Starting a new business is both exciting and exhausting. Attracting customers, finding suppliers, managing staff are just a few of the pressing challenges every small business owner faces at start-up time and beyond. Usually, the last thing on the minds of establishing and growing businesses is selecting software to help handle day-to-day tasks like keeping track of contacts.
But a quick analysis will likely show that valuable time is being wasted on manual approaches to managing contact data. Even micro-enterprises can benefit from a more streamlined and automated contact database management system. The trick is to find the CRM tool that best suits the needs of the organization, be it start-ups, small businesses, or non-profits.
A new business can easily fall into the habit of saving customer contact information on spreadsheets and inboxes, which is not only inefficient but possibly risky, if information is insecure or vulnerable to hard-drive breakdowns. Most contact management software stores data safely in the cloud ensuring security and eliminating duplication.
Every organization considering adding contact management software to their tool box must consider a few basic factors before making a decision to ensure that they choose the best online contact database for them.
Learning Curve – If the company has just a few members on their staff team, it is probable that people are multi-tasking and trying to handle several functions within the business, so adding one more responsibility for contact data management may be challenging unless you choose a CRM software that is easy to learn and simple to work with. It’s possible that in a not-for-profit organization, a volunteer may find themselves in charge of managing contact data, making it imperative that the contact management tool is intuitive, user friendly and not too complex. Be sure to ask for a demo or sign up for a month – demo subscriptions are often offered for free – to test the usability of the CRM software.
Affordability – There is no need for smaller organizations to spend large amounts on business contact software. There are many excellent well-priced CRM products on the market; Contact Boss, for example, is available for as little as $8.33 CAD per month per user, with plenty of plans for more pricing options as the business scales up. In fact, a good factor to consider is customization options. As your organization grows and diversifies it may require custom features for its contact data management system; ask the CRM provider about options for developing custom contact management software solutions. Also make sure there are no hidden fees for additional services.
Customer Service – As a small or new business, or a volunteer organization, you most likely do not have an extensive IT department, so the contact data management solution you select should have a reputation for top-notch customer service. You should feel reassured that your CRM queries will be handled promptly and courteously. You should also check that the contact data management tool you choose has customer service included, as some may charge extra fees for support calls.
Mobile friendly – As we all know, employees in many sectors are working out of office these days and an effective tool for accessing data and adding contact data while on the road is essential for companies of all sizes. Contact Boss has developed mobile app versions for both iOS and Android users. As well the Contact Boss web version is mobile responsive ensuring that all subscribed users of the business contact software are able to quickly add and access contact data while on the road.
Added Features – If you are running a smaller business or non-profit, you may benefit most from a very basic option for handling your client data. While some of the more complex online contact database software may seem attractive, there is no need to pay for extra features that your operation does not require. In fact, the more complex the contact manager software is, the more daunting it may seem to staff who are learning to use the tool.
On the other hand, your organization may often host events, or find that team members perform better with regularly scheduled reminders. Contact Boss offers an excellent event management feature that makes it very simple to set up mailing lists, create invitations and record and follow up with attendees. As well, reminders for specific tasks can be pre-set using a built-in feature. Take a careful look at the way your business operates, and decide which additional contact data management functions would be most helpful to your operation.
Weigh the Options So, if you are bogged down with the ever-mounting challenges of getting your small business off the ground, do take a few minutes to consider where you could save time and money with greater efficiencies, especially in the area of saving and sorting your oh-so-valuable client contact data information. Finding address management software that is simple to use, affordable and has the features you need could well add the value you need to take your start-up to the next level, or ensure your non-profit thrives during stressful times.