This post was first published in September 2018, but the information may be useful to businesses affected by COVID-19. Please note that some information may not be up-to-date – you can find our latest COVID-19 guides here.

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Well, this is a conundrum. Do you wait until you have lots of customers to get a Customer Relationship Management system, or do you get a CRM system to help increase your customer figures quicker?


It’s likely, as a growing business, that you’d prefer to wait to see growth in your customer base before you consider investing. But when is the right time to think about getting a CRM?


If you have a system of Excel spreadsheets and other documents which are working well for you then it certainly makes sense to walk before you run. However, this is only a temporary solution. It could still be a wise decision to think about how a CRM system could save you time, support your sales process and ultimately, help to bring in more leads.


Although spreadsheets are cost-effective, you could find that the wasted time, hassle and lack of automation and usability could be costing you clients and money.


Should you be thinking about adopting a CRM system now?


In the current digital landscape, businesses need to put their customers at the heart of everything they do – even from the very beginning. It’s all about building relationships, keeping momentum going and finding simple ways to help you growing your audience.


So what’s holding you back – is it cost?


The beauty of digital’s ubiquitous role in everything we do means that online tools are becoming increasingly accessible to business of any size, with them being simple to use, cheaper to run and easier to integrate into your existing practices.


A lot of software packages are now scalable, pay-as-you-go and designed to fit around your business. And if you’re still weighing up the differences and benefits between using a spreadsheet or a CRM system, it’s worth considering that they are very different tools.


A spreadsheet is great for storing and holding information, but it’s not necessarily a platform designed to build, maintain and grow relationships.


Time is of the essence in a world that never switches off. Finding the balance between time and money spent, and the resulting customers and profits gained comes down to how quickly you’re planning to grow. There is, of course, no one size fits all when it comes to customer management. But one spreadsheet is unlikely to fit all of your needs either.


Whatever stage you’re at, it’s worth considering now what you want out of how you manage your customer information and at what point you’ll need to step up your system. Whether you’re weeks, months or even years from making the investment, thinking about it now will help you to revaluate the success of your existing systems, look out for trigger points highlighting the need to grow and help make it clear to you when the right time is.


To get no-pressure advice and suggestions on CRM systems for small and medium sized businesses, take a look at our free Software Directory.


If you want more tailored advice on using a CRM for your business, register with the free Superfast Business Wales service to book a 1:1 meeting with a Digital Business Adviser. Register now.


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