What does a CRM system do? A CRM is the hub of your marketing strategy, and without one you're missing out on an opportunity to better understand your customers.
It's more than just a database of customer information; it also helps you identify potential leads and measure the success of different marketing campaigns.
You might be wondering what makes this so important for marketers: well, for starters, if you don't know which tools are working best or how to reach new prospective customers, it can be difficult to make any headway in today's competitive environment.
Let’s Break That Down a Bit More
Your company and its people create vast quantities of data every day. Each time someone picks up the phone and talks to a customer, goes out to meet a new sales prospect or follows up a promising lead. They learn something new and potentially valuable.
But where does this data go? Into notepads or documents on laptops perhaps; or maybe it's just stored in their head.
If that's the case, then details can get lost or forgotten, meetings and phone conversations may not be followed up, and choosing what to focus on can be a matter of guesswork rather than a rigorous exercise based on fact.
Worst of all, if the staff member leaves, then all their knowledge may walk out of the door with them.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem.
The key is Customer Relationship Management, or CRM for short. CRM takes your customer data and turns it into valuable, actionable insight that can transform your business.
What Does CRM Software Stand For?
In most cases, when people talk about CRM, they're referring to a CRM system — a tool aimed at helping companies with sales, marketing and service management.
CRM software allows businesses to focus on their relationships with customers, colleagues, suppliers, etc.
With a professional CRM in place, finding new customers, winning their trust, providing qualified support, and providing additional services throughout the relationship becomes much more manageable.
Who Can Benefit from CRM?
The best part about a CRM system is that almost any organizational unit can benefit from it — from sales and customer service to recruiting, marketing, and business development.
Good CRM software gives a better way to manage external relationships.
Storing all customer information in one place, recording service issues, identifying sales opportunities, managing marketing campaigns — are just a few capabilities that CRM features.
Since CRM provides easy access to data, it also becomes more accessible for users to collaborate on different processes and increase productivity.
Another strong argument in favour of CRM is that it is suitable for businesses of any size.
CRM helps sales
CRM software allows sales reps to manage their deals and conduct sales communications from one central location.
By integrating your CRM with your organization's business tools—including email, calendar, and marketing automation software—your sellers don't have to waste time and effort switching back and forth between programs.
CRM software also provides complete insight into the status of every deal in progress and helps sales managers coach their team, establish quotas, and track individual sales rep performance.
Never Drop the Ball
With a CRM, you can automate reminders for your team to reach out to leads at the right time so that potential customers are never lost. In addition, seeing the upcoming actions for every deal removes the guesswork and stress from a sales rep's day.
Stay in the Loop
Modern cloud-based CRM platforms can be accessed from any device, which means your deals aren't all stuck in the office. With mobile CRM access and smartphone notifications, salespeople won't miss anything important, whether they're on a plane, at a client site, or walking into a meeting.
Invest In What's Working, And Stop What's Not
Instead of guessing, a sales manager can track the reasons why deals are won or lost. By analyzing their CRM's customer data patterns and sales reports, sales managers can determine which methods are effective and need to be improved.
CRM helps marketing
Know How Prospective Customers Are Finding You
CRM helps you track how prospects find your business—through online searches, trade shows, or specific marketing campaigns—so that you can determine where you're getting the most significant return on your marketing investment.
By having access to your company's sales interactions, your marketing team can better understand your prospects' concerns and commonly asked questions and use this information to create more relevant content.
Keep Customers Engaged
CRMs capture a wealth of valuable data that your marketing team can use to nurture prospects into customers and customers into advocates.
Modern CRMs also integrate with numerous marketing tools so that marketers can create effective email nurturing campaigns, landing pages, forms, and advertisements to keep prospects moving steadily through the funnel.
CRM helps customer support
Personalize the Customer Experience
Knowing the history of previous conversations with each customer enables your support team to deliver excellent customer service every time. In addition, by providing access to detailed customer notes and interactions, CRM lets your support team see the person behind each ticket.
Solve Customer Issues Faster
Faster response times to support requests means a more enjoyable and satisfying customer experience. For that to happen, customer data needs to be a click away.
CRM links essential customer information—including products purchased, customer history, and previous interactions—to each support ticket so that you can solve your customers' issues quickly and more effectively.
