Have you ever found yourself needing a piece of information, but not being entirely sure where to find it? You know you spoke to that customer about their order, but was it by email? On social media? Did you talk to them on the phone?
Let’s face it, operating a business has its challenges. Every day, you have to make decisions that affect your employees. Whether you’re deciding which software is best to manage your sales pipeline, how much to spend on advertising, or even what kind of coffee to buy in the office.
We get it, you wear a lot of hats. And we’re sure that on top of all that, managing your customer relationships is one of your major priorities. If you don’t know what CRM stands for, or what you need it for, don’t worry because we’re here to shed some light.
In this article, not only will you know the answer, but you’re probably going to use what you learn here to make your business more efficient and more profitable. Let’s get to it, shall we?
What We’ll Cover In This Guide
If there’s something, in particular, you’re looking for, click on the link below and skip to that part of the guide.
What Is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and describes technologies and strategies designed to improve the quality of service and support provided to a business’s customers as well as to maximize the revenue generated through customer interactions.
In simpler terms, CRM was designed to improve customer experience when interacting with a company and keep them coming back to build a large base of repeat customers. It helps businesses successfully add strategies, practices, and technology for winning and retaining customers profitably.
But, that’s pretty general isn’t it? I mean, what does Customer Relationship Management actually mean for a business and why is it necessary to have a CRM system in place? Let’s dig deeper…
Why Do Businesses Need A CRM?
For most businesses, their most valuable and important asset is their customers. In the early days at a lot of companies, the details about those customers are spread out in many places. Including who they are, and how they’ve interacted with your organization.
As a business grows, it quickly becomes necessary to have one central place where all of this information lives.
Otherwise, your team will be slowed down without quick answers to important questions. Questions like:
- How do we get in touch with them?
- What does our pipeline of new business look like?
Everyone on your team needs context about every customer’s needs, wants, and current state, so they can pick up the conversation where it left off.
In the modern-day business environment, every B2B transaction will involve a CRM to support, improve, and manage the business transactions as well as supporting and interacting with the customers.
In fact, it encompasses a very wide range of company activities, from the basic website and emails to mass mailings and even telephone calls. One of the newest adoptions in CRM is social media, which can help companies improve their reputations and bottom line.
With that said, there are problems in a business that CRM systems are designed to solve which we will discuss further in this article.
How Does A CRM Fit Into Your Marketing?
Since CRMs allow businesses to develop long-term relationships with established and new customers while helping streamline corporate performance, it plays a big role in your marketing.
To reiterate, it is a business process in which client relationships, customer loyalty, and brand value are built through marketing strategies and activities. Therefore, it incorporates commercial and client-specific strategies via employee training, marketing planning, relationship building, and advertising.
Furthermore, one valuable feature of most CRM software is the automation of certain tasks, such as sending additional marketing or sales material to a customer based on their purchase of a product or service. It can aggregate customer information from a wide variety of sources, storing it and making it accessible from a single application.
For example, data stored usually include purchase history, contact data, ongoing communications, and any previous communications recorded. Employees use this data to improve their interactions and relations with customers, and it can help anticipate needs, recognize updates, and track the performance goals of various company departments.
Perhaps most importantly, marketing teams can use a CRM to measure the Return on Investment (ROI) on their activities and campaigns. As CRMs are devoted to synchronizing, organizing, and automating the customer’s relationships with a business, it will help you track and measure the marketing campaign of your business over multiple networks. It also gives you insight into whether you are targeting your ideal customer profiles, and the right geography and industry.
How Do CRMs Improve Customer Retention?
The conventional use case for CRM systems is to support a sales force with as much information as possible about customers and leads so that they can maximize their effectiveness during a sales call or follow-up. At its core, the goal of a CRM solution is to improve customer retention. Here are 6 ways in which CRMs aid in customer retention.
1. Centralize All Your Customer Data in One Place
With one central place to organize all the details of your leads and customers, it’s easy for everyone on your team to gain insight into the state of your business, and the status of every customer relationship.
By looking up a customer in the CRM system, anyone on your team can quickly reference the entire history of the account or lead, including closed business, call reports, contacts, org charts, customer challenges, technologies used, and much more. It can also provide notifications to your team, providing optimal timing for follow-up contact.
2. Personalizing The Communications
CRMs are important tools for lead generation because they frequently deal with past customer data such as previous marketing campaigns, purchases and service satisfaction. Countless customer touchpoints are stored within your key information systems, including your marketing automation platform, analytics platforms, and your other systems.
By integrating all that data into your CRM, you can personalize communication to resonate better with customers. Personalizing is an easy way to make your customers feel special and it will create a better experience for both your business and your customers.
3. Monitor Customer Interaction
Real-time data is critical when delivering valuable customer communication. It’s especially important if you want to increase the value of your relationships. CRMs help businesses learn about their customers, including who they are and why they purchase your products, as well as trends in customers’ purchasing histories. This allows businesses to better anticipate their customers’ needs and, as a result, fulfill them.
