The Most Effective CRM Tricks for Running a Small Business

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has changed the face of online business. People using it for their businesses have doubled their sales. People are of the view that CRM software and its strategies are only for large businesses. That is a misconception. CRM can help any business prosper, no matter what its size is. 

Rachel Miller says, “No business, whatever its size, cannot afford to ignore customer relationship management. At its simplest, it is a method of record-keeping that ensures nothing slips through the net. It could be a spreadsheet of contacts, a simple database, or a tailor-made system”.

CRM software will only be effective if you have the full knowledge about it. We are going to enlist the most effective tricks that are useful for running a small business, specifically an accounting business. (for more information watch this accounting specific CRM webinar)

CRM Strategy

CRM is not useful for a business if it is used without a plan. To make your business prosper, it has to be made a part of your overall business strategy. The company that is incorporating CRM needs to be clear about why they are using CRM. A perfect CRM strategy helps in boosting quality, cutting costs, and raising sales.

CRM Can’t Fix Everything

Tools that come with CRM software are effective, but these tools can’t fix everything. The problems occurring in the selling process are not because of the tools. People who are using these tools have to be on their toes. Employees need to be diligent, and then the tool will be able to do what it does best.

1. Update Customer Information

People who use CRM should be attentive and bring up to the current state of users’ information. If the user address, company name, contact method, and so are changed, the working group should note that quickly and report information.

2. Learn From Analytics

CRM helps in analyzing the trends and behaviors of customers. If a spike is recorded in the sales of real estate properties during a certain time, the business should manage to advertise as many real estate properties as possible on your website for the next year. If some email campaigns were successful, try to figure out the factors of their effectiveness and try to reproduce them.

Customer data should also be used to plan your marketing and sales pitches. Personal information of a customer can help a salesperson in closing a deal. Learn from your results; otherwise, CRM won’t be effective.

3. Automate Processes

Tools that come with CRM can help in reducing time-consuming and repetitive tasks. For example, when a new customer is added to the database, CRM will send follow-up emails; give promotions to keep your business at the forefront of their attention. 

4. Don’t Look for the Perfect CRM

There is no perfect CRM. CRM cannot fulfill your wishes; it is simply a tool that can help you achieve your goals more efficiently. In short, CRM is simply a tool, and how you execute it matters the most.  You must realize that not every person will get his desired results. Innovative ideas can bring your business customer satisfaction, minimum costs, and provide better customer experiences, but CRM strategies can fail if not executed correctly.

5. Use Mobile CRM

Cloud base CRM on mobile is a wise option. It allows you to access data from anywhere, anytime. Suppose if the sales representative is a creative person and is mostly out of the home. In that case, this will work very well because it will increase their productivity and access the customer information.

6. Focus On Processes Rather Than Technology

CRM is more about making customer-centric internal and external business processes in an undertaking. Represent the customer getting support flow. The structures are just those giving power and not an end in them.

7. Expert-Level Support

Training is essential for user acceptance. If your staff is not trained, they cannot use it effectively. User acceptance is the most crucial success factor for a CRM system. Invest in the training to achieve your business objectives.

8. Share The CRM Access With Your Team

Share the access to CRM software with the key members of your team so they can get benefit from it. For example, if it’s a client’s birthday, that information might be useful for the salesperson that is looking for a reason to reach out to that customer.

CRM keeps running history or activity logs on your records. That way, everyone who has access to the CRM can see the data of each customer.

9. Use Industry-Specific CRM

It is best to use a CRM that is specifically designed for an industry as it will have more useful features. Therefore, if you have a small accounting, bookkeeping and/or tax business it is best to identify a CRM that is specific to the accounting industry rather than a generic one. Similarly, an Ecommerce CRM will be better for an eCommerce company, and so on.

10. Regular Housekeeping

Chances of redundancy are there even if your CRM is regularly updated. It is easy for duplicate entries to slip in or become out of date. Do regular housekeeping at least once a month to look for information that needs fixing. Housekeeping ensures that you and your team have reliable information on hand all the time.

11. Keep Task List Updated

CRM helps you to automate your processes. But it is also important to update the list of tasks that are automated. This is important for a business as the strategy of your business can change with time. 

12. Familiarize Yourself with the CRM

CRM is only effective if you have complete knowledge about it. We live in a fast-growing world; so many people don’t have time for reading guidelines or getting training. This results in sloppiness and non-effectiveness of your CRM.

Update your CRM periodically to incorporate all the new features. We advise you to walk up to the manager and get the training to use the new tools. Acquaintance with your CRM will keep your business organized.

