The Surprising Things You Can Do With CRM

As part of the continuing Small Biz in :15 on Location interviews, the trip to Austin, Texas for ZohoDay 2022 has resulted in yet another conversation small businesses will be able to appreciate.

This time around it is, “Doing Surprising Things With CRM.” with Vibhav Vankayala, Product Marketing, Zoho Corporation and Dilip Nagarjaran, product manager of Zoho CRM, who point out surprising things you can do with CRM.

A single digital application can provide a wide range of solutions for a small business. However, not everyone knows everything there is to know about the application or what they can do with it. And whether the tool is simple or complex, there are options that are not always used by the business purchasing the application. Vibhav Vankayala will share what some of those options are when it comes to CRM

Check out the full interview with Gopal Sripada above on YouTube or listen on SoundCloud using the player at the bottom of the page.

The first part of the conversation is between Shawn Hessinger, the Executive Editor of Small Biz Trends and Vibhav Vankayala, followed by Dilip Nagrajaran.

Shawn: If you were to think of one thing that small businesses might not initially think they can do with CRM, what would that be or might not realize?

Vibhav: It is to compete with a much bigger player. For example, you have a neighborhood mom-and-pop store. Maybe they’re always thinking 7-Eleven is big, I’m never gonna get to that level of service; they have AWS they have this, they have that.

However, Vibhav says these small businesses can because the eCommerce revolution has brought in the power for smaller businesses to compete with large companies, even Amazon. He adds:

“Set up a competent CRM, eCommerce, and customer service and you don’t even need agents, for example, you could always start with self-service,” he says.

According to Vibhav, you don’t need to hire 20 people, a contact center, and a large space to get a customer service operation going.

He adds, “It doesn’t have to be all that, all you need is a self-service park to start, and having that is still better than nothing and customers not being able to reach you. So yeah, it’s the ability to actually punch above their weight.”

Shawn: There’s something you said that also spurs another question which I think fits into the other idea that we were talking about with surprising things you might not know about CRMs. So let me ask you, how does CRM help you predict what a customer wants before you have any way of knowing that they want it?

To this Vibhav says there are two things statistical information and attributing information from various things.

Vibhav: The first one is statistical information of that specific customer based on these customers’ previous purchase patterns, mentioning their interests.

For example when you go to Spotify, actually, when you sign up as a new user on Spotify you get to pick some kinds of music that you like. That is as basic as it gets and based on that as a business owner, you start building a profile of every customer.

You build a persona and it’s not exactly based on or rather it shouldn’t just be based on specific aspects like age, for example. I think that’s old school coming to conclusions just based on age but more so based on how you think and that eventually comes down to what your preferences are. So, historical information.

The attribution of information:

So, maybe somebody who likes soul and jazz is most likely to like some kind of a product. It certainly says something about the way they think the way they feel right. So that is attribution data. So one is exactly based on that customer and the second is building that attribution model.

And honestly, a lot of these are hit or miss. You should equally be understanding to say, oh no no this is not right. So maybe we need to change that, I’ve made the wrong assumption about this custom because I mean people are not boxes, that’s exactly why you can’t use a spreadsheet.

People are not numbers they’re different, they’re interesting, and that’s exactly why CRM is needed.

Vibhav adds customer continuity has made them omnipresent everywhere because of the many touchpoints, and when you have that when customer behavior has gone on to such a level the only way is to automate with CRM. Because of that continuity, the customer can always reach out, to even the CMO. The customer can say I don’t like this product, why do you keep selling to me? And departments can’t just say that’s not my job, talk to someone else. And not having CRM will never get you to understand those intricacies.

The next part of the conversation is with Dilip Nagrajaran.

Shawn: So do you think maybe it’s a mistake for small businesses to think of it [CRM] just in terms of sales as a sales tool?

Dilip: Yes, most of them have got that tagline saying that okay, CRM means it’s always been sales so the time has come that it goes beyond the sale.

There are so many operations, you know revolving around sales, there are so many operations regarding the service. So yes, definitely, so we are getting into the place where CRM could serve beyond sales, definitely.

Shawn: When you think about small businesses are always being told, you know it’s not just more sales, it’s maintaining relationships with existing customers and that’s essentially what the name of CRM is, but maybe people don’t think of it that way. I think you kind of started with this, but maybe you could add to it. What are the basic ways that people can use, not to just generate sales but to maintain relationships with the customers they already have?

Dilip: Absolutely. That’s a great point because that’s the whole purpose of the relationship management software itself.

So how do you touch base with them? It is not just that they have given the business to it, that’s it, that’s the end of the CRM. Actually, the CRM or the relationship starts once they become the customer. So how do you engage them for any loyalty program per se?

And how do you ensure that you have a constant relationship in case of anything which comes inside? How do you cope with them? How do you update them in terms of all these things? How do you culturally connect with them? How do you value them, because they are the boss of your business?

The software should bring that relationship, not just because you’re doing sales, that is a human touch. That is what we have to bring inside CRM.


Listen on SoundCloud …

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 9 years. He currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.