EXPLAINED WITH DATA: How a CRM system can help your business

What is CRM?

If you’re asking this question, you’re not alone. The CRM system could be the most influential sales tool today, but only 18% of businesses adopt a CRM in their first year.

That’s just 1 in every 5 businesses.

Which means 4 out of 5 businesses around the world are switching between a bunch of tools, including spreadsheets, email clients, and sticky notes, to run their daily sales.

Can they get the job done? Perhaps.

Is there a better way of doing business? Yes.

That’s where CRMs step in.

Back in 2011, Nucleus Research concluded that you earn $5.60 for every dollar spent on CRM. That return went up to $8.71 in 2014—an ROI of 771%.

Now why so many businesses are missing out on such a massive opportunity is anybody’s guess, especially when you have free CRM software around. But that’s probably a topic for another blog.

For now, we’ll look at what CRM can bring to the table for you.

The quantitative benefits of a CRM

  • In a survey, 47% of users stated that CRM significantly impacted customer retention. 47% of users also cited a significant impact on customer satisfaction.
  • In a 2014 report, 74% of users said their CRM gave them improved access to customer data.

Considering that data accessibility is key to shortening the sales cycle for salespeople by 8–14 percent (on average), it explains why 53% of top-performing companies are investing in CRM to drive sales productivity.

That’s a lot of number-crunching, by the way. Time for a breather.

The qualitative benefits of a CRM

Fact is, the tools of the sales trade have evolved. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, customer databases meant the rolodex. It was the bible for sales reps across the world, but it also had an element of risk; a high-performing rep could walk out with their rolodex (and all the information about your clients). When businesses shifted to digital, spreadsheets and emails held crucial data about pipelines and lead lists.

Both spreadsheets and emails have changed the way we do business—no contention there. But they’re not the tools you want for managing relationships with your customers.

When you want instant information about that call last Wednesday with John Barney, you can’t afford to rummage through sticky notes and Post-its. Or if you have to quickly go back to that email from 2 months ago, good luck with the Sent folder.

The CRM system is unique because it’s a software solution built for one demographic—your sales teams. And that’s why it’s the best tool for building lasting relationships with your customers. You’ll have different vendors offering different CRM features—and a lot of companies also offer free CRM software—but three benefits are constant when you choose to pick a CRM:

A single, exhaustive solution: A CRM system has phone, email, reports, notes, appointments, your leads, deals and more—in one package.

Instant insights into your customers: Your interactions with the customer (and their interactions with your website/product) are captured in a chronological timeline.

Creating a close-knit team: Because data is on the cloud, all your team members can share conversations and sales information in real time. This results in greater context, better communication, and a well-informed business.

The CRM system can also do something about salespeople spending only 35.9% of their time selling. Imagine—just over a quarter of sales time spent selling, with the rest going into a black hole of mundane tasks like data entry, sending the same emails again and again, and figuring out if a lead is hot or cold.

By automating repetitive actions through workflows, CRMs do the grunt work while reps can focus on making calls, engaging in intelligent conversations and personalizing the sale.

And unlike rolodexes, CRMs have evolved.

Initially built as web applications only, CRM systems are now available (and fully functional) as mobile apps. And reps love it. 81% of users have said they use different types of devices to access their CRM.

How much should a business invest in a CRM?

It depends.

The size of your sales team, the type of your business, and what you want to get out of the CRM—all these are decisive factors. You can also try using free CRM software—sometimes, it can have everything your business needs to drive sales.

Irrespective of whether you’re a paying customer or a freemium user, moving from a tool like spreadsheets to CRM (at 10x the benefits and 10x the features) is a win.

Closing notes

Are CRMs a short-term solution before something better comes along? Are they just another tool destined for obsolescence?

Not until 2025, at least.

In a 2013 report, Gartner predicted that CRM will be a $36.5B market by 2017. In 2017, Grand View Research estimated the CRM market to be worth $81.9 billion by 2025.

Bottom line: CRMs are not going anywhere. The pertinent question is—what can you make them do for you?

Who can use CRM? Practically any business that wants to streamline their sales process. If you have questions on how CRM systems can solve your unique business use case(s), drop us a line at support@freshsales.io.

Freshsales is a CRM software for sales teams who enjoy intuitive, easy-to-use business software.

Happy selling!