Now You Know the Best CRM Tips for a Small Business

We have enlisted all the CRM tips that will help your business. Implementing every tip will certainly boost the sales of your business. It is the need of the hour. To stand out in this fast-paced community, your business strategies should be as creative as possible. 

Author Bio:

Ashir provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. His educational background in the technical field and business studies helps him in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development and digital marketing. He occasionally writes articles for Real Estate CRM

5 Things You May Not Have Considered About Starting Your Own Accounting Business

Have you been thinking about starting your own accounting business? It can be tempting to take this leap into being your own boss, but there are several things you should consider before you move forward. There are plenty of advantages to running your own company, but just because you are great at accounting doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to be a business owner. The points below are all important ones to consider.

Your Education

Both starting a business and education cost money, and you might be concerned about spending money on your education that you should be setting aside for your company. However, having the right education is critical as well, and a graduate degree can really unlock your potential and prepare you for success. You may be able to get student loans from a private lender at a favorable interest rate to pay for the degree.  Either way, there is a path to becoming an Accountrepreneur.

Buying One or Starting a New One

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is whether to purchase an existing accounting firm or start your own. There are different factors to keep in mind, and some of them will be specific to the company that you are considering buying. First, think about costs. On the one hand, you can arguably start your own firm out of your house with very little overhead. However, you might have to spend some money on marketing and getting your name out there, while an established firm might already have better name recognition. On the other hand, there’s no question that you’ll need a substantial amount of money in order to purchase a company.

If you’re buying a firm, one thing you have to be careful about is their existing financial situation. You will need to be prepared to really dig into their records and make sure you understand any liabilities they have. The owner of a struggling company that is up for sale might not be very forthcoming about money problems. When you purchase a firm, there are certain things that might be out of your control, like client loyalty and whatever rates the business has established. You can certainly increase the rates later, but you’ll need to keep them the same to start with.

Along similar lines, you may need to offer the same services for a while as you make the transition while if you start your own, you can simply offer what you want. Software and other equipment are going to be necessary and potentially costly. If you purchase a company, make sure you know exactly what is coming with the purchase and the age and condition of it all.

Either way, consider being in business for yourself but not by yourself with Universal Accounting Center.

Managing Employees

Whether or not to have employees might not be a decision you have to make immediately, but it is something you’ll need to deal with eventually. If you are starting from scratch, it might just be you, but you may want to add staff over time. If you’re purchasing a company, there may already be employees.  How much do you know about managing people? It may not be enough to be a good accountant.

This is where a degree in management could come in handy if you don’t have a background in it. If you have neither of these, you might want to read a few books about management and, if possible, explore taking some classes or seminars. Managing people is a skill in itself, and it’s a mistake to think that just because you are a whiz at accounting, you’ll also be great at management. Of course, some people are naturals in this position, but doing some reading can help confirm your instincts or shore up places where your skills might be weaker.

Your Personal Qualities

Having the right qualities to be an entrepreneur go beyond management skills. You also must know that owning your own business comes with many shades of grey. You might currently be asking yourself basic questions like is starting a tax prep business right for me but you need to understand that knowing if you have what it takes to actually do it is going to come from many more in depth questions about who you are as a person.

One irony you may face is that the very qualities that make you an excellent accountant are not necessarily that same ones that make for an excellent entrepreneur. Accountants may tend to be cautious and conservative, not risk takers like many entrepreneurs. There is an element of financial insecurity associated with running your own business that may fly in the face of your instincts. However, careful, and cautious people can be successful entrepreneurs as well. Making sure you have the right business knowledge and skills will be important. Writing a business plan can help you figure out where your weaknesses may be, and you’ll need one if you’re planning to seek loans or other types of funding.

Networking and Building a Client List

It’s not uncommon to get so caught up the various details of getting everything up and running that you lose sight of what you most need to succeed: customers. Are you a people person? If you’re more comfortable with numbers than people, this may involve some effort, but you’ll need to retain clients if you’re buying a business and attract them in the first place if you’re starting your own. And without the big budget that large firms have, that may depend on your ability to network and sell yourself and your company effectively.

You should work to strengthen the existing contacts you already have in the industry and locally and think about how you can make yourself more visible. This will vary depending on the type of service that you offer and the clientele that you want to attract, and you may want to consider working with a marketing firm or an individual to help you raise your profile if you are struggling to attract clients.

In short there is a Turnkey Business Plan for accounting professionals, there is no need to feel like you need to reinvent the wheel.

Virtual Bookkeeping

Virtual bookkeeping means freedom and efficiency; freedom from client visits and having your tools of the trade close at hand.

If there is one thing we learned from the 2020-21 Pandemic is that effective work can be done without a commute and travel.  We all became adept at using online communication to do our job and maintain relationships.  This, of course, includes providing bookkeeping services.

