CRM Strategy by Business Size Best Practices | Sales by Val Riley October 10, 2023 Do you need a CRM strategy by business size? The answer, of course, is yes. What works for a company of 10,000 employees does not work for one with 10 employees. While some elements of a customer relationship management system (CRM) strategy are consistent across business classifications, there are enough variables to necessitate a bespoke approach to each category. While the major classifications of business size are often disputed, in general, these are the agreed upon levels: Solopreneur – One person working solo in an operation Startup/Micro business – 2-5 employees, less than $2M in revenue Small business – 6-10 employees, between $1-$5 M in revenue Midsized business – 11-250 employees and $3M in revenue Enterprise – More than 250 employees Note that this can vary by industry where, in some industries like manufacturing for instance, a small business can have 1,500 employees, so take the above guidelines with that in mind. The concept of a CRM strategy by business size acknowledges that a company’s needs depend on its scope and number of employees, and tailoring CRM strategies to suit these requirements is essential for a seamless customer experience. In this blog post, you will learn about CRM strategy frameworks and different CRM strategy types. But first, if you’re considering a CRM solution, here are some examples of CRM strategies for companies of different sizes. CRM strategy for a Solopreneur Does a one-person shop need a CRM? Absolutely! When we speak with business operators, they will often say that their contacts are managed in a spreadsheet, or even in their phone (gasp!). These, of course, are not viable places for your most important data to live. One small mistake and it all could be wiped away. A business this size is likely worried about cost, but there is great news on that front. Some CRMs (including Insightly) have free plans. Insightly’s Free Plan is free forever for up to 2 users. It’s not a stripped down system, either. You can store up to 2,500 records, you get up to 5 email templates from which you can send 10 emails per day. You also can create 2 custom fields and custom page layouts so that Insightly CRM can fully reflect your business. Many CRMs have a free plan so that you can start your business and create a foundation for growth. So don’t think that a CRM is out of reach for your business. It’s likely very easy to get started with one. Side note: only a cloud-based CRM will be cost effective for a business this size, so don’t consider an on-premise solution. Your primary strategy for a CRM for your solo business is to simply get all of your data in the CRM so it becomes the single source of truth for your business. Put yourself into the mindset that “if it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen.” Your secondary strategy is to use custom fields and page layouts to design the CRM to meet your needs. For instance, create pull down menus that make it easy for you to enter data fast. This convenience will help as you grow and add more people. CRM Strategy for a Startup A startup is inherently chaotic, so a CRM strategy may not be top of mind. Having a CRM and getting your data into it might be all you can handle in the beginning. That’s OK! As you have more bandwidth to focus on your CRM, you’ll want to begin using custom fields, custom objects and custom page layouts to accommodate your business and allow for speed in data entry. After those basic processes are in place, it’s time to think bigger. Think about your business objectives and the features of a CRM that can support them. That’s how you arrive at your CRM strategy. Are you exploring new channels? If so, can your CRM route new business leads to the proper team members based on channel? Are your deals heavily worked via email? If so, would using a CRM with an email browser extension make sense? Are you having issues with invoices getting sent out? It might be time to integrate your CRM with QuickBooks or Xero. Choosing a CRM for a Startup Whatever CRM you choose as a startup, it should be able to accommodate the above functions. If you already have a CRM in place, great. If you are a startup considering a CRM, there are some guardrails you should be aware of. One consideration for startups is evaluating their available budget and choosing a CRM that offers the necessary features without straining their budget. They should also think about ease of use and implementation. Opting for a user-friendly CRM can minimize downtime and training requirements for small teams. Like solopreneurs, startups should limit their CRM consideration options to cloud-based CRMs for easier accessibility and reduced IT infrastructure costs. An on-premise system is expensive and can be difficult to maintain for even the largest of companies, so startups will likely struggle. When selecting a CRM, start-ups should be: Assessing the availability of customer support and training resources. Quick and reliable support is crucial for startups. Requesting demos and trial periods to assess functionality. Considering not only the initial cost but also factors like ongoing subscription fees and customization costs. Seeking out reviews and recommendations from other small businesses in their industry to gain insights into a CRM’s effectiveness. CRM Strategy for Small Business You’ve grown into a small business…great. Your CRM strategy will be different from that of a micro/startup and that of an enterprise. Let’s explore. By now, you know that you must put all of your data into the CRM and you will likely be using custom fields, custom objects and custom page layouts to fit your CRM to your business and increase the speed of data entry. You’ll need to consider your business objectives and how the features of a CRM support them in order to arrive at your CRM strategy. You’re also at the stage where you’ll