What Is Customer Relationship Management Software

What Is Customer Relationship Management Software

Customer Relationship Management software is an easy to use application that helps you manage your customer relationships. It provides easy access to all of the information you need on a customer, such as contact details and history. 

This way you can get in touch with them when it's most convenient for them and provide them with tailored services. The best thing about CRM is how customizable it is; this allows businesses of every size to reap the benefits of its features without spending too much time or money making adjustments. 

Companies use CRM systems to manage employees' interactions with their prospects and customers. These software platforms primarily manage sales, storing and analyzing sales data. Ultimately, CRMs help make businesses more money by showing them how to better connect with current and new customers.

CRM systems have different functionality depending on the platform you use. However, most CRM software has a core set of functions: lead tracking, marketing reports, and service updates they provide for users. These features provide a range of benefits for your business.

Of course, many of the competitive platforms out there offer a range of captivating features. Which one will best serve your business depends on your specific needs and which platform can meet or exceed those demands.

Still, if you're looking for a valuable tool that helps scale the systems in your growing business to meet growing customer needs, you need a CRM.

What Are the Small Business Benefits of CRM?

We've helped deploy a range of CRMs for small, growing businesses. From off-the-shelf-solutions to custom software solutions, there is a range of benefits your business can experience by deploying a CRM.

Powerful Analytics

The best CRM for small businesses comes with powerful analytics features that allow you to assess business data in real-time for new, actionable insights. 

React to market trends faster. Make more informed business decisions. And develop better business strategies with data you can trust.

Increased Sales

CRM software helps you track leads when they move down the sales funnel. This enables you to manage them more efficiently to find weak links in the sales process and fix them quickly.

CRM platforms help you realize upsell opportunities, create reward systems for repeat customers, and ensure personalized communication with them to improve engagement and increase conversion.

More Efficiency And Productivity

CRM software streamlines processes across your business operations and automates routine tasks. As a result, your employees can resolve issues faster and focus on selling. Rather than wasting time on menial tasks, your staff will have more time to focus on your greatest asset: your customers.

Mobility

CRM platforms are accessible. You can get data using mobile apps, web interfaces, and offline access. 

That's a massive benefit because it allows you to work on the go. Plus, you can even manage existing accounts, respond to client requests, check real-time inventory, make reports, all from a range of mobile devices.

Data Security

Don't take unnecessary risks by leaving your data vulnerable to attack. With a centralized CRM, you can store crucial confidential customer information and business data in a secure CRM.

You can also control employee access by establishing set permissions. This will only allow authorized personnel access to sensitive data.

Contact Management

Contact management is the essential component of any CRM. You can segment your customers and prospects into groups and organize their data. This will allow you to improve your marketing strategies by targeting the right customer with the right message at the right time.

Reports And Customized Dashboards

If your data is siloed on fragmented platforms (like spreadsheets), you're at a disadvantage. CRM platforms provide data visualization with clear dashboarding. This is a clear benefit because it allows you to view statistics in a highly engaging manner. As a result, you'll feel less overwhelmed or confused by data streams.

Sales Analytics And Forecasting

CRM platforms let you collect data from web traffic, social media, and other channels. You can use this data to better understand your market and design better marketing campaigns. From this, you'll increase the efficacy of your sales strategies and increase your bottom line.

Opportunity Management

This CRM feature simplifies the sales process, reducing the sales cycle length. With opportunity management, you can track your potential sales opportunities down all your pipelines. You can also prioritize the best sales with a higher potential for closing. Finally, you can set up better systems for recurring revenue. Each one increasing your bottom line.

Call Center Automation

With CRMs, you can integrate third-party programs into a unified system and control your company’s call centre from your CRM’s user interface (UI). This gives you a single, accessible portal for your contact centre and customer engagement.

Campaign Management

The CRM feature lets you manage your entire sales campaign from a single UI. Plus, you can combine analytics tools with software responsible for collecting the data.

Customer Satisfaction Management

CRMs help you be proactive with your customers' journey. These tools help you efficiently improve customer satisfaction levels by giving you the power to track existing cases and manage confidential information in a secure environment. As a result, you'll know where your customers are in their journey with your brand and what they need to build loyalty and satisfaction with your company.

Why Every Small Business Needs a CRM

Just because your business is small doesn’t mean that your tech needs are.

