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Glossary » CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

What is CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It is a system that helps businesses manage their relationships with customers and potential customers. CRM aims to improve business relationships, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and boost sales.

CRM systems store information about customers in a central database. This information can include contact details, purchase history, and information about interactions with the company. CRM systems also have capabilities for managing customer relationships, such as contact management, sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer service.

The benefits of CRM include improved customer satisfaction, increased sales and revenue, better customer retention, reduced costs, and improved decision-making. CRM can also help nurture customer relationships and increase customer retention and satisfaction.

CRM systems are used by businesses of all sizes in various industries. They can be deployed as on-premise software, hosted solutions, or cloud-based applications.

Synonyms

  • Customer relationship management
  • Contact relationship management
  • Lead relationship management
  • Prospect relationship management
  • Sales relationship management
  • Client relationship management
  • Contact management software

Key Features of CRM

From automating sales workflows to providing customer data analytics, there are many functions that most CRM systems share. Here are the primary features of CRM and what they can do for an organization:

Automate and Enhance Workflows

CRM systems help businesses automate their sales and customer support workflows in several ways. For example, they can track customer interactions and create automatic follow-up tasks for sales teams. Additionally, CRM systems can generate reports that help managers see how well their team is performing and where improvements can be made. By automating these processes, CRM systems help businesses save time and increase efficiency.

Third-Party Integration

Most CRM systems integrate with other databases and software to enable one source of truth about customers. Integrating CRM with third-party systems allows companies to back up and sync data between applications, saving time for tedious manual updates.

Customization

CRM system customization is changing a CRM system to suit a specific business’s needs. This can include anything from modifying how data is displayed to adding new features and functionality. 

Customer Service and Satisfaction

Customer service and satisfaction are the main functions of CRM systems. Using a CRM system can help businesses to foster customer satisfaction in several ways.

Firstly, by providing a central database for storing customer information, businesses can ensure that all staff members have quick and easy access to up-to-date customer records. This is important for providing a consistent level of service across the business, as everyone will be able to see information such as a customer’s purchase history and preferences.

Secondly, CRM systems can help businesses to track customer interactions and feedback, allowing them to identify any areas where customers are not happy with the service they are receiving. By addressing these issues promptly, businesses can improve their overall customer satisfaction.

Finally, CRM systems can help businesses to generate reports on customer satisfaction levels, providing valuable insights into how the business is performing and where improvements can be made.

Lead Management

A customer relationship management (CRM) system can help companies streamline and organize the lead management process, making converting leads into paying customers easier. CRM provides a central database to store information about leads, such as contact information, demographic data, and details about their interactions with the company. This makes it easy for sales operations teams to track leads and see how they move through the sales pipeline.

A CRM system can also automate some of the tasks associated with lead management, such as sending out automatic emails or alerts when a lead reaches a certain stage in the sales pipeline. This can help sales reps stay on top of their leads and ensure they get the attention they need. 

Social Media Engagement

A CRM system can help a business effectively manage social media interactions with customers and potential customers by identifying opportunities to engage with customers on social media and tracking customer data and activity. Additionally, a CRM system can help businesses to monitor social media conversations and track the impact of their social media campaigns. 

Real-Time Data Control

CRM software is important for businesses because it helps them keep track of their customer data in real-time. This valuable information can be used to improve customer service, target marketing campaigns, and make other strategic decisions.

Without CRM, businesses would have to manually track customer data, which is time-consuming and prone to error. CRM enables businesses to automate this process and get accurate, real-time data sales managers can use to make better decisions.

Customer Analytics

The customer analytics feature of CRM is a powerful tool that can help businesses improve their customer relationships. Businesses can identify trends and patterns to improve customer service, target marketing efforts, and more by analyzing customer data. In addition, companies can use analytics to predict customer behavior, which can help them anticipate customer needs and prevent customer churn.

Email Tracking and Integration

The email tracking feature of CRM is a powerful tool that can help sales and marketing professionals keep track of their email communications. It allows users to see when and how many times an email was opened, and whether or not the recipient clicked on any links. This information can be extremely valuable in understanding email engagement and determining the next steps in a sales or marketing campaign.

Simplify Reporting

CRM makes report generation quick and easy. First, CRM provides a centralized database for all customer information. This means that all data is in one place, making it easy to pull together reports. Second, CRM offers several pre-built report templates. These templates make it easy to generate reports without having to start from scratch. Finally, CRM offers several ways to automate report generation so reports can be generated with just a few clicks, saving valuable time.

Sales Forecasting

Sales forecasting is essential to any business, and a good CRM system can help sales managers forecast more effectively. By tracking your sales data and customer interactions, a CRM can give you a better picture of your sales pipeline and help you identify trends.

