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CRM for Small Business Partnerships

Updated on January 9, 2013

Capture, Retain, Manage

Essential Elements to Capture, Retain, and Manage
Essential Elements to Capture, Retain, and Manage | Source

Share Valuable Information with Executives

Having a shared CRM for small business partnerships is an easy way to improve and open the communication channels in the deal. Consistently managing the new business relationship is time consuming and critical, depending on the nature of the deal a collaborative customer relationship management database will eliminate delays in information reaching the right executives about the progress being made by the teams involved. Companies that set up, relationships that are very business development focused and have longer sales cycles are more likely to need to develop a co use Customer Relationship Management database.

Setting up the processes to track all incoming business leads from a partner and track the sale through the whole sales cycle provides executives on both side of the partnership to quickly see through a dashboard the success or failure of the relationship. Important items to be monitoring include gaining the business lead to closing the deal and finally servicing the customer with a product or service. It is wise to have your databases configured for having fields to denote which accounts are business partners and which accounts are your customers so that the CRM system can manage the two separately. While this may sound difficult to up and running, it is fairly easy for most people comfortable with a computer to follow the basic instructions and get up and running. There is also a wide array of computer consulting business that can assist in deploying a cost effective software solution for your business that can help achieve the customization your company may require.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

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What is the best small business CRM system?

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Design for Small Businesses

Here is a list of the most popular online cloud based relationship management solutions on the market designed for being used by small business owners and their teams. Make sure to review the pricing / subscription model and pick the right solution for your company based off how many people will be accessing the data and the potential growth of the team in the near and distant future.

1. Zoho CRM
2. Salesforce
3. Highrise by 37 Signals
4. SugarCRM
5. Infusionsoft

There are many comparable options to choose from aside from these, but the companies above are all great products and have solutions at varying levels of pricing and supporting services. They were all built with the idea a small business could set up and operate with them. Salesforce is likely the most complex of the solutions, but is still very manageable for a small team to get the hang of using.

The above companies have all served Fortune 500 sized companies as well as the 3 person start up company and everything in between. Most services will have a directory of their local integrator partners that can help speed up the install process if you need to get a CRM database up and running quickly or have an antiquated contacts database that needs to be upgraded to a more secure cloud based solution. Companies even on a very slim budget can get away with a free solution from a company like Zoho to try out and get up and running and only pay once your company is over 3 people using the software.

A Tool for Partnership Longevity

The most important elements of any system is to manage the data about business contacts, whether they are clients or partners recording all interactions with a business relationship is important to maintain an active file for all employees that might be required to work with that person. A new hire or a replacement manager needs to have the ability to quickly, be up to speed on every deal that is in the pipeline, potential business leads and closed deals that need to be messaged about upcoming upgrades, additional products, or changes in services. As a list of potential candidates for a business partnership are being researched create a profile for the company inside of the database even if the company is ultimately left off the contact list for the immediate future, the business may be a good partner at a later stage or with a new product or service and so do not get rid of any data that is compiled about a company.

As an executive, it is necessary to maintain control of the data that team members are collecting and compiling working for the company. Failing to maintain control over company information related to business deals and business leads can set a company back many weeks / months or longer if a problem occurs. This is a issue that occurs often with sales teams that are helping put together deals customers and while in the process of putting in place business partners for business development experts. If a business does not have strict company policies in place regarding data and how contact information is stored then when a team member leaves or is “hit by a bus” then all of the information gained can be lost or taken with them to a competitor. A CRM system set up with the correct company polices and is actively used by management helps eliminate this risk tremendously.


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