Business Management

Maximizing ROI: How to get the most value from your CRM for small business

Caroline Burk

Updated: Mar 21, 2024 · 11 min read

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CRMs are often the unsung heroes of businesses across all industries, especially for entrepreneurs with limited time. Behind the scenes, CRMs for small businesses help entrepreneurs with a wide variety of tasks, including:

  • Tracking leads through a sales pipeline

  • Collecting and storing information about prospects and customers

  • Organizing contacts into specific groups for more effective outreach

  • Enabling teams to send personalized follow-ups when paired with small business automation

  • Serving as an accessible, consistent source of truth about every contact a business has

  • Empowering teams to make informed, data-backed decisions

The list of services CRM software performs could go on and on, but wouldn’t it be nice to know if you’re really maximizing the potential ROI of the tool?

We’ve put together five actionable tips and a few case studies to help you get the most value from your CRM. But before you can boost your ROI, you have to understand how to measure it.

Understanding the ROI of small business CRM software

It’s hard to keep track of your investment’s return if you don’t know what to look for.

Below are the top metrics to pay attention to when figuring out if you’ve chosen the best CRM system for small businesses — and if you’re implementing your software in a way that ultimately benefits your bottom line:

  • Increased sales: Keep an eye on your sales volume because a well-implemented CRM can capture more leads, store their data and kick off automated follow-up campaigns. This process often means more deals and increased revenue.

  • Less time per sale: Tracking each contact’s stage in the buyer’s journey, triggering automated follow-ups based on that stage and keeping the contact moving through your pipeline are a few ways a CRM can cut down on time needed to convert customers, which enables you to sell more over time.

  • Improved customer retention: A small business CRM is made to help you get personal with your clients and prospects. As you store contact data, organize it and use it to send dynamic content, the result is a better customer experience. This can help businesses reduce churn, increase repeat business, and even lead to new customers due to more referrals and positive reviews.

  • Upselling opportunities: Don’t forget to monitor your business’s upsell rate. Upselling generates more revenue and saves you money. How? Because, according to a study by BIA Advisory, selling to a new customer can cost five to 10 times more than selling to an existing customer. The same report also found that current customers spend 67% more than new customers.

  • Greater efficiency: CRMs automate tasks, streamline workflows, and centralize customer data, which can result in time savings for employees and increased productivity across the organization.

  • Reduced operations costs: Optimizing business processes is a CRM specialty and it can reduce operational costs associated with manual data entry, administrative tasks, marketing campaigns and customer acquisition.

Ultimately, the ROI for a small business CRM depends on how many features you and your team take advantage of. Wondering if you’re using your CRM platform to its fullest potential? It’s time to evaluate your usage. To do so, you can compare your practices with the five tips below and make adjustments to boost your ROI.

5 tips to maximize your CRM’s ROI

To increase your ROI and make your CRM worthwhile, it will take a well-rounded approach. You’ll need to address strategy, goals and team members to get the most benefit out of your software.

At Keap, we work with small businesses every day to help them harness the power of CRM and business automation software. Below you’ll find the top five recommendations we give to our clients so they can maximize their ROI and reach their goals.

1. Align your CRM strategy and business goals

Your CRM strategy shouldn’t be isolated. After all, this software is designed to support your broader business goals, so it’s only natural that your CRM strategy aligns with the other objectives you and your team are striving to achieve.

For example, if your goal is to:

  • increase lead generation, focus part of your CRM strategy on developing engaging lead capture landing pages and forms. Then, plant them across your marketing assets.

  • double your referrals next month, make segmenting your CRM database a priority. You’ll want to tag contacts who had a positive experience or left a good review so you can follow up and ask for a referral.

  • optimize your sales team’s outreach, prioritize automatic lead scoring within your CRM so sales reps can contact the most qualified leads first.

These are just a few examples of how your business’s goals can be directly supported by small business CRM features. And as your strategies align, you may start to notice clearer KPI tracking, more focused campaigns and greater progress because your goals are backed by the data and features of your CRM.

2. Invest in user training

For your team to implement your new, shiny CRM strategy, they need to know how to operate the software. This is why training is a crucial part of maximizing ROI.

Maybe you got some basic training when you first onboarded with your CRM provider, or perhaps you dove headfirst in and found your way on your own. Either way, it’s probably time to invest in thorough training for everyone who will be using your small business CRM. Comprehensive training will help you and your team use the platform more efficiently, navigate the software with confidence, generate more ideas on how the software can support your goals and more. Making a concerted effort to learn your CRM will also ensure you don’t miss out on any exciting product updates or new feature releases.

There are multiple ways to go about training your CRM squad, and the company you choose should have a few options so you can pick the one that best fits your needs. At Keap, we offer implementation services, Keap Academy courses led by CRM experts, an active community of users and Keap experts, and focused events to dive into specific strategies and features. Reach out to your provider to see what they have to offer and choose one (or multiple) that align with your team’s skill level.