CRM software has become a mainstay in the business world. In 2017, 87% of businesses relied on cloud-based CRM solutions, versus just 12% in 2008. With a complete CRM solution, you get a ton of big advantages that can help you better run your business, including these benefits that a CRM can offer:

It Boosts Sales And Nurtures Leads

The primary benefit of any CRM for small businesses is that it helps streamline sales and boost your revenue. How?

Well, it starts with lead nurture and management after the initial lead generation. An online CRM allows your small business to capture more leads from your website and track them throughout the entire sales process. Then, with your CRM stocked full of new contacts, you can nurture prospective buyers in your sales pipeline with targeted email campaigns until they are ready to buy.

That means your sales team can prioritize leads, spending less time on unqualified people who will never pull the trigger and more time closing deals.

Another big bonus of a small business CRM is that it delivers key insights so you can make smarter sales decisions. For example, it can tell you which lead sources to drive the most sales so you can allocate more time and money where it’s more beneficial. It can indicate which sales reps are struggling to hit their numbers so new strategies can be tested. And it can shed light on what your short and long-term sales forecasts look like.

Did you know that following up too late is one of the biggest reasons companies lose customers and fail to convert prospects? A CRM software helps your sales team provide appropriate, automated follow-up to turn existing customers into long-term purchasers with ease. 

It Helps You Understand Your Customers

The best way to serve your customers is to understand exactly what their wants, needs, pain points, and preferences are. But short of calling each client to pick their brain, this can seem like a monumental task. However, with a CRM, you can automatically gather information about your customers at a granular level and analyze that data to gain valuable insight that will help you make more intelligent customer-centric business decisions. Track trends, assess behaviours and identify opportunities, all with a few clicks of a button.

Small business CRM software is particularly useful for companies selling complex products or companies with longer sales cycles. The constant data collection allows you to continuously perfect how you interact with each and every customer. In addition, months of customer behaviour data can be effortlessly recorded and analyzed, which lets you better understand the different decisions that guided customers throughout their entire journey.

You can use this information to improve your small business marketing, tweak your email marketing and email campaigns, website design, and sales approach until you find the optimal way to reach your target audience.

Another way you can leverage the insight gained through a CRM is to create more personalized customer experiences. 

When you have accurate oversight into the behaviours and preferences of your clientele, you can tailor your messaging and improve your products or services so that they are more closely aligned with their needs and expectations. 

Better, more personalized service is the key to differentiating your brand and developing deeper, more meaningful connections with your customers. This promotes loyalty and increases the chances of customer referrals.

It Improves Workflow

No matter how small your business, your sales and marketing process always has room for improvement. The reality is that most businesses have a ton of manual processes in place, such as sticky notes and spreadsheets, that kill productivity.

Small business CRM software removes the bottlenecks and makes it easy to create workflows your team can stick to daily. Whether it’s automating follow-up on a new lead or delivering a consistent new customer onboarding process, a CRM can improve your entire team’s efficiency, from sales to customer service, which leads me to my next point. 

It Increases Customer Support

Customer support is the backbone of every small business. It impacts not only customer retention but also your revenue. 

So how do you deliver an extraordinary customer experience? By giving your support team instant access to detailed information about each and every customer. Let them discover their online history, their order information, and their past interactions with your company to ensure they really understand what each customer has gone through. A huge plus of CRM software is that it collects customer data in one place, making it easier to segment your customers based on their specific needs and interests.

It Maximizes Resources

Small business owners are all too familiar with the challenge of wearing multiple hats. Even mid-sized organizations struggle to make the most out of limited resources. However, marketing automation and a robust CRM allow companies of any size to do more with less because technology does the heavy lifting. As a result, even businesses operating on a skeleton crew can deliver high-level service and remain competitive with organizations of every size.

With technology today, much of the sales and marketing tasks that used to be done by hand can be automated in a personalized manner. As mentioned earlier, CRM software can take care of the majority of administrative tasks, keep records, and make follow-ups with contacts for you. As a result, you have more time for the activities that have the most impact, running your business and meeting with clients ready to buy.

It Enables You To Develop Best Practices

Small businesses must find a way to maximize productivity and efficiency to keep costs down and operate as profitably as possible. The best CRM software can help you identify and implement best practices to ensure that every employee remains on the same page and that the business is run like a well-oiled machine. Having these best practices in place can also make it easier to onboard new employees, bringing them up to speed faster and providing them with the marketing tools and information they need to do their jobs more effectively.

