Overhead shot of employees at desk
While most businesses start out without a CRM, budding success means an influx of new tasks. If your business is exhibiting any of these signs, it's time to invest. — Getty Images

As a small business owner, you want to establish strong relationships with your customers. That’s why keeping accurate records of each customer is essential to success.

While you may start off using a spreadsheet to store customer data, eventually you will outgrow this method and need a more robust system of tracking. CRM, or customer relationship management software, can help you organize and manage this information without the hassle of maintaining and interpreting it yourself. It can also track relevant data to help you better market your business and personalize your customer experience.

If your business is growing quickly, here are six signs you’re ready to invest in CRM software.

You’re wasting time with manual processes.

Manually inputting your customers’ information can lower your efficiency and productivity levels. This is especially true for medium- to large-sized businesses who interact with the same customers and use the same data. Rather than spend hours researching and interpreting data to make projections and calculations, you can leverage the built-in reporting and data analysis of CRMs. You’ll get immediate access to information like purchasing habits, communication preferences, demographics and more. Best of all, according to data sourced by Hubspot, you may be able to improve your revenue by 41% per salesperson by eliminating manual reporting processes.

You sense a disconnect between departments.

Maintaining good customer service is a collaborative effort, and each employee — even those outside your marketing and sales teams — should understand your customers’ habits and relationships with the company. If there’s any disconnect between departments or teams in how customers are handled, you should consider a CRM.

A good CRM system will communicate customer data seamlessly to all teams. Additionally, using a CRM ensures everyone is on the same page and held accountable for shortcomings or missed leads. This will help improve collaboration and prevent further issues. [Read our full guide on how to choose the best CRM software.]

You’re just doing the bare minimum.

According to SCORE, many companies without CRMs rarely have the time and resources to go above and beyond with their marketing and sales efforts. For instance, following up on every single lead, scheduling sales appointments, responding to complaints and other tasks can feel like a full-time gig in itself — and that’s not counting the time spent actually making sales.

If you feel your sales team is unable to handle these crucial responsibilities, turn to a CRM for assistance. The right CRM will automate time-consuming tasks, integrate your communication and marketing efforts (like social media and email), and help your team collaborate.

The right CRM will automate time-consuming tasks, integrate your communication and marketing efforts (like social media and email), and help your team collaborate.

Your customers are dissatisfied.

If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ll know it. They’ll voice complaints, leave bad reviews and possibly stop purchasing your products altogether. A drop in your sales numbers is a clear indication that you’re not generating a loyal following — likely because you have poor customer service.

If you have customer service concerns, a CRM can allow you to better understand your customers and cater to their personal needs, all while saving you time and energy. Furthermore, a CRM system shared across multiple teams or departments will make sure every customer is being taken care of in a timely manner.

You can’t keep track of your customer activities.

If you have many different types of customers and are struggling to stay on top of your relationships with each, a CRM can help. Customer interactions are tracked in detail through a CRM, so you can pick up right where you left off with each customer. Analyzing historical customer communications can also help you identify trends and understand how your relationship with a customer has evolved over time.

You’re struggling to grow your business.

Salesforce noted that if you are struggling to keep up with new leads or grow your business, it’s a sign you need a CRM system. While customer service, marketing and sales efforts are crucial to keeping your business afloat, business development is also an area you don’t want to neglect. When you’ve reached a point where you’re presented with new leads but unable to find time to pursue them, you should invest in a CRM so you can refocus your priorities.

If you can relate to any of the above signs, it might be time for your business to start investigating CRM software. Our buying guide can help you determine what to look for and how to choose the right provider for your business’s needs.

CO— does not review or recommend products or services. For more information on choosing the best CRM software, visit our friends at business.com.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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