Part database, part prospect insights, customer relationship management (CRM) systems are essential when it comes to keeping track and staying in touch with potential customers. This kind of detail-oriented tracking is even more important in smaller businesses, where each and every customer makes a big difference.

But what exactly is a CRM system? Basically, CRM systems are central repositories for customer contact information, call details, email and transaction history; meaning every interaction a business has with a client is carefully detailed for further analysis, engagement and reporting.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 3.54.04 PMDespite this value, CRM returns are not always transparent. A study by Nucleus Research found that every 1$ invested in a CRM system generates $8.71. Another report by Salesforce found that CRMs help small businesses increase sales up to 29% and improve productivity up to 34%

Need more proof? Below are three reasons all businesses need a proper CRM system.

1. A system that constantly automates and aggregates useful data provides effortless revenue maximization.

Having a system that automates and aggregates data collection via email, phone and text into a CRM that you can easily access means that you save big time on the hours, dollars and effort usually spent on manual tracking and messaging. Instead, your sales pipelines are now completely transparent so you know exactly how much customers are spending and what they’re spending their money on. Signpost’s system aggregates all of this information for you, including payments, emails, and phone calls to make sure your customer list is always growing. With the most up-to date data always available, maximizing revenue and minimizing costs just got a lot more effortless.

2. Data analysis leads to outcomes. 

By running basic reports and tracking metrics, you’re able to have a better handle on various aspects of your sales process. Not only can a CRM track all interactions your business has with customers, it can also can automatically aggregate new customer information from text, email or phone calls, keeping it in one convenient location. Services like Signpost can then take this information and provide data analysis and actionable insights to help you turn customer data into sales and profits.

With a proper CRM system, Nucleus Research found that employees were 26.4% more productive because of the ability to access valuable customer data from anywhere.

3. Automated, uniform data access leaves more time for the business owner.

If there’s one thing all small business owners have in common, it’s that they’re busy. The most important reason you need a CRM is quite simply that it will save you time. An automated, centralized system is a great way to make sure none of your customer data slips through the cracks, and that you’re consistently reaching out to your customers, all without the need for active participation on the part of the business owner or employees.

A CRM is also important for helping you to identify new and repeat customers. And that’s a big win for ever-important customer satisfaction; the better prepared and informed you and your employees are about customers, the more likely customers will have a positive experience, which inevitably leads to higher sales. A CRM will make sure your business is always prepared and running efficiently.