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What Is CRM? A Beginner’s Guide to CRM Software

What is CRM?

Customer Relationship Management is a type of software that helps businesses collect, organize, and analyze customer data to build better relationships. You can track customers across every touchpoint to ensure they have a pleasant and satisfying interaction with your brand. 

Housing data in one place also gives you a better understanding of how to market, sell to, and serve customers and prospects. 

In the past, only large enterprises could afford a CRM system, and the software was difficult to learn and use. Today, there are easy-to-use, affordable CRM systems that cater to businesses of every size. 

Why Your Business Needs CRM: Build Better Customer Relationships

what is crm

Nowadays, it takes more than a great product or service to keep customers satisfied. True customer satisfaction depends on the quality of your relationships. By treating the customer as a valued partner vs. a transaction, you establish a mutually-beneficial relationship. 

This creates customer loyalty, which is important for long-term business success. Repeat customers generate 33 percent more revenue. You can also leverage your superior service into new customers. Happy customers share their experiences with others and refer 11 people on average.

However, to create the relationships you want, you’ll need to find out as much as possible about them. This is where CRM enters the picture. It can collect and make sense of huge amounts of customer data. 

Why Your Business Needs CRM (Part II): Better Management, Marketing, Sales, and Service

While it was designed for relationships, CRM has a dizzying number of features to drive success across your entire organization.

Executives, Marketers, Sales Teams, and Customer Service can all benefit from the right CRM platform.

Let’s drill down into the specific tasks and benefits a CRM can perform for each department.

CRM for Business Owners

business management

In an increasingly digitized world, businesses may need to redefine how work gets done to stay competitive.

A CRM can modernize all of your office processes to increase profitability and efficiency. It also provides an inside view of how your employees and departments are performing.

Save Money With a CRM System

A CRM system digitizes all your paper records, such as customer information, financial data, communications, and notes. This significantly reduces your overhead. You don’t just eliminate paper waste; you get rid of your inefficient paper-based processes, saving you time and money. According to industry statistics, for every dollar a company spends on CRM, it gets back US$8.71.

Better Reporting

All of the data flowing into your CRM can be turned into intelligible, visual metrics through charts, funnels, graphs, and dials. The process is automatic, transparent, and requires only a few clicks from staff to generate analytical reports, such as: 

  • Sales reports (revenue, pipelines, conversion rates)
  • Campaign reports (traffic volume, bounce rates, email opens, marketing ROI)
  • Customer reports (buying patterns, demographics, lifetime value, retention rates)

With CRM, you can easily monitor the productivity of your sales, service, and marketing departments.

Monitor Employee Productivity 

Your CRM can also track individual productivity through activity reports. The CRM will record all of the users’ open and closed tasks. You can view emails sent, calls answered/unanswered, meetings attended, and sales opportunities won and lost. 

This eagle-eye view of your employees allows you to identify strengths and weaknesses among your staff. Someone may be primed for a promotion, while a lagging member might require additional training. 

CRM for Sales Teams

crm for sales

Sales teams tend to be resistant to any tool or task they perceive as taking them away from their core job–selling. But investing a few moments in CRM software each day can improve their work-life and commissions. Here’s how.

Automated Lead Scoring

Not all leads are created equal. They are ranked by their likelihood of becoming a paying customer. A CRM can provide automatic lead-scoring according to the priorities you define, including job role, number of touchpoints, company budget, or location. You set up the scoring rules, and your CRM will deliver the hottest leads to your sales team.

A CRM can trigger automatic responses (such as emails, promotions, and popups) to advance leads through the sales funnel. 

Streamline the Sales Cycle

A CRM helps streamline the sales cycle, allowing staff to close deals faster. A lot of routine sales tasks can be automated, such as preparing quotes and processing orders. The CRM dashboard tracks everything in the pipeline so that the sales department can identify any bottlenecks. It can also analyze your top performers’ behavior so that you can share their ‘secret sauce’ with the rest of the team.