want to create KPIs around your CRM strategy to measure what you are accomplishing. For example, a CRM strategy might include a KPI around customer data security. Are you using role-based permissions in your CRM to secure your data and create efficiencies by the amount of data revealed to individual users? Do you need HIPPA or SOC2 compliance? You could build a CRM strategic goal around integrations. If reps are heavily using email, then an email integration could be beneficial. If you are operating your business on QuickBooks or Xero an integration there will save time and resources. Communication often gets more challenging as your business grows. Perhaps an integration to Microsoft Teams or Slack makes sense. Choosing a CRM for Small Business If you already have a CRM in place, you’re on the right track. If your small business is seeking a CRM, you’ll want to consider your options. Small business are counting every penny, so implementing a CRM that is cost-effective is important. Cloud-based CRM systems require lower upfront investments and offer flexibility for access and scalability vs. installed, on-pem systems, so stick to the cloud. Additionally, smaller businesses should focus on basic CRM functionalities such as: Contact management Sales tracking Simple marketing automation tools As businesses grow in size and complexity, it is critical to reassess their CRM requirements to ensure software meets their current needs. Other considerations include integration capabilities. Small companies should look for a system that can integrate with their other tools, such as email, calendar, marketing, and accounting software. Flexibility is another important point. Decision-makers should opt for a system that allows for customization. CRM Strategy Midsized Business If you’re at a midsize company, your CRM strategy will change quite a bit from that of a startup or small business. First and foremost, you’ll likely have a part or full dedicated resource to running your CRM. It will be part of someone’s job, so you’ll have smart minds always thinking about how your CRM can do more. Since your business has grown already, it’s likely that you have a good CRM strategy in place – either informally or formally. Your CRM is the single source of truth for your business and all data is kept in there securely. You likely have customized it to suit your business with custom fields, custom objects and page layouts. You will also have likely created key integrations to your communications, accounting and HR software. If these are not in place, building a strategy around processes, customizations and integrations is a great place to start. If the above are already in place, you can take your CRM strategy to the next level. This includes: Identifying target audiences – Ensure these are spelled out and that there is alignment among teams of their effectiveness. Establishing an ICP (ideal customer profile) is a crucial step. Mapping customer journeys – Map out what your current reality is, what you want your reality to be, and how your CRM can close those gaps. Setting clear objectives – Build a strategy around exactly how you want the team to engage with the CRM. Integrating marketing software – Aligning your marketing and sales teams is key to growth. According to a recent survey from Ascend2 and Insightly, 36% of companies with aligned technology on their GTM teams showed a significant increase in revenue compared to just 14% of those with less alignment. Measuring success via relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) – Ideally, do this quarterly or semi-annually, but annually at a minimum. Refining the strategy continuously based on feedback and performance – At your annual review, revise and revisit the CRM strategy for the new goals of the business. Choosing a CRM for a Midsize Business Midsize companies should not invest in an expensive, legacy system like Salesforce but they still require a modern CRM that automates processes and streamlines sales, marketing, and customer service operations. These organizations should also focus on CRMs that provide a unified customer view, allowing their reps to communicate with prospects across various touchpoints. They will also want to consider long-term cost implications, including ongoing subscription fees, potential customization costs, and a CRM’s scalability for future needs. When selecting a CRM system, midsize companies must involve stakeholders from various departments like sales, marketing, customer service, and IT to gather diverse perspectives. Additionally, these companies should look for a CRM with a comprehensive feature set that includes: Advanced reporting Workflow automation Customer segmentation Strong integration capabilities Data security and compliance should also be a priority. A CRM should comply with data protection regulations and have robust security features that safeguard customer information. Midsize companies should also evaluate a vendor’s support and training offerings and ensure a CRM product has a responsive support team and online resources, such as video tutorials and FAQ pages. Requesting demos and trial periods is essential to assess a CRM’s functionality and alignment with a company’s needs. Furthermore, researching case studies or seeking references from similar companies can help validate a CRM’s effectiveness for a mid-size company. CRM Strategy Enterprise If you’re at an enterprise, your CRM strategy will change quite a bit from that of a smaller business. You’ll likely have a full team dedicated to running your CRM, so you’ll have smart, capable minds tending to the CRM and thinking about how your CRM can improve. This team should be continuously looking at what each department is trying to achieve and seeking ways for the CRM to support those goals. Can you streamline processes? Provide better information? Provide information faster? Present data in different formats? Support