses trying to manage their thousands of customer interactions. But what these people don’t understand, is that a CRM is often a very simple tool. One that allows any kind of business, especially smaller ones, to build rapport with customers and prospects so they can effectively grow.

In fact, 80% of small businesses already use them, and 78% have used a CRM solution for three years or more.

If you’re part of the minority that doesn’t use a CRM platform ― you may be giving your competition a fairly large advantage. Many companies work with a tighter budget and lack the resources an enterprise may have, but that doesn’t mean they have to forgo this essential tool. The simple CRM your small business is looking for exists.

Read on to find out moare about why a CRM is so beneficial for small businesses. Plus, we’ll share the key features of a fit-for-purpose, simple CRM system, and how you can start using one today.

Get started

So, what does a simple CRM do?

In simplest terms, a CRM is software that helps track information and interactions between your company and your customers. A CRM app stores, organizes, and retrieves interactions between your team and customers or prospects, so anyone in your organization can then retrieve and review every touchpoint your business has had with existing customers or potential ones.

This ensures interactions with customers are always consistent and personalized which in turn increases the chances of conversion, and encourages customer trust and loyalty.

Why all businesses need a CRM?

At the heart of any successful business is its ability to maintain good relationships with its customers.

customer relationship management down to the fundamentals, it has two chief goals: keep the customers you have happy, and secure new ones so you can grow.

These goals are universal to all businesses, small and large alike. A CRM helps you to meet these goals by centralizing the information you need to provide an excellent customer experience.  This is great for smaller businesses to streamline their sales processes without paying extra for technical support and advanced features

If you’ve contacted a business several times about the same problem and thought, “why don’t these people talk to each other?” you can understand the necessity of CRM. A CRM ensures all customer information is held in one place, accessible to all. So when a customer calls in — either with a problem or just to update some details — your team can update the information in the CRM. Even when another team member interacts with that customer, they can view all their records in your CRM and save time.

If recording and sharing data feels overwhelming, don’t worry; 87% of CRMs in use today are cloud-based, which makes sharing and accessing data easy.

CRMs aren’t just for customer service, they’re useful for your sales and marketing teams too. According to TOPO (now Garner), the most effective sales sequence requires 12–16 contact points spread over 3–4 weeks. More than one person will likely be involved in this process, even if you have a smaller team. So, having a central record detailing each contact point — that’s easily accessible to all — will smoothen the process. Sales teams can then collaborate with marketing and share this customer information, allowing for more personalized customer contacts.

With all of these benefits, CRM solutions might seem too expensive and complex, but they don’t need to be.

Get started

You only really need a simple CRM

Many things in life come with complexities we never use ― do you use all the features on your car navigation system, washing machine, or TV remote? Chances are you don’t. Those extra features are great for the enthusiast, but as the Pareto principle suggests, you’ll get 80% of the results from 20% of the features.

It’s the same with CRM software. Features like customer forecasting sound nice, but just aren’t suitable for every business. It’s better to keep it simple and look for a lightweight CRM with only the features you need.

But what are those features? A survey by CRM Trends Report found:

bar graph representing the top requested CRM software features such as contact managment, tracking interactions, and scheduling/ reminders

(Image Source)

Let’s take a closer look at each of these features to see how they can help you deliver a better customer experience.

Get started

4 essential features of a simple CRM

#1. Contact management

Your business needs a way to manage all customer and prospect details ― email addresses, cell numbers, postal addresses, and so on.

A CRM organizes all of this information into one tidy database, letting you easily share information with your team. You can group multiple contacts from one single business and retrieve and update all the details with just a few clicks. Since most CRM solutions today are cloud-hosted, you can use your management tool wherever you go. You’ll no longer need to carry that notebook containing “important numbers” which would be disastrous to lose.

The monday.com Work Operating Software (Work OS) allows anyone to build a fully-customizable, simple CRM. Here’s what contact management looks like on our software:

showing the stages of a deal from qualified, to proposal, to negotiation in a monday boardDepiction of customer contact data in monday.comDepiction of customer contact data in monday.com

Getting started is a breeze too, you can import existing sales management information directly from Excel.

#2. Interaction tracking

Sales is a numbers game, it takes multiple touchpoints with a prospect to close a deal. If you record all interactions, team members can see what’s been done.

And — once you’ve converted a prospect to a customer — your customer care and operations teams take over, see the calls and emails and understand what the customer wants. They’re quickly up to speed with requirements and can look after the customer and fulfill the order, follow up, and eventually pitch further orders and upsells.

On monday.com, it’s simple to record every contact interaction and share it with all of your teams:

Users interacting through comments on a monday.com board.

What if you don’t want to share all the data with everyone? On monday.com, you can use private boards to restrict sensitive information.

Get started

#3. Scheduling and Reminders

A CRM is a one-stop solution for scheduling, reminders, and reviewing prior interaction details. If you build your CRM using monday.com, you can use automation to schedule calls and set reminders.

Not only that, but you can also alert other people. If a client calls and it’s logged on the CRM board, it can automatically alert the account manager. Here’s a peak inside our automations center:

Screenshot showing examples of automation types in monday.com, which can be used to set reminders

 #4. Pipeline/Funnel Monitoring

Of course, a CRM isn’t just for storing customer/prospect data and scheduling calls. You’ll also want it to handle other team processes too, such as sales funnel management and order processing.

Understanding how leads progress through your sales pipeline and when orders will drop lets you plan resources and organize your team.

With monday.com, we have ready-made templates for managing sales. Here’s one for the sales process:

a monday.com board labeled "Sales Process| showing different leads, their last contacted date, stage in the sales funnel, forecast value, deal size, phone number, and rating.

Similarly, you can use monday.com to track and process customer orders. And because monday.com’s boards are flexible, you can set them up so that they work for your business.

Here’s how you can manage back-end order processing:

Screenshot showing an example of customer order processing in monday.com

The best thing is that you can link all your information together, so you only need to enter data once — or automatically insert it — and connect everything up using mirror columns.

A simple CRM can drive real business value

A CRM is an essential tool to help you close sales and deliver an excellent customer experience — no matter the size of your company.

And while many CRM software solutions are available, they’re often too expensive and come with additional features small businesses don’t really need.

Create your simple and effective CRM on monday.com. Since monday.com is a flexible, fully customizable Work OS, you can set it up to fit the way you run your business. As we’ve seen, monday.com covers the most popular features of a CRM ― without introducing unnecessary complexity or breaking the bank.

Create your simple CRM on our CRM template with our 14-day free trial.

Get started