Moreover, feedback is also essential for conceiving and executing a successful marketing campaign. There’s no better place to obtain it from than the customers themselves. Your CRM can be utilized to review service execution and pinpoint areas for improvement.
4. Target Customers Through Tailor-made Offers
Every customer has a consumption pattern, through which one can extract the point of interaction suitable to engage for further loyalty. CRM software gathers customer’s consumption and purchase history to plot what kind of offers will be appealing to each individual and in turn add relevancy, which will keep the brand recognition value high.
Identifying ways to convert customer interest into an actual purchase can be achieved by providing discounts and offers to add value to the experience. This helps in building a proactive customer relationship, where repeat purchase would be possible due to smart target centric offerings to enhance the value.
5. Re-engage Inactive Customers
If a customer hasn’t made a purchase or accessed any of your content in months, you’re at a high risk of losing them. Use your CRM to stay alert and keep customers coming back. Nurture and reignite those relationships by setting up CRM notifications to alert you when a customer is interacting with your website or product. Anyone from your team can then reconnect with or extend offers, making the buying experience more targeted, timely and streamlined.
6. Create Loyalty Program
Every brand has its share of loyal customers, whose experience urges them to revert back on a frequent basis. Information gathered in CRM software can bring out the varying levels of engagement by the customers, revealing which of the accounts are responsible for the most revenue.
This information helps you create loyalty programs for those valued customers. This ensures a proactive relationship with these profitable customers, creating a memorable experience for them and also referrals from them, to extend target reach.
Lastly, well-organized customer data helps companies select the correct recipients for promotions and new products. After which, you can start to follow up by letting them know about the rewards and incentives so that they continue to stay as your most profitable customers.
Do You Really Need A CRM?
The biggest users of CRM software are naturally those organizations with a customer base. A CRM is a sales team’s greatest asset, giving them access to all the data they need to generate leads and close deals while ensuring that the customer experience is as positive as possible.
Additionally, a CRM can be used by many different departments and business types. If there is a relationship to manage, no matter who with, a CRM can help. So no matter how large or small your business is, having all of your customer and business data in one place will undoubtedly make your life easier, and your business more efficient.
It eliminates unnecessary hassles, giving your customer a better experience, and making your organization immeasurably easier. Whether you’re in a sales or client-centric organization, the more you know about your prospects and clients, the more successful you will be.
So the short answer is, if you sell a product, provide a service, or deal with customers or clients in any way, you DO need a CRM — especially if you want your business to grow!
This section of the guide should be considered a quick introduction to a topic we look at in more detail in our article The 7 Not-So-Obvious Reasons CRM Implementations Fail. If you want to identify and avoid some of the biggest pitfalls of CRM implementation, read it.
- Poorly defined objectives for your CRM
- Issues with customization
- Approaching your CRM as a technology-only solution
This section of the guide breaks down the 3 categories of CRMs and which category is best for your organization based on how you make decisions and interact with customer data.
The 3 categories of CRM we discuss in this section of the CRM guide are:
- Operational CRM
- Analytical CRM
- Collaborative CRM
This section of the guide should be considered a quick introduction to a topic we look at in more detail in our article How To Select The Best CRM For Your Startup. If you’re on the market for a CRM or simply browsing, this article will help you identify what you need.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking for a CRM for your startup or small business:
- Why do you want a CRM?
- What are all of your needs you want a CRM to fulfill? This will help you identify which features are must-havesˆ and which features are nice-to-haves.
- Which integrations might you need? Are they something provided by the CRM? If not, is the CRM provider open to building new integrations for clients like you?
Ok. Now that we’ve covered the majority of what a CRM is, what it should do, how they generally work, and how to choose one, here are our choices for the best CRMs for small businesses. To see the complete list (15 CRMs in total) with feature lists and explanations for why we like each CRM, check out our article The Best CRM Software for Small Businesses.
This is the section of the guide is for those of us looking to compare and contrast CRM software versus ERP software. In this section, we’ll detail the following topics:
- What is ERP?
- What are the differences between CRM and ERP?
- How are the two related?
- Which one do you need?
A Customer Relationship Management tool can perform a wide array of tasks. If it appears anywhere in a customer’s lifecycle, a CRM will have a function for it. From building brand awareness and marketing to finding and warming up leads, to managing customer purchases, offering service and support, to nurturing long-term relationships with your business, a CRM is a one-stop-shop for everything you need to generate and manage your customers.
Clearly, using a CRM brings a great number of benefits to your business. Having a complete picture of your customers, their buying habits, and their communications with your company are essential to building and maintaining a positive, lucrative relationship with the people at the core of your success.
On that note, storing all that data in one place helps foster cohesion and productivity in your workforce. With everyone working from the same solution, your team can get access to everything they need to do a great job and stay up to speed.
Like what you read? For more information on how CRM could be beneficial to your business, or for a CRM software consultation, please contact us or leave a comment below. We would be happy to help!