Customer relationship management (CRM) is essentially any effort, strategy, and measure done by your company to manage interactions with current and potential customers. CRM is an important tool to help you build relationships with customers and create loyalty and retention among them.
Customer loyalty affects a company’s revenue. That is why having a CRM is a good strategy to help you increase your profits.
CRMs make collecting data and communicating with customers easier, especially if they are all integrated in a simple and scalable user interface. CRMs can also be implemented in various platforms and methods: social media, telephony, your company website, chat, mail, email and various marketing strategies.
Leslie Ye, editor at Hubspot’s Sales Blog, says, “Beyond contact info, CRMs log reps’ touchpoints with their prospects, including emails, phone calls, voicemails, and in-person meetings. Some CRMs offer the ability to track deal stages and reasons for closed-lost and closed-won deals.”
There are many types of CRM preconfigured with various strategies and applications, and can be modified to specifically fit your business. CRMs are necessary for almost every type of business. That is why it is important to start using a CRM for your business right at the very beginning, before you even realize its necessity.
Keep your operations and sales process in consideration when choosing a CRM solution.
- What type of customer data will be relevant to my sales process?
- How many times do I usually have to contact a client before they make a purchase?
- How important is customer loyalty to my business?
- Am I concerned about making sales or with data entry?
No two businesses are the same. A good CRM software can be reconfigured to suit your business's unique needs.
Some CRM tools allow you to choose which features and settings to include in your package, such as contact fields, raw data extraction, and custom reports creation. Some CRMs can be customized with extensions, plugins and other add-ons to provide you with added capabilities.
Most CRM programs offer third-party software integrations. A popular CRM software called Salesforce can connect to solutions such as QuickBooks, Mailchimp, and DocuSign.
Some CRMs can also sync your sales and order information with your POS system and accounting software, so you don’t have to manually enter data. Conversely, some CRM software can run directly from Outlook, Gmail, or other email clients.
They also have their application marketplace called AppExchange, where you can search for compatible third-party apps.
Integrating your CRM software to apps and solutions that you already use can help you become more efficient and save money. Always check with your vendor which software is compatible with your CRM before purchasing.
Always consider an intuitive and easy-to-use system. One easy and detrimental mistake you can make is getting a CRM that has a very complex user interface which makes it difficult for your employees to use.
Your CRM should be easy to navigate. Because if not, your team may choose not to use it as much or it may delay them in doing simple tasks, making you less efficient. Having a CRM that is easy to use makes it easy to be adopted by your team, hence making them more aligned, and will take better care of your data integrity.
In a survey conducted by Inside CRM, 65% of respondents say that ease of use is the most important aspect when choosing a CRM; 27% say that it is schedule management; and 18% say that it is the ability to clearly record or screenshot data.
Always expect experiencing a few troubles once you’ve implemented your CRM. Your vendor should be able to support you when you encounter an issue. Check their website to get a sense of the type of customer support you will receive. Check their availability, their contact information, as well as their customer reviews. So that if you do run into a difficult challenge while using the CRM, you can be assured that there is support available.
If you do not get support for your CRM when you need it, it may negatively affect your own customer service interactions, which may hurt your ROI.
When looking for a CRM, don’t just look for features that address your current needs. Visualize where your business will be a few years into the future. What does it look like? How many customers will you have by then? How many staff members are you going to need?
Look at your business as a whole and choose a flexible CRM that your business can use whether it scales up or down. Your CRM vendor should think the same, and design their product with features and functionalities that adapt as technology, your business needs, and customer base change.
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