Consolidate All Customer Communications
In addition to logging email conversations and phone calls, CRM can be integrated with online chat tools so that all support-related customer chats are saved in your CRM. Your support team can review these saved chats in the future or send saved chat summaries to customers after completing service requests.
CRM helps business leaders
Measure And Grow Your Business
Having access to data on sales opportunities, trends, and forecasts is crucial to crafting your company's immediate and long-term action plans.
Business leaders can use CRM data to identify which markets and products are the most profitable and evaluate how to adjust strategy in order to reach their goals.
Optimize Team Performance
CRMs keep business leaders up to date on the health of their business and whether or not each team is on track to reaching department goals.
Real-time sales reports can help company leadership identify inefficiencies in the sales process, the return on investment for marketing campaigns, and if many customers aren't receiving proper support.
Benefits of CRM Software
The benefits of a CRM system are available to salespeople, marketing teams, customer support specialists, and anyone who comes in contact with customers at large companies and small businesses.
Perhaps the most significant benefit is organization. You'll enter basic contact information as you transition to the system, including phone numbers, email addresses, and preferred contact information. Then, once your CRM system is up and running, users can follow and track essential information and advanced data about every single customer.
A CRM system is a central place to store and manage all information, making life easier for everyone. And "everyone" includes your customers, who get better service and more detailed attention as you begin to understand them more deeply.
The right software integrates a company's typical workflow and saves time spent on daily tasks. In addition, automation can boost customer engagement and provide consistency.
The truth is, consistency is one of the unsung benefits of a CRM system: When customers get mixed messages, they quickly grow confused instead of enthused.
More Sales Opportunities
Nobody wants to stop at 1,000 customers. But sometimes, companies struggle to come up with great ideas to grow that customer base. One way is to learn more about the people who are already customers; a CRM system can track purchasing patterns and provide insight into themes and trends.
That kind of analytics can help develop micro-targeted plans and strategies for encouraging more sales at specific times.
Tracking Sales Progress Across Your Organization
Sales management. In addition to managing the customer base, a good CRM is robust enough to track sales progress for your whole organization. If you're a one-person shop, you get the help you need to track leads and follow up.
If you have a large sales team, each new set of leads is assigned to a sales rep, and their journey is tracked from that point on. As the journey progresses, the CRM platform provides a starting point to act on sales trends and close gaps. It's also an easy way to track the performance of your sales team itself.
In addition to more efficient use of sales resources, your customers can benefit from the personalization features many CRM tools offer — a huge advantage when 86% of consumers say personalization played a role in their purchasing decision, according to a study by Infosys.
Furthermore, all of that data in your CRM database can be used to build deeper customer relationships through personalized communications. A way to do this is by addressing customers by their first name in emails or creating nurture campaigns based on industry.
Another way CRM can benefit sales is that it exposes who your highest revenue-generating or most engaged customers are.
For example, you may be able to identify a subset of customers who attend webinars or open all of their emails through a CRM. Why not reach out to them to advocate on your brand's behalf? A CRM can also increase retention among your existing customers.
Through a CRM and its ability to aggregate customer behaviour, you may spot patterns like when a customer is about to churn. Having insight into customer behaviour can help you develop a plan or program to retain at-risk customers.
CRM Systems for a Modern World
With the introduction of new technologies, the way in which we work, manage contacts and connect with customers continues to become more advanced. This means that we have to look beyond the traditional functionality of CRM.
Cloud-based CRM systems excel in this new reality as they are much more agile than their desktop and server counterparts and can be updated as new technology becomes the standard. The rise of the smartphone and social media are just two such examples.
Your customer information needs to be as up to date and as convenient to access as possible. That's why some CRM systems now offer mobile CRM capabilities.
This lets salespeople access critical information wherever they are and update that information straight after a meeting while they are still in the field so that colleagues can follow up with the latest information before the competition.
With mobile CRM, you can run your whole business from your phone – closing deals, servicing customers and even delivering 1:1 marketing campaigns without being tied to a desk.
Social Media Aware
Social media is having a massive impact on many businesses and how they interact with their customers: they have to respond as never before to Tweets, Facebook postings, LinkedIn discussions and more.
Sound familiar? If so, you'll need a platform that helps you make the most of social media as a source of new leads, intelligence on prospects, and information for customer service agents.
What are the types of CRM systems?
