CRM 101

“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” - Peter Drucker

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Without customers, a business will fail. However, the success of a business depends on the relationship you have cultivated with your customers. It depends on trust and loyalty. And it is crucial that you maintain this relationship. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) comes in.

CRM enables businesses to establish long-term relationships with their prospects and customers by making personalized, meaningful interactions. This helps businesses not only increase profitability but improve customer retention.

 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Why CRM is important to your business

World without CRM

You work hard to obtain information about your customers. And traditionally, this information is strewn across your desk—spreadsheets contain customer data, emails with conversation threads, notepads and sticky notes with crucial information scribbled on them, and your calendar keeps track of all the calls, follow-ups, and appointments. So when you have to retrace your relationships with customers, or even if you need a quick update on a prospect, you have to tread through multiple sources to piece information together. 

With more prospects and customers coming in, the amount of information also grows, and it can quickly clutter. You lose track of your prospects, lack visibility into opportunities, lose context in conversations, and miss out on potential customers. All, because there is no central place to document this information. 

So, how do most good businesses solve this?

 

 

Enter CRM.

CRM brings all the information about a customer into one cohesive unit. All details about customers, including their history with your business, reside alongside a list of your deals. Your emails, notes, and appointments live under one interface. 

When you have only a handful of customers, interacting with them is easy. But as they multiply, you need a CRM software that takes care of all this for you. It helps save time by automating emails, provides information to all your team members on the status of every deal, and helps grow your business by allowing you to reach out to more customers in a personalized way. It not only improves the quality of the relationships you build but also makes selling more effective.

Here are a few numbers that speak for CRM’s impact:

 

Why is CRM important

 

The technological evolution of CRM

Software on the server/cloud

CRM systems were initially hosted on physical servers. But, by 2017, 87% of the business moved to cloud CRMs. With cloud CRM, you can buy the software on a subscription, customize it, and not worry about the costs of server management.

 

For your desk and on the go

CRMs are mainly web-based applications. They’re still developed primarily for desktops and laptops, but now they’re also optimized for mobile. Most CRM systems are available as mobile apps on Android and iOS.

A tool that supports integrations

CRM works at its best when you integrate with other tools such as marketing automation tools, billing software, helpdesk software etc. Unlike spreadsheets and email, CRMs let you collaborate swiftly and in real-time.

Who can use CRM?

Whether you are a startup, a small business, or an enterprise, in the B2B or B2C space, a CRM brings order and clarity, helps improve interactions with customers, optimizes sales performance, and streamlines business processes. Here's how different business functions can benefit from using a CRM.

Marketing

Marketing teams can use CRM to measure the return on investment (ROI) on their activities and campaigns. It also gives them insight into whether they are targeting their ideal customer profiles (ICPs), and the right geography and industry.

Sales

Sales teams can use CRM tools to get a deeper understanding of their prospects and customers, and manage their sales pipeline better. The CRM also helps automate day-to-day tasks, track and improve sales productivity, identify industry trends, and enhance sales strategy. 

Customer Service

Customer support teams can use CRM to help improve customer relations rates. It gives them insight into the customer’s issues and their past interactions with the business and provides the tools necessary to manage activities around customer engagement.

Benefits of using CRM software

Enhanced relationship with customers

From prospect to customer, their journey is captured in the CRM. These insights put you in a better position to recognize people, their needs, and how your business can work for them.

Lesser data entry

CRM lets you automate mundane tasks like creating contacts from signup forms and sending welcome emails to new prospects. Spreadsheets demand data entry; CRMs minimize it.

Better communication

The CRM system becomes a single source of truth for every member of your team. No information gaps, no back-and-forth—the customer hears a consistent voice from your business.

Healthier pipelines

Being able to visualize your pipeline makes it easier for you to prioritize deals diligently. As a result, your pipeline stays clog-free, and you remain committed to the bottom line.

Higher revenue

Since you have a well-rounded view of your customers at all times, you can cross-sell and up-sell at the right moments, with higher success rates. This also reduces the chances of attrition.

More collaboration = a strong business

Information in the CRM is useful not just for your sales team, but for marketing and support teams too. They can plan campaigns and respond to tickets better using the information in the CRM.

Picking the right CRM for your business

When you introduce a CRM, it becomes an integral part of your business. This is why you need to keep the following in mind when you hunt for CRM: 

Usability

Understanding how CRM works and using it to its full potential is important to drive user adoption. Look for a CRM that’s easy to learn and use, and helps you focus on selling. Don’t compromise on the three U’s—usability, user interface, and user experience.

Productivity

Your CRM should act as a central repository that integrates with your email client, tracks customer behavior, prioritizes tasks and opportunities, etc. CRMs that ensure productivity should also work seamlessly with other applications such as customer support, accounting, and marketing automation tools. 

Customizability

Every business is unique. So, CRM that fits your business needs and handles your sales process effectively is a must-have. Look out for a CRM with the capability to customize it to fit your process.

Mobility

With sales reps no longer tied to their desks all day, it becomes essential to have a way to access customer data wherever they are. So, find a CRM that offers you continuity of experience between desktop and mobile phone with an easy-to-navigate interface and effortless access to customer data, calendar, tasks, and appointments.

Reliability

Consider the vendor’s reputation for reliability before you make purchase decisions. Sources like G2 crowd, Capterra, and FinancesOnline are a few platforms with trusted reviews. 

Security

Customer data is invaluable, and storing this data in CRM makes it your most valuable business resource. Choose a CRM vendor who guarantees security, allows unlimited secure access to information, and adheres to strict standards. 

Ready for your first CRM software?

Try Freshsales, a cloud-based CRM for your sales teams. Freshsales helps businesses scale faster and puts refreshing business software in the hands of enterprises. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, ready-to-use CRM system (plus a 21-day free trial to start off with), we’re here.