Explore the Benefits of CRM for Small Businesses

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Outline how small businesses impact the US economy.
  • Describe some of the unique challenges facing small businesses.

Small business have an outsized impact on the U.S. and world economies.

Small Businesses Are a Big Deal

Small businesses are essential to the foundation of our national economy and the fabric of our local communities. There’s nothing small about the impact of small businesses:

  • 97.9% of American companies employ fewer than 20 people.
  • More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business.
  • Small businesses create 63% of all new jobs in the US.
  • There are 125 million micro, small, and midsize businesses in the world.

Even more importantly, small businesses are critical incubators of the kind of innovation that drives entirely new economies. The innovative products and services that have disrupted entire established industries have often come from small business Davids, rather than giant enterprise Goliaths. And while it’s impossible to say exactly where the next industry-changing idea will come from, Salesforce is extremely proud to support small businesses in their drive to change the world. 

Salesforce Was Once a Small Business, Too

Salesforce understands what it takes to succeed as a small business because we started as one.

In the summer of 1999, Salesforce was operating out of an apartment on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. We had 10 employees and a two-page website that included a homepage and a recruiting page asking for resumes to be sent to cooljobs@salesforce.com. Our CLO (chief love officer) was a golden retriever named Koa. Although we’re no longer a small business (and we have a slightly different application process), we intimately understand the dedication and hard work that go into running a small business. 

Because of that, our company has remained deeply rooted in the culture of small business. Salesforce started with the idea that enterprise software should be as easy to use as it is to purchase a book from Amazon. And one of the animating principles of our founding was the idea of democratizing technology to ensure that everyone has access to it. 

Over time, Salesforce has brought cloud, social, and mobile to businesses of every size, and we’ve now added artificial intelligence (AI) to the mix. Because when it comes to the advantages of smarter technology, we believe that enterprise companies shouldn’t have all the fun. 

Running a Small Business Is Challenging

Successfully running a small business practically requires superpowers.

Size isn’t the only thing that sets small businesses apart from larger companies.

In addition to working long hours, finding customers and employees, setting budgets, and a million other daily business tasks, owners of small businesses also face some unique challenges.

They have to do more with less. Thanks to limited resources, every minute and every penny count. 

It’s harder for them to track information. They often rely on analog or ad-hoc systems for storing relevant information. Looking at you, Mr. Sticky Note. 

They need to know their customers and treat them well. Outstanding service is a requirement, not a luxury.

That last point is so important it deserves amplification. Every customer is critical for a small business, but because small businesses tend to operate at a more personal level, they also deal with enormous customer expectations, such as: 

  • Knowing and understanding each customer’s unique challenges
  • Reaching customers in the most convenient way for them (like phone, chat, email, or social media)
  • Being available and responsive from anywhere and everywhere

In other words, they need to be omniscient, omnipresent superheroes who also know each customer’s preferences and nimbly solve their problems. That’s a tall order for a small business. 

Because of those unique challenges, small businesses need technology to help them with things big businesses don’t. 

  • They need to start instantly, without expensive, time-consuming IT ramp up.
  • Their employees may have to help with both sales and customer service.
  • They’re scaling up their business as they grow.

That’s why we built Salesforce Essentials—the easy way for businesses of every size to get started with the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) solution. And because it’s built on the Salesforce Platform, those businesses aren’t at risk of outgrowing their core solutions. Essentials is the solution that finally levels the CRM playing field for businesses of every size.

How CRM Works for One Small Business

“Salesforce Essentials gives us everything we need—and nothing we don’t.” 

Laszlo Bock, co-founder and CEO of Humu

Humu is a small technology company on a mission—to make work better with HR solutions built with science, machine learning, and a little bit of love. Like many growing businesses, Humu managed its customers and deals in a spreadsheet that required tedious manual effort to maintain.

In order to scale its business for growth, Humu needed a platform to automate business processes and integrate with its everyday tools like Google’s G Suite. It also needed a CRM tailored for small business that could keep pace with its busy day-to-day activities.

With Salesforce Essentials, Humu can stay true to its data-driven roots and quickly understand what’s performing well and what isn't, because all its data is easily accessible. It can keep close tabs on how its customers complete the sales cycles and track each step of the sales path to see what needs to be changed and improved.

Essentials is the easiest way for small businesses like Humu to get started on Salesforce, and it’s thrilling to see smaller companies in a host of industries using it to blaze their trails to success.

In the next unit, we take a deeper dive into Salesforce Essentials and explain how and why we designed it with small businesses in mind. 

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