Welcome to the Small Business Guide to Customer Relationship Management.

Some people mistakenly think that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is just about using a tool to create the equivalent of a 21st Century rolodex. In reality, it's so much more than that. It's a comprehensive approach to interacting with prospects and customers; one that allows you to track behaviors and provide highly personalized service throughout their customer journey.

You can target prospects with messaging that gives you the best shot at conversion, make sure your team is hitting all their marks to ensure an excellent customer experience, and use what you know about your current customers to find the most promising leads for your business.

If you don't yet have a structured CRM approach for your business, or you have one in place but aren't utilizing it to its full potential, this is the guide for you.

Full table of contents


CRM and lead generation

With inbound and outbound marketing competing for your time and attention, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out how to generate the strongest leads for your business. Where do you find your prospects on the internet, and what messaging will resonate with them? CRM can help you to identify, find, and engage with the most promising leads.


Managing the sales pipeline

No matter what line of business you're in, keeping close tabs on your sales pipeline is critical. You want to be sure you're winning prospects over with actions and offers that build trust, and that you don't let anyone who's interested in your business slip through the cracks. CRM can help you to keep track of prospects, enhance your sales approach, and secure more business.


Guiding the customer journey

The internet has changed the landscape of the customer journey. No longer a straight road, customers can encounter your brand through many channels at any time. While it's impossible for you to exert complete control over their path, CRM can help you to guide people towards the messaging that best resonates with where they are in their journey.


Audience segmentation

No two customers are alike. They all have individual needs, wants, preferences, and attributes. And that's precisely why you can't treat your entire customer base as a singular unit. Segmenting your audience and targeting likeminded customers and prospects with messaging that resonates with their specific needs gives you the best shot at winning them over or keeping them around.


Enhancing the customer experience

A stellar customer experience is the factor that allows your business to stand out from your competition. Your customers want to feel recognized and cared for by your company. But with the myriad of ways for customers to interact with your business, it can be tough to keep track of all the touch points. CRMs allow you to keep tabs on all of your customers and prospects and ensure that they're receiving seamless service.