27/09/22 CRM in SMEs - Requirements, challenges, and new aspirations

Small- and medium-sized companies are the backbone of the economy, technology, and employment. They are the driving force for innovation, and their ability to react very quickly and flexibly to market changes makes them strong partners for other companies and the worldwide economy.

Ralf Korb, CRM-Experte In the last few years, the markets have changed faster than ever. The more agile a company can be in reacting to these changes, the better its sustainability and success. No company can achieve this goal without a stable and reliable customer and information platform (CRM). Ralf Korb, an experienced CRM expert and analyst, has taken stock of current requirements, expectations, and preferences for customer relationship management solutions. With this information in tow, he will grant us his insight on the topic to answer the question: What are the newest developments, what has manifested, and what remains constant in CRM?


Customer Centricity between long-term planning and pragmatic implementation
Customer Centricity is essential for the success of SMEs, they need to follow a holistic and individual approach when looking at their customers to ensure they offer the best and most appropriate services and products. The ever-changing list of customer wishes are particularly challenging if you want to ideally support your customers and create positive experiences. On the one hand, this requires a lot of flexibility and adaptability. On the other hand, you must not lose track of the goals and strategies of your own company. SMEs are masters in balancing sustainable concepts and quick and pragmatic implementation, while also keeping costs as low as possible. That's not an easy feat if you take all aspects into account – but with an intelligent CRM solution and the right CRM partner, it's not rocket science either.

Exchange on eye level: A community with heart and mind

The familiar and proven is important to SMEs: factors such as security, empathy, and good references are pivotal for decision making. With heart, intellect, and the goal of customer satisfaction, SMEs act pragmatically and solution-oriented. A CRM solution needs to match these properties. Companies must provide transparent data across all departments in compliance with legal requirements to ensure efficient, customer-oriented, and secure daily routines. Despite the many requirements and wishes, the CRM software is still supposed to remain practical, functional, and affordable as SMEs usually work with smaller budgets.

 Mircea Prelipceanu

Additional note from Mircea Prelipceanu,
Head of International Sales at CAS CRM:

The highly flexible CRM solution CAS genesisWorld is an optimal companion for your daily business. Numerous key functions, a modular structure, and multiple interfaces for consistent system landscapes enable you to process data in compliance with legal requirements across all departments. Whether you're working in sales, marketing, or service, in the office, the mobile office, or on the go, all customer data is centrally available in CAS genesisWorld. Custom dashboards with user-specific functions accelerate the information flow and increase efficiency. Thus, you can establish individualized customer service across all departments and make your customers your fans.

Besides the functionality, know-how, and problem-solving expertise, the empathy of the software supplier and CRM consultant is essential when choosing a CRM solution and supplier. And who could be better than someone who knows the requirements of SMEs and lives the SME mentality?

Additional note from Mircea Prelipceanu:
Built by an SME for SMEs - whether you're looking for a pragmatic, standard CRM solution, an industry-specific CRM, or Cloud CRM: the CRM + AIA® solution CAS genesisWorld ideally supports companies that focus on their customers.

CRM: Between promises and expectations

As a company-wide information and customer data platform focusing on the customer, a CRM solution supports the following goals:

  • Increasing customer value,
  • extending the customer lifecycle,
  • transforming the customer into a fan,
  • increasing efficiency,
  • quick ROI.

At the same, SMEs want to remain in control of their data and create their own security measures. Likewise, they need to retain legal security and comply with legal requirements and safeguards when processing data. Under no circumstances can the company's reputation be jeopardized. Therefore, the CRM solution should offer functions for data protection and security that enable you to comply with the EU-GDPR and securely host in certified and, ideally, local data centers


Tip: Look for software and implementation specialists that are experts in data protection and in your industry when choosing the vendors and partner for your CRM solution. If the employees of the service provider and vendor are well-trained, they will help motivate your team and increase the magnitude of success.


Additional note from Mircea Prelipceanu:
Certified with the "fair.digital" quality seal and honored as "Software Made & Hosted in Germany", CAS Software stands for seamless data security. With more than 200 local partners partially specialized for particular industries, the appropriate experts are always available to our customers in our ecosystem.


Proven strategy: Long-term planning, short-term implementation
Despite the often limited resources and organizational challenges, the wishes and requirements for the functional scope of a CRM solution are always extensive – which is understandable if you want to deploy company-wide and gain a 360° view of all customers and information. The lists of requirements can include anything from sales force automation and sales management to marketing automation, event management, newsletters, customer services, and helpdesks to project management and field service management – to name only a few. Creating a project team with representatives from all departments (roles) has proven successful for reconciling the identified requirements in one solution. This team is supposed to collect the "must-haves" and wishes, prioritizes them, and distributes the tasks across implementation phases. Thus, you can divide long-term strategies into smaller, more digestible bites that can be implemented quickly and successfully in the short term.