Identify Selling Opportunities

By tracking all communication with customers, CRM helps salespeople identify the right opportunity at the right time. They can see where a customer is in the buyer journey and know just when to pitch a product replacement, warranty extension, contract renewal, or upsell.

A CRM can also analyze customer behavior and provide the best time to reach out to customers and leads. For instance, it keeps a record of email opens and can identify when an email is most likely to be read. Call logs determine when the customer is most likely to answer the phone. As the adage says, timing is everything. When a CRM times your sales activity, your team is much more likely to close the sale.  

CRM for Marketing

crm for marketing

A CRM offers your marketing team a treasure trove of data that they can use to make a lasting impression for your brand. It can also automate some of the less inspiring marketing tasks so that they can focus on strategy.

Marketing Automation

A CRM allows marketers to automate a lot of their top-of-funnel activities. A cookie tracks visitors as they navigate the company website. Marketers can program the CRM to automatically perform certain actions based on visitor behavior. For example, if a visitor lingers on a product page, this could trigger a popup of a demo-video. If a visitor abandons their cart, this could trigger an email offering a discount on one of the items. These built-in actions allow your business to rope prospects back in–automatically.

Customer Targeting

Consumers are surrounded by personalization every day. Spotify creates carefully curated playlists based on your listening history. Amazon has an uncanny ability to suggest the product you didn’t know you need. And YouTube can keep you glued to your screen, suggesting hour after hour of entertaining videos. These companies know their customers intimately. 

Consumers have come to expect the same degree of personalization from every business transaction. Indeed, 72% of consumers will only engage with personalized marketing. 

What’s a small business to do in the face of such high expectations? Invest in a CRM. A CRM collects customer and prospect data such as geographic location, purchase history, industry, lifetime value, site visits, products viewed, and job titles. The software then segments your audience, allowing you to create highly targeted ads that are more likely to grab your buyers’ attention. 

Marketing ROI

The average marketing budget comprises 11% of total company revenue. This is a fair chunk of change for any business. The generous allowance gives marketers the ability to create successful, wide-reaching campaigns. It also gives them the potential to waste large sums of money, particularly if they don’t know how to calculate the ROI for each marketing dollar spent. 

With a CRM, you’ll never be left wondering if a campaign converts. A CRM tracks KPIs such as impressions, clicks, views, and time spent on the page. These metrics deliver clear signposts for what content engages your audience and what turns them off. 

CRMs explicitly developed for marketing, such as HubSpot, allow you to track leads from source to sale. If your marketing team is better known for its creative flair than its grasp of numbers–no problem. HubSpot CRM has a built-in ROI calculator and can generate easy-to-read reports. 

CRM for Customer Service

customer service

Customer service is becoming an increasingly tough gig. Customers have become more complicated and demanding. Plus, customer service reps must navigate a complex web of touchpoints. A CRM platform can make it easier to keep customers happy in the following ways:

Coordination

All employees are connected to the same customer record. No details or requests ever fall through the cracks. This is especially helpful for complex service tickets that require ongoing support across multiple departments.

Efficiency

AI-powered chatbots can relieve the monotony of routine tasks. For example, the most commonly asked questions can be routed to your bots. Basic tasks can also be led by AI, such as resetting a password or signing up for a webinar. This frees up customer service reps to do what matters most–nurture client relationships. 

Multi-Channel Support

This is the age of hyperconnectivity. Customers and businesses can engage in more ways than ever: chatbots, social media, phone, text, and email. Countless interactions are happening around the clock, on multiple channels. It’s all but impossible to keep up with them, and yet customers expect immediate attention

CRM software delivers real-time notifications every time someone interacts with your brand on any channel. Customer service reps can respond from a single dashboard, no need to toggle between windows. 

Why Every Business Needs a CRM System

In a crowded marketplace, customer relationships have become a strong currency. You can think of CRM software as the mint. CRM software takes in all customer data, analyzes it, and delivers insights to businesses about their customers. Armed with information, your business can serve clients better and create the relationships that last.

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