On-premise CRM Vs Cloud-based CRM
One of the first choices that a business has to make is choosing between an On-premise and a cloud CRM system.
An on-premise CRM system typically involves the business setting up the complete back-end infrastructure and footing the bill for maintenance and upgrade, on top of the licensing cost for the actual software.
A cloud CRM system is often the most preferred option for businesses as it is accessible easily through any browser, allowing for quicker deployments and usage. Other added benefits include no maintenance or upkeep costs, greater accessibility to your data when needed and the flexibility to scale up or down with ease.
Industry-specific Crm Software
Multiple vendors in the market offer CRM software specifically built from the ground up to cater to the niche requirements of different industries. Dedicated CRM software is available for industry verticals like real-estate, healthcare, insurance, financial services, media agencies, hospitality and more.
All-in-one Crm Solutions
The most popular cloud CRM offerings tend to be these all-in-one CRM solutions that are robust, extremely customizable, and integrate with a wide range of popular business software to provide a 360-degree view of your customers. In addition, they are feature-rich, secure and easy to use, allowing businesses of different sizes and from other industries to leverage effectively and see an immediate positive impact on their sales operations.
When choosing a CRM system for your small business, consider the following elements:
A CRM system lets you record sales calls, opportunities, and the name and title of the VP or product manager you talked to. Most CRM systems have activity reminders that prompt you to follow up later. So the journey of every potential buyer can be monitored on their way to closing. (Or not! Stalled deals are easy to see, so managers can look for ways to move them along.)
One that allows you to use CRM contacts to learn where your company is winning and losing ― and then target promotions and generate leads accordingly. Lead scoring and email follow-ups are automatic, leaving you free to focus on the creative ideas that win new prospects. Another benefit is that you can decrease marketing costs with a CRM because you can narrow in and focus on your target audiences and spend your time selling to them.
Support And Service
If you've noticed cracks in your customer service, good CRM management can repair that relationship for the long term. Post-sales support can get a boost, too, as the data helps resolve problems and explain what might not be otherwise understood.
E-commerce options in the best CRMs let customers create and place their orders. Add-ons should be easy to use so that customers can buy quickly. That way, you—or your employees—get an early "heads up" if a customer is having issues. A quicker response cuts the chances the buyer goes elsewhere.
It's time to ditch the spreadsheets as a data solution. Instead, look for a tool that houses all your client activity and communication in one place. You want the ability to import current contacts into the CRM, organize those contacts with detailed records (like order and account balance, lead score, and website activity), and segment them based on demographics and behaviour to personalize marketing communications.
Not all leads are created equal, so let your CRM software do the heavy lifting and identify the most qualified leads. Lead scoring ranks leads based on interactions and engagement with your communications to focus on and follow up with leads that are ready to become customers.
Centralize action items with a CRM that also offers a calendar and other task management tools to allow you to schedule appointments, set reminders for tasks, and create to-do lists.
Managing leads and closing deals in a separate system, like your inbox, can cause confusion and duplication. However, instead of completely abandoning your inbox as a channel, look for a CRM that connects with Gmail or Outlook to automatically update contact records with every sent or received email message. Even better, look for the ability to add notes or trigger follow-up actions.
Business doesn't stop as soon as you walk away from your computer, so find a CRM solution that can complement your on-the-go lifestyle with a robust mobile app. You want the ability to access and manage your CRM to edit contact information, add tags, trigger automated follow-up, activate campaigns, and communicate with your customers - all from your smartphone.
If getting quality leads is one thing, tracking and managing them to deal with closure is another. CRM offers you everything you need to know about your leads to convert them into happy, paying customers. You can assign leads based on various parameters and know which leaders have the highest chance of moving down the pipeline with lead scoring and automated lead assignment.
Frequently Asked Questions
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a marketing platform based on a database software system. A database application is utilized for the accumulation and analysis of important customer information for use in executing focused marketing and sales process.
Efficient customer care (CRM) increases customer satisfaction demonstrably: by reducing reaction times to customer requests, by improving the flow of information between all parties involved in the customer care process, and by improving the way feedback is managed. In short, CRM improves your customer service.
To maintain organized records of all the digital interactions, historical customer data, phone calls, and emails associated to each guest, a CRM would be the fitting software choice. A properly used CRM system can streamline guest services and help successfully deliver experiences much like my own.