decision making? Improve customer experience? These are the kinds of questions that a CRM strategy team will be thinking about perpetually. Your enterprise would not have grown without a solid, formal CRM strategy in place. Whether your system is in the cloud or on-prem, you likely have customized it to suit your business with custom fields, custom objects and page layouts. Key integrations are in place as needed to your marketing, communications, development, accounting, and HR software. Here are the considerations your enterprise CRM team should have as top of mind. Mapping customer journeys – There are always areas to improve your customer journeys. Your team should regularly map out what your current reality is per product/service line, what you want your reality to be, and how your CRM can close those gaps. Setting clear process objectives – Your team should be dictating the rules of engagement with the CRM, but also continually looking for input to improve them. Integrating vital marketing and accounting software – You’ve got a ton of integrations and that’s great, but aligning your marketing finance teams with the CRM is crucial. In short, these integrations can’t break and should be revisited often for improvements. Measuring success via relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) – Set and check/review your quarterly KPIs around the operation of your CRM. Always be improving. Refining the strategy continuously based on feedback and performance – Revise and revisit the CRM strategy for the new goals of the business. This should be done quarterly. Choosing a CRM for an Enterprise If you have a CRM in place but are considering a switch, you’re in good company. Users of enterprise CRMs are the most likely to be unsatisfied. Larger organizations generally have more comprehensive requirements in terms of functionality and integration with existing systems. As a result, they may choose customized or enterprise-level CRM solutions. These robust CRM platforms include advanced features like: Lead scoring Complex marketing automation capabilities Extensive reporting Integration with other business applications, such as ERP systems, can also enhance data analysis for organizations of all sizes. Plus, implementing effective training programs for employees within different departments results in the successful adoption of a CRM system. Finally, ongoing monitoring and evaluation is integral in a CRM strategy to ensure continuous improvement. In conclusion, recognizing a company’s needs based on its size is essential for creating effective CRM strategies. Organizations can emulate the best CRM strategy examples above and consider factors such as available resources, functional requirements, integration with existing systems, and training programs. CRM Strategy Framework A CRM strategy framework or CRM strategy template is essential for any successful business because it outlines the processes and tactics to manage customer relationships. By implementing a well-designed CRM strategy, businesses can improve customer satisfaction rates and increase overall profitability. To guarantee success, many organizations seek a CRM strategy course that provides comprehensive instructions on how to create an effective framework that incorporates various CRM marketing strategies. One CRM strategy framework example is integrating various touchpoints and channels through which customers interact with a company. That could include: Email marketing campaigns Social media engagement Digital ads/paid ads Search engine optimization (SEO) Live chat support Video calls Text message Direct mail flyers By analyzing customer data gathered from these interactions, businesses can make informed decisions about how best to communicate with customers. Additionally, this data analysis enables companies to tailor their marketing efforts, personalized product recommendations, and anticipate customer needs. It also provides valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns, which can improve products and services. In today’s technologically advanced world, having access to resources such as a CRM strategy framework PDF or CRM strategy framework PPT can help train employees in customer relationship management techniques. These document types often provide step-by-step instructions and visual aids for implementing specific strategies or tools within a company’s overall CRM system. Additionally, utilizing a CRM strategy framework template can be advantageous for businesses looking to implement new techniques or update existing practices. Templates allow companies to input their own unique data and goals into pre-existing frameworks, ensuring the final product is tailored specifically to their needs. This level of customization makes the entire process more efficient and increases the likelihood that employees will fully comprehend and comply with new procedures. The right CRM strategy for your business Your business is one of a kind. You can the above guidelines to develop a CRM strategy that will help you achieve your objectives based on the size of your business today and where you hope to be tomorrow. Insightly CRM is a modern CRM that teams love. It’s easy to customize to your CRM strategy and integrates with the rest of your tech stack. Try a personalized demo today. Not ready to talk to a human? No worries! Watch a demo on demand or just jump right in with a free trial. CRM Integrations | Customer Data Management | Customer Experience | Customer Journey | Customer Relationships | Data privacy | Data visualization | Sales & marketing alignment | Sales process | Sales team Val Riley Val Riley is a tech marketer with more than 20 years of experience. She specializes in Content Marketing at Insightly and previously worked for a marketing automation platform as head of Product and Content Marketing. Also known as The Decaf Marketer, Val is a regular contributor on LinkedIn.