Revealed: The hidden value of a CRM system

If you own a small business that depends on family members or any number of key employees and want to sell your business someday, building your infrastructure around a good customer relationship management (CRM) system can pay huge dividends.

Here’s the situation: Sometimes the customers or clients of a small business feel more loyalty to individuals at the business than to the business itself. Let’s say you run a company called The Acme Advantage and Tom is your star sales rep. You run the risk of clients seeing themselves more as clients of Tom rather than clients of The Acme Advantage.

If you decide to sell your business someday, potential buyers will see this as a red flag. If Tom leaves when new ownership takes over, it may be difficult to keep his loyal clients on board in the long run. This will tend to push down the value of your business when you take it to market.

The solution is to encourage contacts between others in your organization and Tom’s regular clients. This can be done in ways that don’t threaten Tom, but enhance the customer experience and create more loyalty to your brand. Follow-up calls from other employees to clients to see how things are going or touching bases with clients when Tom is on vacation are just a couple of ideas.

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If you have a good CRM system in place, distributing responsibilities to others on your team is easy. Without one, you’re at the mercy of Tom. Further, if you let this kind of situation go for a long time, and then finally try to correct it, you may create a lot of anger and resentment and someone like Tom could decide to take his talents elsewhere. Fortunately for small business owners, good CRM systems and other apps are affordable and easily available.

And while I’ve focused on how a CRM system will boost the value of your business, you will enjoy similar benefits while you’re still at the helm. If you lose a key player who has strong connections to your customers, it is never a good thing. You might not lose the customers immediately, but at least one of the “strings” tying them to your business has been cut. Therefore, overtime, the likelihood of losing them increases.

I point these things out to encourage you to take a broader view of building your business around a good CRM system. Yes, you can use one to increase sales in the near term, but at the same time, you’re also increasing the overall value of your organization if you use it properly.