The benefits of CRM solutions are numerous and can be hard to keep track of. In this blog post, I will highlight some of the most important benefits that you should consider when choosing a CRM solution for your business.
CRMs help businesses build relationships with customers by providing a platform for communication and data tracking. They also provide customer insights to help companies make better decisions about their marketing strategies in order to increase sales opportunities. With so many great reasons, it's no wonder why more and more small businesses are adopting CRM software as an essential tool for growing their business!
Moreover, businesses can invest in an ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning system, which can lead to synergies and efficiencies from the various disparate organizational processes that are now linked together when integrated with the CRM software.
Apart from this, CRM solutions also add value by business intelligence and data mining of the customer database known as data warehousing.
All these are the usual benefits of implementing a CRM solution. There are some challenges with CRM implementations, as we shall discuss subsequently.
It would suffice to state here that by implementing a CRM solution, the integration and automation would lead to better efficiencies, increased productivity, and synergies between the various processes.
The challenges associated with a CRM solution include investing a significant amount of money in the process.
As CRM solutions do not come cheap, businesses must make the required investments and be prepared to wait and let the benefits actualize instead of being impatient and demanding instant solutions.
The point here is that CRM implementations are usually long-drawn affairs, which means that the commitment from the businesses must be deep and meaningful. Further, there is a slip between the cup and the lip as far as CRM implementations are concerned.
These relate to the lack of coordination between the businesses and the vendors that usually result in the requirements being not met because the vendors did not understand the requirements properly.
The businesses were pressurizing the vendors for faster implementations and quicker results. Apart from these challenges, the users need to be trained properly, and this is an aspect that does not receive the attention it deserves. This is because unless the users are trained in using the CRM software, there are likely to be mismatches between the user expectations and the reality of the implementation.
If we look at the future evolution of CRM solutions and the future trends, we find that in the future, CRM would be web-based and analytics-driven. In other words, this means that CRM would be used along with Data Analytics and the emerging trend of Big Data that are the future drivers for CRM. Further, social media would need to be integrated with the CRM solutions so that users can have the benefit of web 2.0 being integrated into the CRM solutions.
Apart from this, the emerging trend of eCRM or the electronic commerce based CRM would mean that EDI or Electronic Data Interchange would be the transmission mechanism through which the CRM solutions will be implemented. Moreover, the days of standalone CRM solutions are over, and the future would belong to CRM solutions being an integral part of the overall organizational automation and process integration. This would mean that CRM would not be an isolated solution but would be part of the holistic approach towards the integration of the entire organizational activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
To start, there are three main types of CRMs: collaborative, operational, and analytical. To help you get your bearings, we'll cover what a CRM is to begin with, how the three types of CRMs differ, and how to select the right product for your company.
What does a CRM system do? A CRM system essentially provides a central place where businesses can store customer and prospect data, track customer interactions, and share this information with colleagues. It allows businesses to manage relationships with customers, helping the business to grow.
Examples of CRM are sorted by types, such as general use, inbound lead management, sales tracking, social tracking, and a fully integrated system. Most software solutions fall into one or two or multiple CRM types. For instance, HubSpot CRM is an inbound marketing CRM, but it has general, all-purpose tools as well.
Why Customer Relationship Management is Important For Your Business
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology that helps businesses build and improve relationships with customers or clients to enhance customer loyalty, communication, profits, and the internal and external functioning of a business.
After all, customer loyalty and retention are some of the most important components for generating profits. Many processes go into doing a profitable business- sales, marketing, lead generation, to name a few. CRM systems help to collect and store information across a business as a whole and keep track of things like customer data and sales pipelines.
CRM systems store this data so that internal teams across a business can access necessary data when needed. They can be particularly useful for sales teams, for example, when accessing the information on whether a lead has been contacted or when closing a new deal with a client.
So, now that we know what customer relationship management is and why it is important, let's look into ways it helps businesses.
Here are the 8 Ways a CRM helps businesses
Builds Customer Relationships And Loyalty
A business might not find it a challenge to gain customers initially, but if it finds it difficult to maintain customer retention and increase its loyalty, there's a problem.
Customer loyalty is a clear indicator that a business is satisfying its customers and building relationships and can be the key to unlocking more leads and expanding its customer base.
Customer relationship management looks at data from previous sales to compile evidence on what is and isn't working for the current processes.
This can include conducting surveys from customers, learning what campaigns have succeeded the best in the past, and finding out who the target audience is, their interests, buying patterns, communication methods, etc.
One of the key benefits of adopting a customer relationship management strategy is that it improves communication between a company and its customers–both new and existing.
A good way of doing this is to use CRM software to strategize a clear step-by-step process for how a business will communicate with its customers.
Whether that's keeping in touch with new leads via a monthly email newsletter or offering loyal customers exclusive rewards.
Another way of improving customer loyalty using a CRM system might be to compile data on a business's target audience.
Companies should find out exactly how their audience prefers to be contacted, what they are looking for from the products and services they purchase, and the brands they connect with.
CRM systems can be used to compile data from current, prospect, and past sales- making targeting for future campaigns more accurate.
CRM helps a business strategize ways to strengthen relationships and build to improve retention for existing customers.
CRM systems can help to automate things like monthly campaigns or emails so that businesses can send out better-targeted emails to loyal customers, offering them access to unique rewards or asking for feedback.
CRM can improve the communication process for new or prospective customers by keeping track of when the sales team contacts customers.