So, how is it done?

First, I’m assuming you are a trained bookkeeper with accounting software.  Although QuickBooks Online (QBO) isn’t the only software to use, it is one of the better ones that can be mastered as a QuickBooks Specialist.  It permits downloading transactions from the client’s bank account directly into the software so that you don’t need to rekey much of the data.  The software is even able to assign a category to common charges and income items.

Getting the source data and backup is probably the most complicated process.  There are a few things you can do:

1)      For income, as much as possible, the process should be computerized in a fashion that you can access.  If that’s not possible, a snapshot will work.

2)      For expenses, train the owners and anyone that works with invoices/credit card charges to send you a snapshot of any documents.  These pictures can be attached to the QuickBooks charge as backup.

3)      If you will be preparing the payments to vendors, have the invoices sent to your address or emailed to you.

Once all the information is entered into the accounting software, you can print all reports into a pdf document and email them, as an attachment, with a note of their contents, concluding with an invitation to call you if the client should have any questions.

Using a document management system to exchange documents and pictures, such as eFileCabinet will reduce paper and time.

Having an in-person meeting once a quarter is a nice touch, if practical.  This will enable you to sell your services, seek any recommendations for new clients, and refresh your professional relationship.

To learn more about how to start and run a successful virtual bookkeeping business, be sure to check out Universal Accounting’s Professional Bookkeeper program as well as the Virtual Bookkeepers Roadmap.

Providing Excellent Accounting Services

If you’re like most accounting professionals, you want to provide outstanding accounting services to every client. If you don’t, you probably won’t be in business for long.

I once heard a speech by a man who I greatly admire. His name is Dallin H. Oaks and his talk was entitled “Good, Better, Best”. Although he was speaking of choosing the best activities when considering how to use our time, I feel the principle is appropriate here. Are you just a “good” accountant, a “better” accountant, or the “best” accountant for your clients?

Most people will answer, “I want to be the best accountant, but I only have so much time.” Certainly, time is important when evaluating what to do for a client. Yet, what if you could go from being a “good” accountant, to the “best” accountant in only ten minutes? Would it be worth it?

The key to becoming a premier accounting service is to look forward, not just backward, with each client. When we do accounting, we are entering historical data to determine where our client’s been and what their present situation is. Most good accountants consider this their primary purpose and are satisfied simply handing over the financial statements and calling it finished.

Nevertheless, the most important thing we can do is assess where the client’s going, and warn of concerns, and share ideas for improvement even when the client’s business is doing well.

You can save time by limiting your assessment to the top three sources of income, and the top five expense categories. Run trend reports on each of these eight accounts for the past six accounting periods, and project those trends into the next two accounting periods to determine where they will be.

For the flat or dropping income accounts, consider geometric marketing ideas (see “In the Black”, Chapter 3) that will improve revenues. For any growing expense accounts, evaluate vendors and prices to make suggestions for decreasing expenses.

You will amaze yourself how easy and possible it is to go from good to your clients’ BEST accountant, in fact a Profit & Growth Expert.

Why is Bookkeeping Important to a Business?

The absence of bookkeeping in a business is like a road without signs because you’re likely to arrive at a different place than intended. Any large business learned the value of financial records produced by bookkeepers is crucial for proper management.

Bookkeeping is essential to every business for both financial and legal reasons. Without record keeping, it is difficult to get a business loan, and impossible to do taxes. Even more importantly, without the information that bookkeeping provides, wise decision-making is tricky and can lead to disastrous conditions.

There is a close correlation of success with those that realized the importance of bookkeeping and those that did not. Those that thought bookkeeping was an unnecessary luxury judged the success of their business by the amount of money in their bank account. Their thinking was “If I have money, I must be doing well.” That assumption, all too often, caused them to always be in the “fire-fighting” mode of management. Unfortunately, a lack of a bookkeeping system would end disastrously for the owner, with mortgages on their home, and bill-collectors hassling them. It even led to bankruptcy too many times.

Certainly, bookkeeping does not guarantee success. Nor is it all that is needed. Yet it leads us to information that can help us make well-informed decisions. Allen Bostrom, in his book “In the Black”, states “You hear a lot about the importance of making decisions based on data. What I have learned is that decisions should be based on wisdom, not necessarily data alone.” He goes on by describing the Wisdom Pyramid which is a triangular shape with “Data” at the bottom and topped by “Wisdom”. In other words, data leads to information, information leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to wisdom.

In summary, the difference between achieving entrepreneurial dreams and disaster for a small business owner is often based on their appreciation or lack of appreciation for the information coming from a bookkeeping system.

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