Customer relationship management (CRM) is vital for businesses, both big and small. The main goal of building relationships with your customers is to improve customer retention and drive sales. To improve CRM, a lot of companies now need to use CRM software. 

The adoption of CRM systems has increased exponentially over the years. In 2008, only a mere 12% used a cloud-based CRM; that figure has grown to 87% today. In this article, we will help you to understand and implement CRM systems for your business. We will cover the following topics:

  • What is CRM
  • CRM strategies
  • Choosing your CRM system

What is Customer Relationship Management?

The definition of CRM is the processes, practices, systems and applications that a company uses to manage their relationships with its current customers and new prospective customers. Building relationships with customers is usually done using CRM tools and customer service. 

Usually, larger companies will use a CRM software platform to collect, store, and organise customer data, which helps simplify customer management at scale. However, suppose you run a small business. In that case, you should be using a CRM platform, too. It provides a lot of benefits, and can help your business grow and retain customers.

Contrary to popular belief, the customer journey doesn’t end when you make a sale. In fact, with the right customer management system in place, the point of sale is just the beginning of a new lasting relationship with a new customer who can soon become a loyal customer that believes in your brand. With good customer management, you can connect with your customers and encourage them to buy your product or service time and time again. 

Customer relationship management strategies

One of the best ways to increase your company revenue is to retain customers. Retaining customers is five times more cost-effective than acquiring new customers. There’s also the added benefit of increased customer loyalty and more positive word of mouth. Here are some strategies you can use to improve your customer relationships. 

Email sequences

With over three billion email users globally, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most profitable forms of marketing for many companies. The main advantage of email marketing is that it offers 1-on-1 between you and your customers. It’s a great way to avoid the noise of social media and to converse with your customers. Email is personal by nature. The more personal you make it, the more likely it is that customers will read them. Over time your email should boost engagement and increase customer loyalty. 

Live chat

Live chat has become widely adopted by companies big and small. Instead of waiting on hold over the phone for 15 minutes, customers can now type a message into a chatbox and get a relatively quick answer from a bot or a customer service rep. 

Live chat can also do more than make your customers happy; it can also be used in the sales process. Live chat is often used on websites to greet visitors and help them to find what they’re looking for. As a result, 63% of customers are more likely to return to a website if it offers a live chat service. By providing live chat, you’re showing that you care for your customers, and in turn, they will love your brand even more and become even more loyal customers. 

Landing page

A good website is essential for every website, big and small, but that’s not enough to convert website visitors into leads. A lot of small businesses forget about creating a specific landing page for visitors from different marketing channels. A good landing page is designed with a particular call to action (CTA) in mind. For example, you might want people to buy a product or sign up for a newsletter. Whatever CTA you choose can be a powerful way of turning prospects into qualified leads or customers. 


You can make email and SMS more personalised by using audience segmentation, which is when you create smaller focus groups within your broader audience. These segment group prospects with shared interests so you can improve your messaging and content specific to their needs and interests. According to MailChimp, segmenting audiences resulted in a 14% increase in open rates in their email marketing campaign. Here are some examples of different ways you could segment customers:

  • Customers based in the UK and customers based in Europe
  • Segmenting male and female customers would be significant for a clothing brand
  • Customers that have already bought something on your website and those that have only visited your website

Choosing your CRM system

There are lots of different CRM platforms to choose from. However, all of them aren’t suited for small businesses. So let’s look at some of the ideal ones for smaller companies. 


Salesforce is one of the most popular and well-known CRM software platforms on the market. Salesforce offers a basic package for small businesses called Lightning Essentials. This package will provide you with:

  • Advanced contact manager
  • Email integration
  • Follow-up reminders 


Hubspot is another very popular CRM. It’s a popular choice for beginners as it offers an entirely free service for small businesses. You can do a lot of things with Hubspot, including:

  • Track your company’s activities
  • Create contact and company profiles
  • Manage all of your in a detailed dashboard
  • Assigning and tracking deals
  • Versatile integration with other apps

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM has a lot to offer on its free version. However, a lot of their advanced features are on their reasonably priced premium versions. Some of the features on the free version include:

  • Website visitor tracking
  • Lead scoring
  • Sales signals
  • Email marketing automation

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