Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a business tool that allows you to manage all your customers, partners and prospects information all in one place. It is a pre- to post-sale strategy companies use to track customer relationships. A CRM system can also be defined as a software (web-based or local machines) that stores valuable information on customer and prospect interactions with different resources in the company in an easy to access, understand and organized format. It is capable of tracking all the marketing and sales touch points including email, mobile, website, live chat, and social media, providing customer-facing teams with detailed context on a client’s activity, behavior, and feedback.
What is CRM?
It stands for Customer Relationship Management
It is a business tool
It works from browser, no software or hardware dependency
It helps in keeping track of current customers and future prospects
The building blocks of CRM are:-
- Vision – The board must be the guiding force behind CRM vision for the enterprise. The CRM vision, when used as the guide in the creation of a CRM, helps maintain focus on the main organizational goals and objectives, and keep all stakeholders on the same page.
- Strategy – A strategy for applying the analysis to better meet your clients’ needs and identify potential customers. It helps in building and developing one of the most valuable assets: the customer base. An effective CRM strategy clearly defines qualitative and quantitative goals and objectives, and also metrics to make them measurable. Further, it clearly states key performance indicators (KPIs) and Key responsible person (KRPs) for these KPIs. Further, it directs the objectives of other operational strategies and the CRM implementation strategy.
- Customer experience – The customer experience must be aligned with the CRM vision and must be revised as and when required basis customer feedback and data-driven insights.
- Organizational collaboration – CRM requires an organization-wide culture change. CRM requires necessary changes to be made in organizational structures, processes, metrics, incentives, and skills in order to deliver the best customer experience. An ongoing and constantly evolving change management will be key to successful CRM implementation.
- Process – CRM provides a way to analyze the information in the database. It requires the creation of customer processes that resolve customer pain-points and concerns, meets their requirements and expectations, and also aligns with customer value proposition through an effective customer process re-engineering. Further, the CRM process must be designed keeping high-value customer experience on priority, and should also aide in competitive differentiation.
- Information – CRM enables you to collect data-driven customer-specific insights and information, so as to ensure your strategy is effective. An effective and successfully deployed CRM ensures the creation and organization-wide flow of customer-information blood supply. Further, it ensures tight integration between operational and analytical systems.
- Technology – CRM provides a database that collects information about your customers. CRM application needs must be considered as the provision of integrated functionality supporting seamless customer-centric processes across different vertical and departments of the business and partners.
- Metrics – CRM goals and objectives should be clearly defined and made easily measurable. Brands must closely monitor all levels of CRM indicators to turnkey prospects and customers into valuable assets. Without performance management, CRM implementation is bound to fail.
Measurement metrics is the most important of all the building blocks, yet the most neglected and ignored aspect. Only a quarter of enterprises measure metrics before CRM implementation.
According to Gartner – “The problems are identifying which metrics are critical in driving CRM benefits, and knowing where to find the information,” he said. “A performance management framework is required, and without a hierarchy of linked metrics, a CRM strategy is likely to fail.”
Commonly supported features in popular CRM software’s are
- Call center management
- Campaign management
- Contact management
- Customer support
- Document management
- Email marketing
- Interaction tracking
- Landing pages/web forms
- Lead management
- Lead scoring
- List management
- Marketing automation
- Product catalog
- Project management
- Quotes / proposals
- Referral tracking
- Survey management
- Territory management
CRM (customer relationship management) is a software that tracks every interaction you have with prospects and customers. A properly deployed CRM system is an immensely useful and robust tool that every sales team should have because it helps in building value for your brand by:
- Increasing efficiency and streamlined workflows – CRM’s are centralized databases. They help in managing and focusing on customers, partners and prospects information from a centralized place, so you don’t have to dig through your files to find any customer-specific information. Further, some CRM’s let you tag team members to draw their attention to a specific task or pull them into deals, resulting in increased collaborative efficiency and team communication. They also allow you to re-assign deals with a click of a button. With all the stakeholders across departments on the same page, and helps resolving customer pain points, concerns and queries from a single centralized data source with greater efficiency and consistency.
- Driving and tracking lead generation – With CRM, you can identify and follow high-quality prospects, and not false leads. It helps you focused on prospects that are most likely to convert and do business with you, thereby reducing the sales cycle and improving the win rate. Its a robust customer data management tool.