A successful customer relationship management strategy only works if businesses put the focus on what customers are looking for from a business.
Experiences for customers will only be improved when a business puts the focus back on them.
CRM systems should be used to pull information from customer data and used to help the growth of a business, finding what trends are relevant for audiences and how customer satisfaction can be improved.
One of the huge benefits of CRM systems is that they allow a business's information to be stored in one place.
For companies large and small, storing data in one place allows everyone in the company to be able to access information when they need to.
This can be particularly useful when it comes to sales, as interactions with leads and customers can be tracked and shared within teams, leaving opportunities for upselling or account growth.
Secondly, data storage helps to minimize confusion and mistakes because information can be traced back to specific times.
For example, when a salesperson contacts a lead only to find that the lead is not interested, if it is tracked, other members of the team know not to contact that person to attempt to make a sale.
Whereas, without data recording, there is a possibility that another member of the sales team could contact the disinterested lead.
This not only wastes time for the sales team, but it also looks bad for the business as the lead would have to explain that the company has already contacted them.
When the number of mistakes in business is reduced, so too are customer complaints.
With up to date data at the touch of a button, CRM systems help businesses to spend less money on strategies that produce poor results.
For example, marketing campaigns or underperforming product sales.
Since CRM is all about learning more about a business's customers, there is more opportunity to learn about what the customer expects from a business and what products, marketing techniques and methods of communication work best.
CRM systems allow a business to look into the purchase history, sales figures, and success of products or services they sell, allowing future campaigns to be more optimized.
Moreover, CRM systems also help to improve profits because businesses have a better judgment of what will sell best.
By minimizing costs on what products or services don't work as well, businesses gain opportunities for better profit margins.
Streamlines the Sales Process
Customer relationship management works to help the sales process through streamlining.
When the sales process is streamlined and seamless, it helps to keep everyone in a sales team on track and gives customers clear steps for making purchases.
Are there communication issues in your company between the sales and client management teams?
Perhaps customers have found it confusing to know who to contact if they have any issues with your services?
Managing and rectifying these issues is the first step to success of customer relationship and helps ensure that all parties involved in the sales cycle understand the process.
With a clear sales process comes an improvement in customer satisfaction which can even influence profits!
It Helps With Organization
The implementation of a CRM system also helps to organize a business internally.
We've spoken about how they can help streamline the sales process, which allows teams within a company to structure their workloads more efficiently.
Since CRM systems keep track of all data, day to day operations become a lot more organized, meetings can be scheduled through a CRM system, tasks can be prioritized, and calendars help teams to track deadlines or targets.
Efficiency within an organization will shine through externally, and customers will soon be impressed at the organized and efficient sales process.
It Helps With Internal Communication
The purpose of CRM is to enhance a business's processes, including both internal and external communication.
Internally, if the sales team has a clear understanding of the processes and all sales information is stored in one place, it minimizes the likelihood of mistakes and confusion and improves team communication.
Let's think of it this way–if a hotel business operated without a CRM system and instead relied on pen and paper to keep track of bookings, an in-house team working different days of the week might fail to keep track of whether new guests were arriving early or any specific requirements, because the chances of a team missing information written down are more likely.
With a CRM system, every booking would be logged, so the team on shift knows the exact time of expected arrival for each new guest and any special requirements.
What's more, it's not just the sales team that can benefit from a CRM system.
Any team within a company that needs to find information about a sale, customer, or campaign can search using the CRM system.
Since the information is stored in one place, it prevents confusion across the whole business and saves time because teams don't need to wait for another team to seek out the information they need.
Better Targeted Marketing Campaigns
With the help of a CRM system, marketing campaigns can be better targeted at customers depending on their stage in the sales cycle.
You might target your campaigns based on whether they are leads, new customers, or loyal customers/brand advocates.
Future marketing and sales processes become more aligned and specific to each target audience with better-targeted and more personalised communications from past sales data.
It Can Help To Increase Profits
All of the above are components within CRM that can contribute to an increase in profits.
With more streamlined processes in place and detailed data, businesses can expect their customer satisfaction and loyalty to improve, which can directly affect sales.
By utilizing important CRM data, businesses can find better ways to reach leads and new customers and marketing methods for communicating with loyal customers.
Role of CRM In Driving Customer Satisfaction
CRM plays an important role in driving customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are profitable to a firm not only because they are likely to make repeat purchases but also because they promote the firm through words of mouth. Thus, CRM improves the firm's market share by bringing in more customers.
However, proper implementation of CRM is a must for customer satisfaction. CRM prescribes that in order to satisfy the customers, first of all, it is important to understand the customers.
Customers should be very well understood for their tastes, attitudes, preferences and decision-making factors.
This helps the firms in identifying their target customers. No firm can ever cater to all the customers satisfactorily, so identification of the target market is a prerequisite.
Next, the marketing mix should be aligned to the target market's demands to maximize their satisfaction. CRM provides for effective company-customer communication so that the firm's marketing mix can be tailored to suit the target market.
This also helps the firm trace customers' changing preferences and anticipate future demand to design future offerings according to it. However, no matter how superior a firm's marketing mix, there is always a scope for customer grievances. Therefore, CRM also requires that any customers' complaints and grievances should be handled properly. This helps secure the customers' trust in the firm and develops a bond between the firm and customers. Thus, CRM is a continuous process and requires regular efforts. The marketplace is highly competitive today, and customer satisfaction is the only key to survival. The customers, therefore, should be treated as assets and must be valued forever.