This information helps sales leaders to create more accurate sales forecasts and to plan their marketing and sales efforts more effectively. A CRM system can also help sales teams track progress against their sales goals and compare their results to previous periods. This information can help fine-tune forecasting methods and ensure sales reps are on track to meet their targets.

Advantages of Using a CRM

Using a CRM has many fundamental benefits that can empower your company or organization to become more effective and powerful. For instance, your company can take advantage of marketing and sales functions and bring better solutions to its customers and services. However, that’s not all; there are multiple advantages to using a CRM. 

Easy Access to Customer Data

CRM systems allow organizations to identify, document, record, and track customer data automatically in one central database. This data can include contact information, purchase history, and any other customer interactions with the company. This can be extremely helpful when trying to access a specific customer record or piece of information about the customer’s history with the company. It also makes it easy to see patterns and trends in customer behavior. 

Improves Customer Service

CRM improves customer service by organizing customer data and facilitating two-way communication between businesses and customers. CRM systems help businesses keep track of customer interactions, preferences, and needs. This information can be used to improve customer service in several ways.

First, having all this information organized and readily available can help businesses resolve customer issues more quickly. When customers contact businesses with problems or questions, CRM systems can give customer service reps the information they need to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Second, CRM systems can be used to proactively reach out to customers before they have a chance to contact the business with a problem. For example, if a business sees that a customer’s account is about to expire, they can reach out and offer renewals or discounts. This can help prevent customer churn and improve customer satisfaction.

Finally, CRM systems can be used to track customer feedback and suggestions, which can help improve the overall customer experience by making changes to products or services based on customer feedback.

Team and Cross-Functional Collaboration

Another advantage to using a CRM is that, and one of the reasons CRM has played a large part in digital sales transformation, is that it enables team and cross-functional collaboration. When teams share customer and prospect data in a central repository, it becomes much easier to coordinate activities and avoid duplication of effort. CRM can also help teams track their progress on joint projects and identify areas where additional support may be needed.

In addition, CRM systems often include built-in tools for communication and collaboration, such as email, instant messaging, and video conferencing. These features make it easy for team members to stay in touch and share information, even when they are not in the same physical location.

Identify and Categorize Leads

Sales pipeline management is crucial for any business that wants to close more deals and increase revenue. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems help sales teams identify and categorize leads in the sales pipeline. This allows sales reps to focus on the most promising leads, improve their response time, and move potential customers through the funnel more quickly.

There are a few different ways that CRM systems can categorize leads. One common method is by lead source. This could be how the prospect found out about your company, such as through a Google search, word of mouth, or attending a trade show. 

Another way to categorize leads is by how likely they are to close by examining how far along they are in the buying cycle and how much interest they’ve shown. Lead scoring quantifies the latter by assigning points to each lead based on their behavior. For example, a lead who downloads a white paper might be worth 5 points, while a lead who attends a webinar might be worth 10 points. The higher the score, the more likely the lead is to close.

CRM systems can also help sales teams track how much time and effort has been spent on each lead. This is important information when evaluating which leads are worth pursuing and how best to allocate resources. 

By identifying and categorizing leads in the sales pipeline, CRM systems help sales reps focus their efforts on the most promising leads and increase their chances of closing more deals.

Increase Customer Lifetime Value

According to recent studies, businesses implementing CRM systems see an increase in customer lifetime value (CLV). This is because CRM systems help businesses to understand their customers needs better. By understanding their customers better, businesses can provide them with the products and services they need, when they need it.

This results in happier customers who are more likely to continue doing business with the company. In addition, CRM systems also help businesses to retain their existing customers. This is because CRM systems make it easier for businesses to keep track of their customers and their interactions with the company. This makes it easier for businesses to provide the best possible customer service, which leads to happier customers who are less likely to churn.

Save Time with Automation

The CRM system can automate many tasks that would otherwise take up employees’ time, including keeping track of customer interactions and contact information, scheduling sales calls, performing follow-up tasks, and tracking marketing campaigns. This can free your team to focus on more strategic tasks, such as building customer relationships and closing deals.

CRM Platforms

Many different CRM platforms are available to businesses, each with its own features and capabilities. Some popular CRM platforms include Microsoft Dynamics, Freshworks, Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, and Pipedrive.

Each CRM platform offers different features that can be beneficial for businesses.

For example, Salesforce offers a wide range of features, including project management, customer service, and marketing automation.

Microsoft Dynamics has a full range of partner integrations for every aspect of business operations.

HubSpot is known for its powerful marketing and sales automation capabilities.