- Taking the right decisions – CRM facilitates granular analysis, understanding, and reaction to customer behavior, and helps strategize accordingly. They are capable of pulling in the prospects complete pre-sales interaction history with your brand in great detail. By allowing quick access to real-time sales, opportunities, customer sentiments and trends across digital marketing channels and touch points, you can take right decisions on time by leveraging all the gold mine of customer-specific information in context while reaching out to them. Further, It lets you develop superior services and products that meet your customer’s identified needs.
- Managing marketing campaigns – With CRM, you can easily analyze the impact of on-going marketing campaigns and initiatives across channels and touch points, enabling you to correlate the results with your baseline.
- Sales forecasting – Once you start updating deals by deal stage, CRM takes care of everything thereafter – weightage, summation, and visualization. It reduces your dependency on complicated formulas or back-of-the-napkin math. A CRM system is capable of generating an accurate sales funnel for you, which makes it easier to analyze customer journey, identify issues, forecast future sales and effectively manage your team’s pipeline. It lets you anticipate future business needs based on data on historic sale and service trends.
- Sales reporting – A CRM tracks quota attainment and activity metrics such as emails sent, calls made, meetings booked, opportunities created, and deals closed.
- Customer segmentation – CRM lets you identify and define customer personas or segments on the basis of their location, touch points, deal size, or close date. Further, you can also identify specific regions or industries to sell into, and benchmark your average sales price and sales cycle.
- Risk mitigation by increasing data security – With centralized customer and business data in one single CRM ecosystem, it considerably reduces risks associated with management, maintenance and access of large complex data saved across computers and servers of different departments in a company.
- Reducing the time to resolve customer complaints – As SME’s and thought leaders across different teams, departments and strategic business units (SBU’s) have access to CRM, customer pain points, issues, and complaints can easily be resolved on time with their active participation and assistance.
- Improved on-field support – Mobile CRM helps improve overall productivity by enabling on-field teams to create instant reports and share it with backend office support teams, so they can start working immediately without delay. CRM’s grow and scale with your company.
- Closing deals faster – As CRM’s automate data entry, it facilitates time management by reducing time spent on logging email, calls or meetings. CRM enables you to engage with prospects across different touch-points throughout the customer journey, providing ample opportunities to troubleshoot their problems, resolve their concerns, and convince them to become a customer in a short span of time. You can track prospect activity and reach out to them when the time is right.
- Increasing sales and growing revenue – CRM enhance marketing towards the most profitable customers to improve your bottom line. With a well-deployed CRM, you can increase your customer base as you develop new ways to engage in business online. Lead generation, the timely solution of customer pain points, and all the above factors lead to an increase in sales and revenue. As it helps you track all sales interactions, you don’t need to keep track of which resource is supposed to follow up with a lead and when, as its all in the CRM system. Just as a well-oiled machine result in high profitability, CRM helps your brand generate revenue. Further, A sales process that can be successfully repeated is key to testing new sales motions and strategies. Without the customer-specific information stored in a CRM, you’re playing blind. You need these data-driven insights about customers and prospects to spot behavioral patterns and trends in effective and ineffective sales behaviors. This will help you grow your business efficiently.
Other ideas on how you can use this information to increase your company’s perceived value to the customer include:
- Building forms and reminders – Make ordering or buying easier through pre-filled order forms and e-mail reminders.
- Personalizing customer experience – Tailor the shopping experience for your customers and allow self-service to reduce customer wait times.
- Driving brand loyalty – Develop an e-newsletter or blog with topics that would be of interest to customers to earn their loyalty.
- Multi-channel customer engagement and support – Quickly share updates and respond to comments/feedback from customers through social media channels such as Twitter.
- Offer online discussion forum and build community – Offer an online forum where customers can provide reviews and feedback; this also allows you to hear about problems as they emerge and to respond quickly.
- Reward best customers – Offer free or discounted products and services to your best customers and high-value prospects.
- Incentivize customers – Offer incentives for additional or future purchases to drive customer retention.
Types of companies that require CRM software are:
- B2B companies – B2B companies that track leads across longer, consultative sales cycles and through upgrade paths (for example, software companies, agencies, or recruiting firms)
- B2C companies – Considered-purchase B2C companies (for example, realtors, financial services, or landscaping services)
- Any other – Small to medium-size business (SMB) or enterprise that may not necessarily fall into this category
“The impact on an organization can at times be subtle and distributed throughout the enterprise…Cost savings and productivity enhancements can be seen in saving a salesperson 20 minutes per week in writing activity reports, or answering four times the volume of web-based service requests in the same amount of time.”
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