Although not every small business is ready for a CRM application, it is easier today for small businesses to find systems that meet their needs and fit within their budgets than it ever has been. The advent of cloud-based CRM applications has eliminated the significant initial budgetary barriers to entry for many businesses, and the proliferation of products geared toward smaller businesses has presented small business with options that allow them to choose based on specific features, quality and cost of support, and extensibility.
Small businesses have an advantage in that many of them are already living the discipline of CRM-they're building and nurturing customer relationships face-to-face today. But as businesses grow-and as they get older-the amount of customer data small businesses must manage becomes greater and greater and eventually requires some technology to manage it. While simple solutions usually come first-ranging from Post-it notes to Excel spreadsheets-this data can't be shared easily, integrated into other business systems, or provide interactions proactively with the user. CRM can do this-so, when the time is right, it's important to move to CRM to keep control of this data.
CRM can also aid small business in coping with two apparently divergent customer trends- social media and mobile technology. With a CRM strategy in place, social media data can further aid in creating a portrait of the customer. It can also pave the way for increasing use of smart phones to access customer data, both inside and outside the business.