CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, which is a term that refers to practices, strategies, and technologies companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data. Keeping the customer at the heart of your company’s strategy is key to building your brand.
Running a business is tough. As a small business owner, CRMs provide reassurance. This software was created to help companies effectively manage their customer base and to follow up on potential customers, so their efforts can be focused on other areas of the business.
Sounds pretty good, right? And yet, many companies will try to bypass investing in a software to support customer relationship management.
Why Excel is Not the Answer
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Wait, can’t I do all of this in Excel?”
If you are just starting out and have less than 5 customers, yes, you can input customer information manually into an Excel sheet. The problem with this approach is that it is not scalable; looking ahead, you will want to double or triple revenue, and the time you and your employees will have to take manually recording customer information is going to reduce the capability to follow up on valuable opportunities.
Another drawback is inputting customer information into different locations, or sheets make it difficult to analyze the information. In order to discover which strategies are working the best for your customer retention, you should be able to quickly view historical data. Viewing the complete history of your company’s interaction with a client sheds light on where things went wrong in unsuccessful transactions, or how customer loyalty was built through successful communications.
Diving Deeper into CRM
“CRM” is the name used for any system or model selected to manage a company’s interactions with its current or future clients or customers. Though the available software differs, the objective is to allow the company to follow customers throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal is to improve customer service relationships and assist in customer retention, thereby raising profits.
At its most basic level, CRM software consolidates customer information and documents into a single database.
Below are the things that a CRM can do for you. Each element takes a small bit of learning, but once you have the skills, you can greatly boost your sales success!
Sales Force Automation
Some CRM systems automate certain business functions of the sales cycle. This is especially useful for crafting personalized messages to follow up on lukewarm or cold leads that human sales personnel give up on or completely forget about. In sales, it’s rarely a “no,” it’s usually a “not right now.”
CRM tools with this feature can automate repetitive tasks to enhance marketing efforts. For example, when a new lead is generated via the customer entering their email address into a landing page, the system may automatically send newsletters and marketing materials to keep their interest.
CRM software can include this type of technology, which creates geographically relevant marketing campaigns. One awesome application for this approach is for when disastrous weather occurs and the CRM software reaches out to check in on the customers’ well-being.
CRM systems help businesses streamline mundane workloads, enabling employees to focus on high-level tasks.
Follow the Customer
Some CRMs can be used to gain insight into customers’ digital behavior and preferences outside of your area. This is done with data created by mobile payment from a digital wallet and passbook technology that tracks the customer after they’ve left your site!
Human Resource Management
CRM systems can be used to help track internal company information, such as employee contact information and performance reviews.
Customer Snapshot. One place to store all of your customer information means you can easily generate reports to show the health of your customer relationships. Therefore, the software is fully aware of your customers’ needs so you don’t have to be.
Going along with this customer snapshot, you can generate reports on various aspects of your business automatically. This data can be used to see gaps in the customer relationships, forecast trends and plan for the future.
No Mixed or Duplicate Messages
Keep every member of your team on the same page. Does one customer need an immediate follow-up call? Does a customer relationship that has gone stale need a little rekindling? A solid CRM also means the chance for duplicate messages to be sent to the same customer is greatly reduced.
Tracking offline and online activity allows organizations to personalize content and offer the greatest value to the customer.
Integrate the CRM with your company calendars to relate important events or tasks with the relevant client. The CRM can also suggest suitable times to contact the customer.
As mentioned, some CRMs track the customer’s digital path after they’ve left your site. This path can provide valuable information your company can use to really know your customer, which helps to build buyer personas, provide value with relevant content, etc. When you are able to view real-time customer actions in everyday life, you have the opportunity to see where and how your product fits in with their lifestyle.
Companies are now trying to combine digital, mobile, social and offline CRM data. The implications for enhancing customer relationships with this data are expansive and, as consumers, it is something we can all look forward to experiencing.
Let’s Sum Up The Benefits
For most businesses that are just getting off the ground, departmental jobs are mixed across the company’s employees.
A CRM system synchronizes, automates and organizes all of the customer-facing areas within your company, from sales to marketing to customer service. By providing your employees with one centralized place for storing customer data, internal and external communications are promoted. Creating a snapshot of all of the data touch points is one of the challenges big companies face, which further supports the point that investing in a CRM system from the start is necessary, as it can be expanded as your company grows.
Interested in learning more ways to make your company grow?
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