Additional note from Mircea Prelipceanu:
With the right project method,CRM implementation becomes a controlled process: all stakeholders are included from the start, responsibilities are transparently communicated, and processes are defined early on. A step-by-step introduction in stages (according to areas or functions) then increases software knowledge and acceptance.


We need chemistry: Success factors in CRM projects
If you have a partner you can trust, you have taken the first step toward a successful CRM implementation. Your partner guides your team and ensures that you create efficient processes in the CRM system in the short term and optimize these processes in the long term. Thus, your daily business does not fall to the wayside, and you can keep the overview of the costs.

Tip: Use the consultation expertise of IT specialists, lessen your team's workload, and let your internal experts focus on optimizing your processes – because no one knows your company as well as your team.

In order to make the implementation phase ideal for everyone involved, short project runtimes and a quick sense of achievement are crucial for a successful CRM introduction. Therefore, you need to involve your employees early in the CRM implementation and change process to ensure acceptance of the IT solution. SME employees want to understand and relate to the tools they use, which is why a reliable CRM consultant and step-by-step implementation are essential.

Additional note from Mircea Prelipceanu:
Worldwide, you can always rely on our certified CAS Partners on site during the CRM implementation as your individual contact person. In collaboration with you, they ensure seamless operation during the CRM implementation: personal, easy, and efficient.


A market in motion: Reacting to change
The markets are perpetually in motion with the pulse of the times; SMEs often notice the rapid market changes first and need to adapt to new circumstances. That's why it is important to implement a CRM solution that changes and grows with the company. Thus, you can keep your costs down sustainably and the SME can keep up with the changes. To stay current, employees need to be able to implement changes by themselves without any additional resources. Moreover, the choosen software partner needs to be innovative and continuously identify, establish, and implement new potentials for improvement.

Screencollage CAS genesisWorld x14

Additional note from Mircea Prelipceanu:
The innovative SmartDesign® technology makes our CAS CRM solutions highly adaptive and intelligent. They grow with your company, easily adapt to new challenges, and, thanks to intelligent assistants, not only create more efficient processes, but also provide information for well-founded decisions. Thus, the users' knowledge always grows.


CRM is worth it: Fair prices for a limited budget and a quick ROI
High investment measures often constitute insurmountable hurdles for SMEs. With an SME-appropriate, budget and a precise idea of the cost-benefit ratio, SMEs often have only limited options. However, you can now choose between multiple options to operate a CRM solution with fair prices (buying, renting, or leasing).

A standard CRM solution with extensive functions and a modular structure is ideal for the start. Thus, you can start 'small' with your CRM solution and then add further functions, modules, or user licenses step by step, for example, to solve function- or department-specific issues, such as sales management, marketing automation, or customer services. This way, you can keep the costs low, your daily business can continue uninterrupted, and you still remain flexible in shaping your custom CRM solution. The digitalization process and the transparent provision of customer data across different departments and platforms ensure more efficiency in your company and a quick ROI.

Additional note from Mircea Prelipceanu:  Convince yourself: open the ROI calculator >>


The secret to success for SMEs: Living CRM
In the end, you will have a successful company that lives and breathes CRM and creates exciting customer relationships, because modern business still relies on people. Therefore, the middle-class mentality with a penchant for personal contact is the basis for success, spurred on by a little help from digital tools and thinking assistants. Contrary to what most people think, digitalization of CRM supports your daily routines: it optimizes processes, makes customer data available centrally and supports hybrid work in the office, home office, and on the go. Thus, your employees can focus on what truly matters: the customer.

What's important is to get a partner who delivers more than just software. With empathy, heart, and mind ... with lived Customer Centricity, digital sovereignty, and the spirit of innovation, the sustainable digital transformation of the SME market is well and successfully on its way. It´s up to you to welcome it.

Additional note from Mircea Prelipceanu:
Move your company to a foundation that is future-proof and sustainable: Discover CAS genesisWorld x14 now


Ralf Korb

About the author: Ralf Korb
Ralf Korb has more than 30 years of practical experience in the enterprise software industry. After fulfilling different company roles, he has devoted himself to passing on his knowledge as an analyst, author, lecturer and consultant. As one of the protagonists of "#emphaticCRM" and one of the hosts of the CRM Conversations (#CRMConvo), a conference and event speaker, or a consultant and coach, the author contributes to shaping the future of companies and organizations.

Among other roles, he guides companies through the process of selecting software and advises vendors on market approaches. He teaches at several universities on location or remotely. Since 2014, the owner of Korb & Kollegen also works as a Senior Analyst for BARC GmbH in Würzburg, Germany. Here, he supports the CRM, ERP, and Data Security departments, among others.

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