3. Customize your CRM to fit your business needs

Out-of-the-box CRM tools are great. They help you get started collecting leads, organizing contacts and setting up workflows quickly, but many businesses forget that these software platforms can and should be customized.

Check out some areas you can start customizing below.

Form fields: Name, address and email are a few fields that might be auto-populated in your form templates. But is that all the information you and your team need to effectively nurture leads and customers? Take a look at your goals and intentionally decide on what information is most relevant. However, make sure not to include too many fields. Keep it to a select few so you don’t overwhelm visitors and deter them from hitting submit.

Landing pages: If you’re hoping to make conversion-ready landing pages using your CRM, they need to match the look and feel of your brand. You want every interaction you have with your audience to be cohesive. So take time to tweak colors and fonts, add copy, and upload logos and images.

Reports and dashboards: Reporting is a huge benefit of your CRM platform, and to squeeze the most information out of your data, it helps to display it in a way that makes sense for your team. Spend time manipulating your reporting dashboard so the more pertinent insights are easy to find. You can also add relevant filters to access more detailed criteria.

Tags and segmentations: When it comes to labeling and segmenting your contacts, you may want to go deeper than marking people as leads, customers and past clients. Fortunately, most CRMs allow for more advanced categorization. Keap’s small business CRM has a tagging system where you can mark each contact with any details you think are best. Then, you’ll be able to segment based on the tags you created.

Rarely is there such a thing as too much customization, so don’t be shy as you comb through your CRM. Check out each feature your platform offers and customize to your heart’s content — just make sure to keep your goals and your team in mind as you do.

4. Take advantage of advanced CRM features

You may have gotten your CRM simply to store all the data you have on your contacts. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s more you can do to maximize your ROI, and it involves diving into some advanced features.

Advanced features are nothing to be intimidated by. In fact, they’re exciting, but when there’s so much at your fingertips, we know it can be difficult to get started. Try going through the three advanced features listed below and add them to your strategy one by one.

  1. Analytics: We touched on this briefly above, but analytics are an advanced feature that can slip through the cracks. Your CRM analytics can help you get to know your contacts better, evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns and communicate more successfully. We’ll dive into analytics a bit more in the next section.

  2. Automation: Want to save time? Pair your CRM with business automation to automate every step in your sales pipeline. You’ll have more time to focus on other aspects of your business, and automation will guarantee no leads fall through the cracks.

  3. Integrations: You can integrate your CRM with other apps for even greater possibilities. Consider pairing your CRM with customer service software for more personalized and streamlined interactions with customers. You could also link it with an ecommerce platform to store insights on contact order history and product interests, or integrate your scheduling tool to synchronize meetings between your calendar and CRM. Check to see if your platform offers Zapier integrations, which can unlock thousands of possibilities.

5. Measure and analyze performance regularly

Routine data deep-dives are something you can’t skip out on if you want to increase your ROI.

To get started, set up your analytics dashboard so it displays the data that matters most. Take into account key performance indicators (KPIs) that relate to your overarching goals. This may include customer retention data, sales velocity reports, lead intake comparisons month-by-month or individual ROIs for your different campaigns.

There’s no cookie-cutter format for your performance dashboard, so feel free to experiment and find what works best for your organization. By monitoring your progress, you’ll gain a greater understanding of what tactics are most effective and be able to pivot if your strategy isn’t producing results.

Success stories

The best way to get inspired and maximize your CRM’s ROI is to see some real-world examples. Check out success stories from real Keap customers who have improved their ROI by getting serious about their small business CRM:

Travel Divas: Shanterria Earley runs a travel agency and she needed a way to track information, including flight itineraries, trip schedules, traveler preferences and so much more. Keap’s small business CRM and business automation provided a place for Shanterria to store the details her team was in charge of and allowed them to automate the thousands of trip follow-ups they had to send before each departure.

The result? Shanterria scaled what started as a one-woman travel agency into a business with 16 employees and an average annual revenue of $17 million.

Avalon Pharmacy: Amit Kakar’s independent pharmacy was up against some huge competitors. His solution was to personalize every interaction he had with customers. To make that happen, Amit implemented a CRM, using it to capture customer information so he could send personal follow-ups — from happy birthday messages to refill reminders and much more. Because of his focused CRM strategy, he went from 15 positive reviews to 500 and increased his revenue by 17%.

Business Made Simple: Donald Miller grew his company, Business Made Simple, from $250K to $16.5 million, and his secret was his CRM. In fact, the root of his growth can be tied back to using his CRM to attract and store 500K qualified leads.

Find your perfect CRM

The only things standing between you and better ROI for your CRM are the five steps you just read about. Pick one and get started today. Results are right around the corner.

No CRM yet? No problem. Download our comprehensive small business CRM buyers' guide and learn how to choose the software that’s right for you.

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