Zoho offers a wide range of features, including CRM, project management, invoicing, and more.

Pipedrive is a CRM platform focused on helping businesses manage their sales pipeline and close more deals.

What Departments Use CRM Systems?

CRMs have functionality for many areas of business operations. Here are examples of how different departments within an organization use CRM platforms:

  • Sales teams use CRM platforms to manage customer relationships and track sales data.
  • Marketing teams use CRM platforms to track customer data and create targeted marketing campaigns.
  • Customer service teams use CRM platforms to manage customer inquiries and resolve issues.
  • IT teams use CRM platforms to manage technical support requests and track software licenses.
  • Human resources teams use CRM platforms to track employee data and performance.
  • Finance teams use CRM platforms to track invoices and payments.
  • Executives use CRM platforms to get an overview of the business and make data-driven decisions.

Businesses That Use CRM

CRM platforms are used by businesses of all sizes across various industries. Here are the top industries that use CRM systems:

  • Retail and eCommerce Sectors: By using CRMs to unite customer service under a single platform, these industries better understand their leads and how they flow. This unified view of the customer helps boost productivity and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Healthcare: This industry has benefited from CRM by using it to sync data collection between systems, receive patient insights, customize patient data, and improve the patient experience. Additional CRM helps healthcare companies automate processes to minimize errors. 
  • Real Estate: By using CRMs, the real estate sector has gained vital advantages, such as managing client records, visualizing performance, generating sales leads, managing marketing, and more.
  • Financial Services: The financial services sector has used CRM to increase customer satisfaction, manage productivity, build customer loyalty, and enhance time management.
  • Hotels: CRMs have helped companies in the hospitality industry automate data collection, leverage real-time data, improve customer relations, and more.
  • SaaS: Companies in the software-as-a-service industry use CRM systems to manage customer contact information and lead stages, track purchase history, and access order data. This information can then create targeted marketing campaigns and offer customized service plans.

How to Choose the Right CRM Platform

Many CRM platforms are on the market, and it can be difficult to decide which one is right for a particular business model. However, here are a few things organizations should consider when choosing a CRM platform:

  1. The features offered by the platform

    Does the platform offer the needed features, including lead management, contact management, sales automation, and more?

  2. The ease of use

    How easy is the platform to use? Look for a platform that is user-friendly and intuitive.

  3. The price

    How much does the platform cost? Consider both the upfront cost and the monthly subscription fee.

  4. The integrations

    Does the platform integrate with the other software the company uses? For example, sales enablement tools, CPQ, data analytics platforms, and ERP solutions used by the organization must integrate seamlessly with the CRM.

  5. The support

    How good is the platform’s customer support? Look for a vendor that provides excellent support during and after implementation.

People Also Ask

Is CRM a software?

CRM is a term that can refer to both the strategy and the tools used to manage customer relationships.

So, strictly speaking, CRM is not a software. Rather, it is a strategy that can be supported by software. That said, CRM software can automate and streamline many tasks associated with managing customer relationships. This software often includes contact management, sales force automation, and marketing campaign management.

What are the types of CRM?

CRM has three different types, which are:

1. Operational CRM: Operational CRM assists in streamlining a company’s processes and systems for customer relationships across channels such as marketing, sales and customer service. This allows businesses to provide a more seamless customer experience and improve customer retention.

2. Collaborative CRM: Collaborative CRM enables and helps teams across business departments to work and collaborate more seamlessly. This enables the organization to create better customer experiences and increase customer satisfaction. In addition, collaborative CRM guarantees all teams can access the same data and information, such as customer data and lead generation.

3. Analytical CRM: Analytical CRM is an approach to customer relationship management that uses data analysis to improve buyer relationships. This type of CRM can help organizations to understand their customers’ needs and how to serve them best. Analytical CRM can also help organizations to identify patterns and trends in customer behavior, which can be used to improve marketing and sales strategies.

Organizations that use analytical CRM typically have access to large amounts of data, which can be overwhelming. Analytical CRM tools and techniques can help organizations to make sense of this data and use it to inform business decisions. 

What are the 5 steps of the CRM process?

Five steps make up the CRM process:

1. Identification
2. Acquisition
3. Retention
4. Win-back
5. Advocacy

The first step in the CRM process is identifying potential customers who may be interested in your product or service.

The second step involves acquiring or converting potential customers into actual customers.

Retention is the third step and involves keeping existing customers satisfied with your product or service.

The fourth step involves winning back customers who have stopped using your product or service.

Advocacy is the fifth and final step in the CRM process and involves creating satisfied customers who will promote your product or service to others.