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6 Ways Startups and Small Businesses Can Use CRM for Growth

the word success is written on a sticky note on a cork board

Do you have a startup or are you part of one? Other than the standard uses for a CRM (sales tracking, contact and lead management, etc.), a CRM can be used in many other ways to help grow your business.

Below are a few unique reasons why you should consider using a CRM like Nutshell.

Networking and following up

Most employees at a startup are always networking. Whether at an event, over the phone, or just out on the town, you need to be able to remember whom you spoke with and what you spoke about.

Without a CRM tool, managing your ever-growing list of connections, all in one place, can quickly become cumbersome. Not to mention, you certainly don’t want your efforts to overlap with another member of your team—something that might show disorganization and unpreparedness.

Being able to effectively manage your connections while avoiding overlap could be the difference between locking in an investment, closing a large sale, or potentially missing what could be a life-changing opportunity for your startup.

Your CRM can be used to quickly add notes from conversations you’ve had. This can also unlock collaboration and tracking methods you need to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

At Nutshell, we add everyone we meet into our CRM, and this is visible by all teams within our company, which oftentimes leads to collaboration. You’d be surprised by the unexpected connections that people have.

By creating visibility into your contacts by all employees, it’s possible that these unexpected connections might be established.

Acquisition tracking for marketing and sales

The key to startup marketing is to test everything, test it quickly, and find the channels that you can scale. Once you’ve found a channel that scales, you’ll need to continue to iterate based on market trends. To make sure you’re doing this efficiently and effectively, startups need a lead source tracking system to break down their marketing acquisition data.

We’ve internally customized Nutshell through our own POST API to track where our leads are coming from. To do this, we simply added the lead form code to our landing page, appended our links with Google URL builder, and distributed our new tracking links to ad partners. With this easy integration, Nutshell recognizes the added url tags as sources and is able to store the data in the source of the lead.

With this simple addition, we’re able to find out which marketing channels convert best and deliver customers with the highest lifetime value. Paired with our Mailchimp integration, we’ve been able to send highly targeted, automated emails based on these lead sources.

For example, If we receive a mobile download lead, a user is sent a drip campaign that is more focused on mobile on-boarding; if the lead comes from an advertiser like Capterra, we focus the drip campaign on the specific category from within Capterra that the lead came. You have the ability to do this with a marketing campaign, an email campaign, or even a social media campaign. You’ve basically just hacked a simple, yet valuable customer acquisition-tracking tool into your CRM.

Adding custom tags to leads has also created a more optimized sales process by giving our customer experience team the ability to know where each lead is coming from before we reach out. Our team now knows exactly where the lead is coming from, the copy or content within the ad, as well as the specific creative. This gives them the opportunity to tailor their outreach before they even pick up the phone.

Want to get even deeper with your data? Simply export a spreadsheet to Excel and create a pivot table. This will allow you to dive deeper into your marketing activity by individual channel. If you see one ad partner isn’t performing to your expectations, you can optimize that channel, pause and re-build it, or you can kill it and spend your time and resources on a channel that performs.

Closing your next round

Did you meet a VC at a conference or event? Add him or her in your CRM and create a tag such as ‘VC’ to label each venture capitalist that you meet and create follow0up events for the next time you’re in your office. When the time comes to push hard for your next round, you can easily filter by tags and only show those tagged with ‘VC’ so you can view previous conversations, email threads, questions, concerns, or any other important information.

Internal transparency and collaboration

Startups today are all about collaboration and transparency. Most are now moving to disclose salaries, equity compensation, and company revenue numbers to all employees. The belief behind this is that transparency creates trust, and trust is the foundation for great collaboration within teams.

Using your CRM as a hub for collaboration can greatly increase productivity, effectiveness, and customer satisfaction. This can be especially true for startups that have employees working remotely from various locations. Maybe your team is scattered across Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Boston, and each employee attends events in his or her respective location. You need to be able to track their interactions and conversations with a tool better than email. With a CRM you can easily take a look at everyone in your teams activity to make sure you’re always on the same page. This can also unlock potential collaborative efforts on many fronts.

Internal Dialogue

If your employees know where your company stands, the more willing they are to help you grow it. Being able to see activity all the way up the totem pole creates a winning culture where everyone can be held accountable. A CRM encourages team camaraderie and creates an open dialogue around connections and communication. We use Nutshell to communicate about leads, contacts, to pass bugs or account issues over to our development team, or just to chat about a potential lead or sale. Collaborating within the lead or contact will ensure that communication is never lost in email, chat, or any other communication medium.

Smooth employee turnover

Do you have a tool that is tracking all of your company’s conversation with potential investors or clients? What happens if one of your executives or top salespeople leaves the company and you need to pick up where they left off? Would you know where to begin?

Employee turnover is an issue that all companies face, but due to the competitive nature of startups, turnover can oftentimes be higher than average. The last thing you want to worry about after losing an employee is how you will retrieve all of said employee’s work, contacts, interactions with customers, etc. Using a CRM will ensure that all of this information is stored in the cloud, and is accessible anywhere, from any device.

For startups trying to get off the ground, being strategic and hyper-focused is absolutely critical. Every startup should use a CRM to keep valuable information organized, centralized, and visible by its team members.

Take Nutshell for a test drive and see how your startup can benefit from using our CRM.

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