Reinvent SME operations with next-generation CRM

Johannesburg, 20 Feb 2023

Many South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are missing an opportunity to easily streamline and automate their business processes, because they don’t understand the multi-faceted benefits new CRM systems can offer.

This is according to Schutte Venter, Sales Director at Fusion Software, who says many SMEs do not understand the value proposition and advances made in CRM technologies in recent years. “CRM is important, but often underrated. It’s not just a ‘digital customer list’ – it offers process automation, cost savings, integrated data repositories, operational dashboards and consumer-like mobile functionality,” he says. “We find that SMEs who implement an advanced CRM system initially do so with a view to reporting, but quickly build on CRM functionality to become more proactive businesses.”

Venter says while large enterprises depend heavily on advanced CRM systems, many SMEs still view CRM as a ‘grudge purchase’ with limited functionality. “Many don’t realise how a good CRM system improves process flows and customer journeys. In the current economic environment, where it’s vital to retain customers, and the cost of manual work is a serious concern, advanced CRM systems are the answer,” he says. Venter notes that advanced CRM overcomes challenges such as losing track of new leads and quotes, forgetting to follow up on leads and not being able to track teams.

Venter highlights the main benefits advanced CRM systems offer SMEs:

1. ROI – the average return on investment on CRM applications globally is $8.7 for every $1 invested, Venter says.

2. Centralised data – Venter says CRM gives organisations a centralised data repository, where in the past, much of the customer data may have resided among individual staff members, Excel spreadsheets and disparate files. Centralising the data offers visibility, transparency and easy integration into other business systems.

3. Quality data – a centralised data repository also supports standardisation of data across systems, with the option to allow customers to update and confirm their own data. In an advanced CRM system linked to a mobile app, users in the field can create quotes, find clients near their location and update their records on the road, instead of capturing information at the end of the day. They can also track travel and time and access their daily calendars.

4. Enhanced workflows and features – with features such as GPS tracking and management dashboards built in, modern CRM tools serve as efficient operational tools. Venter says: “Management and admin can sit in the office and see where staff are, when they have appointments and what the outcomes are. Where, years ago, CRM was an admin tool, it’s now an operations tool. And because it ties in with accounting and various other business systems, it automates processes across the business and reduces the need for manual capturing and data processing,” he says. 

5. Automation – modern CRM enables seamless process flows, helping improve the customer experience. It delivers a full history of customer interactions, task management, meetings and shared calendars, and allows businesses to log recurring calls and set reminders. Venter says: “Often what makes clients move is the fact that you aren’t talking to them and CRM helps you and reminds you to engage with them.”

6. Analytics and reporting – Venter says: “The biggest change we see from businesses implementing CRM is it changes business from reactive to proactive. Many customers implement CRM wanting reactive reports, but they quickly use the information they gain to plan what they will be doing in future.”

Venter notes that CRM by Fusion Software is priced from R450 per month, per user. “Because it’s locally built and supported, South African SMEs find it affordable to implement. And because it’s designed to offer a consumer-like experience, they don’t need extensive training and skills to manage it,” he says.  

Contact Fusion Software @ 0861 FUSION or