A Beginner’s Guide to Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

December 13, 2018

For most companies, customers are their most important asset. Having a powerful system to manage all of their information should be a priority. This is where CRM comes in. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. The first thing to know about this acronym is that it’s often related to software applications; e.g email, marketing automation, database management. When rightfully used, it can help your business grow. In this article we’ll dive into the fundamentals of CRM and explore how a powerful CRM system can become your best ally.

 

A brief summary of what you’ll read:

  • What is Customer Relationship Management?
  • Who uses CRM? Who should use it?
  • Why is it so important to your business?
  • Some CRM benefits

 

What is CRM?

CRM is the software that helps companies manage their customers’ data and help acquire new leads and prolong existing ones. A CRM system gathers all of your client’s information in one place. It can track every communication detail that has been exchanged with a customer. From every email to every phone call, CRM allows you to keep better track of follow-up steps and stages of the customer journey through effective task and contact management

However, it’s important to keep in mind that CRM isn’t only technology. On the contrary, true CRM is a customer-centric business strategy that should have a vision and an end-goal. Technology wise, its purpose is to facilitate a more effective path of communication when interacting and prospecting with customers. How so?

A CRM system gathers all the information from marketing, sales and customer support into one place. This allows customer-facing employees to find the necessary information at a much faster rate than you would by having to jump from one screen to another.

 

Who uses CRM? 

Any company can benefit from having a CRM system. In fact, every company that has customers should use one. Research states that “75% of sales managers say that using a CRM helps to drive and increase sales; and improve customer retention by 27%.”

Nevertheless, it’s important to choose a system fit to your company type and business model. Both B2C and B2B businesses can profit from it, and size doesn’t matter. If you’re a small-size business, a CRM system can sound intimidating. It shouldn’t. See it as a management tool that helps you organise all of your customer’s data.

 

Why is it so important?

According to Gartner Inc, Customer Relationship Management became the largest software market in 2017 summing a total of $39.5 billion worldwide. This led it to be the fastest growing market in 2018 with a growth rate of 16%. It’s no surprise that it’ll continue to grow rapidly. But, why? What makes CRM so valuable to companies? Let’s take a look at a couple of benefits it provides.

 

1. Structured Overview

As your company grows, so does your customer list. If you initially started compiling all of their contact details and further information in e.g a spreadsheet, it is bound to fall apart at a certain point. This is not because of lack of performance or productivity; it is merely due to an overload of information.

Having a systematic dashboard fit to your company’s strategy and goals is crucial. All the data around a customer can be measured and managed into a better marketing and sales process. It’s a simple as knowing how to track your client through the customer journey. This leads to customer-centricity and eventually a better customer experience.

 

2. Improves Communication and Lead Management

A CRM system also serves as a tool to minimise effort. This is because it enhances the communication between the marketing and sales team, and assists customer support as well. Through a centralised dashboard, all customer-facing representatives from different departments at a company feel at ease when working together.

It requires time and effort to turn a lead into a customer. A lead can interact with your business from various communication channels. Without a clear strategy, this lead can get lost along the process.

From a marketeer’s perspective, after having identified a potential lead, the process of delivering it over to the sales team is facilitated when the data is centralised and both parties can access it. For a salesperson, this will minimise effort when turning those leads into customers. This is what we refer to as Lead Management.

 

3. Customer Service

As soon as a problem arises with one of your customers, a CRM system allows you to access all past information and retrieve all previous interactions between your customer and your business. Having a system that helps you locate specific data rapidly can save time and improve customer satisfaction. The more you know about your customer and how to address a problem individually, the better experience you’ll be able to deliver.

 

Conclusion

Companies who choose to invest in a CRM system are doing so because they believe their customers come first. They should be your most valuable asset. Customer Relationship Management is customer-centric and aims to help you achieve a better experience for your customers. It’s important to choose a system fit to your business. Make sure it’s tailored to your company’s vision so that it helps you achieve your set goals by increasing revenue and reducing customer churn.

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