What is CRM?
If you’re a business owner or a sales manager, you’ve probably heard the term “CRM.” But what does it really mean?
C-R-M stands for Customer Relationship Management. At its simplest, a CRM system allows companies to manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them.
With CRM, you can store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads and sales opportunities in one central location, ideally in the cloud so the information is accessible by many, in real time.
CRM is a category of integrated, data-driven solutions that improves how you interact and do business with your customers.
CRM systems and applications are designed to manage and maintain customer relationships, track engagements and sales, and deliver actionable data – all in one place.
Why do I need a CRM system?
Any business starts out with a foundation of great customer relationships. You, the seller, connect with people who need your product. Yet, as your company grows, these business connections grow more sophisticated.
It’s not just a transaction between the buyer and seller. You start to manage a myriad of connections, across time, within each company you do business with. You need to share information across various teams within your own organization who are making contact with the same customers.
A CRM system can serve as a vital tool to manage the many connections that happen in a growing business.
Benefits of using a CRM Solution
CRM solutions streamline processes and increase profitability in your sales, marketing, and service divisions. A strong CRM solution is a multi-faceted platform where everything crucial to developing, improving, and retaining your customer relationships is stored.
Without the support of an integrated CRM solution, you may miss growth opportunities and lose revenue because you’re not maximizing your business relationships.
Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnEQq7kNFWo
In a Sales classic published in 1949, ‘How I raised myself from failure to success in selling’, author Frank Bettgel mentioned that the single most powerful thing that turned things around for him was writing down leads/opportunities and keeping track of them.
Without a CRM system, you can’t get any visibility in your sales funnel and understand where opportunities lie and how to follow up. On average, it takes 4-6 times to follow up on a lead that will respond.
CRM helps structure these activities and even plan your revenues for the upcoming quarters. Modern CRM systems are great analysis and reporting tools too that help salespeople better understand and predict their performance.
Sales Force Automation
Sales Force Automation (SFA) is a technique of using software to automate the business tasks of sales, including:
order processing, contact management, inventory control, order tracking, customer management, sales forecast analysis and employee performance evaluation.
SFA is often used interchangeably with CRM; however, CRM does not necessarily imply automation of sales tasks.
One of the most important things CRM is designed to do is to handle your leads and help you move them along the Sales funnel.Identifying the right lead strategy and how to engage and nurture cold and warm leads into opportunities is a core part of high Sales performing organizations.
Be sure you have the proper process in place, break down your leads into buckets and create workflows to automate manual sales activities and lead management as much as possible. After all that’s what CRM systems are there for, especially advanced ones.
Your existing clients are extremely important – they are a source of referrals and a solid stream of revenue if you can upsell them.Companies often integrate their Sales and Customer Support systems, as well as their billing system into one platform – to get a broad view of their funnel and to uncover upselling opportunities.
Looking for a better way to manage and grow your business? CRM software can make all the difference.
Whether you’re looking for a robust CRM software solution, a simple one designed for very small businesses or a free version to fit your budget, there’s a CRM software choice for you.
Role of CRM Tools
CRM tools make the customer-facing functions of business easier. They help you:
– Centralize customer information
– Automate marketing interactions
– Provide business intelligence
– Facilitate communications
– Track sales opportunities
– Analyze data
– Enable responsive customer service
Salesforce is the world’s leading CRM software and enterprise cloud ecosystem – for all types of businesses.As an all-in-one software, Salesforce offers everything you need to find and keep customers, close sales and grow your business.
Features include contact management, lead generation, opportunity management, sales forecasting, workflow automation, collaboration tools and many more.
Pipedrive is a great example of a much cheaper system built for smaller teams.
While it is somewhat limited in functionality and integrations, it offers a great CRM alternative for businesses that can’t afford Salesforce.
Other CRM Tools
Here are some other popular CRM tools:
CRM spending reached $26 billion in 2016, an increase of 12% from 2015, according to Gartner. Despite this, solutions that aim to bolster the performance of CRM systems are popular.This may be due to a disconnect in how management and sales representatives view CRM. Tellingly, Capterra research found that while factors such as mobility and collaboration capabilities drive CRM purchases, the most-used features are those that help sales reps with routine activities such as calendar management, email marketing and quote/proposal management.
Using CRM Efficiently
Follow these tips to make sure that your CRM software is used in the most efficient manner:
1) Keep your data up-to-date
2) Ensure data quality
3) Make it simple but efficient
4) Keep training your teams
5) Synchronize all of your communications
5 Tips to Improve Your CRM System Efficiency