If you’re not employing a CRM system, you’re missing out on lots of ways to be more efficient and purposeful in your day-to-day sales activities. However, if you know your business could use some of the benefits mentioned above, then it may be time to choose a CRM that’s perfect for you. 

What to Look For in a Small Business CRM

As we just covered (but in case you skipped it), the various small business CRMs available on the market today all come with their own features and functionalities. When choosing one for your business, remember that price isn’t everything. 

The right CRM for your business helps you carry out your marketing strategy more seamlessly and gain insights along the way to adjust and refine it—ultimately helping you win more customers (and revenue) while also saving time and money in the long run. Here are the core features of a CRM designed to help you achieve that:

Ease of Use

It's hard to avoid complexity in any CRM since its very nature is rather complex—it is housing every interaction and piece of information each of your team members and campaigns gathers on each of your contacts in one place. But complexity doesn't have to equate to difficulty with navigating the platform. 

A good CRM is intuitive and keeps things as simplified as possible. 

You're looking for a CRM that is not a constant uphill battle but that has a learning curve that settles out somewhat (not entirely, since there will hopefully be updates and new features to learn).

Advanced Campaign Tracking

Rather than just seeing how you're doing overall, it's important to view your marketing performance at the campaign level. 

This way, you can see which methods are most effective in attracting customers and leads to your business, as well as which channels and devices within those campaigns are performing best.

Analytics

So you can see which channels or devices are performing best in a campaign, but how well is the campaign doing overall? 

With analytics, you can identify benchmarks and see if the numbers you are seeing are increasing or decreasing from a previous time frame or condition. 

This is crucial in a CRM because it empowers you to make data-driven decisions and know exactly how much you’re getting out of your marketing investments.

Real-time Data

You shouldn't have to wait until the end of the month or the end of a campaign to see results. A good CRM will have real-time data capabilities, so you can get insights on-demand. 

This allows you to identify and make optimizations during campaigns, seize opportunities when they arise, and ensure you’re on track with your goals.

Customized Reporting

Having advanced campaign tracking, solid analytics, and real-time data are all key considerations for a CRM. 

But also make sure that you can customize your reports by time frame and other criteria. This way, you can keep your marketing strategies the way you intended them rather than moulding them around what your CRM can report on. 

Plus, comparing campaigns to previous years, channels, and more will allow you to learn, improve, and refine your marketing strategy into a finely tuned lead generating machine.

Integration

Are you using other marketing automation tools, or is there any chance you may implement some in the future? Make sure the CRM is compatible with these technologies and how complex the integration would be.

Support

Numbers don’t lie, but data can be deceiving (unintentionally, of course). For example, you may become concerned about a decline in your website traffic. But suppose this occurs concurrently with an increase in conversions. In that case, this actually means that while fewer overall people may be visiting your site, more qualified visitors who are actually interested in your business are arriving there. 

In this case, that decrease doesn't mean anything bad, but more likely that your SEO strategies are working well and probably can be scaled up. 

All this is to say that having access to an individual or team of individuals who specialize in small and/or local business marketing can mean the difference between having a CRM to merely keep track of things and leveraging a CRM to grow your revenue.

Scalability

If your CRM does its job and your client database and sales team expand, can the CRM’s capabilities and pricing plans easily scale with your business? 

Conversely, if you need to dial things back for a period of time or are going through a slow period, are there flexible downgrade or resource-saving options?

Communication Tools

Last but not least (and perhaps most important) in the list of CRM features to look for is communication tools. With email integration, you can get notified about new leads and important activity, as well as communicate with your contacts directly from the CRM. This could be an automated email triggered when a contact completes a specified action, a prompt response to a form submission, or a personalized outreach or follow-up email to an individual.

Frequently Asked Questions

Five of the largest players in the CRM market today include cloud computing giant Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and Adobe Systems. CRM includes all aspects in which a company interacts with customers, but more commonly refers to the technology used to manage these relationships.

Leads. A lead is an unqualified sales opportunity. A lead can be a company or an individual who has expressed interest in a company's product and/or service. In a CRM system, a lead is usually the starting point of a person's record.

Call center software automates the flow of incoming and outgoing calls. Interactive voice response (IVR) systems — a common feature of call center software — are used to create prerecorded greetings, menu options, and answers to frequently asked questions.

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