Customer Relationship Management: The Lifeblood of Small Business
July 21, 2014 by Bill Rosenthal

Logical Operations is a rapidly growing company, but we care a lot more about transforming the student learning experience than we care about our share of the market. We consider ourselves a small business, and I suppose we always will. We like to call ourselves a “30-year-old startup.”

So we have some insight into what it means to be a small business, and that’s why we are excited about our partnership with Insightly, the #1 online small business customer relationship management (CRM). Last year, I wrote a post about CRM and customer loyalty in which I pointed out that it’s far more expensive to acquire a customer than retain one.

Maintaining customer loyalty means maintaining a relationship with the customer. That relationship is generally the small-business differentiator. Other things being equal, large businesses have an inherent marketing advantage over smaller ones. When one seller has far more customers than another, it makes that seller a safer choice for new customers, not just for psychological reasons, but because a large customer base creates more resources for advice and support about the product. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine a company that owns, say three-quarters of a market, maintaining anything like a relationship with individual users of its products. As a customer, you may not need a large network to give you advice and support about the product if you have a relationship with the product’s creator. Furthermore, even in a business-to-business context, it’s just more pleasant to deal with a supplier with whom you have a warm personal relationship. Even for the smallest businesses, that warm personal relationship is likely to be impossible without CRM.

 A CRM like Insightly can track all the contacts you have with a customer so that a sales or support person in your company knows your entire history with the customer. This means in the course of conversations and other communication, your people can make the customer feel like your company understands him or her. Furthermore, knowing your history with a customer can help you avoid those sorts of graceless moves – such as including a customer in a marketing campaign for a product they already have – that make your company look uncaring.

 And the best CRMs go beyond the reactive in cultivating customer relationships. One of the things I like about Insightly is that the customer page includes a “News” tab. When you click on that tab, it gives you a page of headlines about the customer’s company, courtesy of Google News. That means you can send a congratulatory email or an offer of special service to deal with a problem before the customer even gets in touch with you. Insightly also integrates project management, making it especially effective for nimble small businesses.

Insightly is web-based and also accessible via smartphone apps, so it’s available anywhere you have an Internet connection. It’s easy to use, and it’s very low cost (even free, if you don’t need more than 2,500 records to be accessed by no more than three users). While many users can use it without training, training will help you get the most out of it. Logical Operations’ Insightly training is a one-day course that teaches end users to build and maintain an effective CRM database on the Insightly cloud-based platform. If you’re a small business like us, it could be one of the best investments you’ve ever made.