What is crm is maintaining good relationships with customers, is the cornerstone of every successful business, but in decades past, the process of managing and tracking customer relationships within a business was fragmented and time-consuming at best. Companies would store physical customer data in filing cabinets, rolodexes, and spreadsheets.
These methods of customer-data storage not only involved a lot of manual work, but they also meant the information wasn’t properly distributed across the business (between sales and marketing departments, for example), often leading to missed business opportunities.
With the introduction of the Internet came a wave of new marketing-technology (MarTech) platforms to help companies create, manage, and track customer relationships in the form of a customer relationship manager (CRM).
What Does CRM Stand for?
1/ What is crm?
Software that tracks every interaction with current and future customers; a system that allows businesses to manage relationships and data associated with them; or a business strategy designed to reduce costs and increase profits by solidifying customer loyalty.
Whether a software, a system or a strategy, CRM means different things to different people. The acronym CRM means Customer Relationship Management, but managing customer relationships is only one of many things that CRMs can do.
According to Forbes, CRM is expected to grow to a $36.5 billion market worldwide by 2017. As companies begin to realize the most valuable assets they have are solid, long-term customer relationships, more and more are looking to invest.
Before even considering a CRM, most people will opt for using an email program, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and a little bit of social media thrown in. That’s not bad when first starting out, but eventually, upgrading becomes necessary if growth is ever to happen.
In its purest and most literal form CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. A system or strategy for managing client interactions, dealing with future and current customers, optimising and systematising relationships.
What Does CRM Stand For in a Business?
For a small company setting however, CRM means a lot more than simply a system. It is an outlook, a perspective, a way of doing business.
Think about the core functionality of what CRM stands for, expand and elaborate.
Customer relationship management is of upmost importance. Nobody wants one-off customers who come and go. With the ever increasing cost of acquiring customers it is important that we optimise the process while maintaining and nurturing a deeper relationship with customers who already are on board. Creating loyal customers.
In order to do that, a company should have a clearly defined method of nurturing customers. From acquiring information, to approaching potential buyers, following up, offering relevant content as well as loyalty programs and promotions.
At the heart of a CRM product is the idea that a company should have organised access to information regarding the accounts and people they serve.
It stands for the way you organise your internal processes around the customers. In this aspect, a CRM software will help you and your team become more efficient. It can (and once implemented it will) increase overall productivity, sales efficiency, increase customer satisfaction and retention rates.
What does its stands for in Your Small Business?
For a small business, CRM means creating a culture where the customer is at the very heart of the organisation and every decision made, new product launched and communication sent out have the satisfaction of the customer in mind. It is about caring and satisfying needs, creating relationships and serving.
In this aspect, an entry-level CRM tool (such as InTouch) will help you compile and store customer data, track individual customers’ progress through the sales pipeline, allow access to all relevant information to all employees, send out targeted campaigns, facilitate follow up and a lot more.
As businesses’ information systems are complex, which is why a good system will offer an array of integrated tools which will make your business more successful and your clients happier (and more numerous).
CRM tools facilitate the process of recording and organising business development information. In a small business environment, a CRM system would allow for the automation of some processes (certain emails, gathering of data etc).
What Does a CRM do?
At the most basic level, CRM software allows marketers and salespeople to manage and analyze relationships with the company’s actual and potential customers. It enables tracking every interaction with the company and collects information about the customer. This way, when speaking to a customer, the marketer always knows who they are and sees their history with the company. This makes the interaction more personalized, increases the chances of conversion, and encourages customer trust and loyalty.
CRMs include functionalities which allow you to track customer/company interactions through various available touchpoints, including those from:
The software takes care of certain processes—it can offer automation of marketers’ repetitive tasks, sets reminders for important events, and displays alerts if things really need attention. Some CRMs also offer analytics capabilities, allowing you to track the efficiency of various marketing efforts to generate leads and conversions.
CRM software, in combination with marketing automation, provides sales and marketing teams with a set of tools to manage the entire sales and marketing funnels, from lead qualification to opportunity management, forecasting, and deal closure.
Here’s a list of functionalities typically offered by a CRM platform:
A CRM tracks the company’s leads, allowing marketing teams to enter new leads into the system (automatically or manually) and to track and analyze data about them.
Marketing automation: Some like HubSpot and Salesforce offer marketing-automation functionalities to automate certain tedious tasks in the funnel. For example, the system can automatically send customers marketing emails at times set by the marketer, or publish social media posts according to a schedule. The goal of marketing automation is to keep sales leads engaged and to help turn them into paying customers.
CRMs can track customer interactions and automate selected business functions of the sales cycle that are necessary to follow leads and attract and obtain new customers.
Workflow automation: CRM systems help businesses optimize processes by streamlining mundane workloads, which enables employees to focus on creative and more high-level tasks.
CRM solutions can offer built-in analytics tools that offer insights and help boost customer satisfaction rates. A marketer can analyze the data and create targeted campaigns accordingly. CRM analytics help to track attribution and provide insights into the quality of the customer experience.
- Artificial intelligence:
CRM solutions like Salesforce offer AI capabilities built into their systems to help automatically recognize patterns leading to successful sales, which can help you build more accurate strategies for future marketing efforts.
Individualized customer experiences:
You can also use a CRM to create personalized and consistent experiences for your potential customers across various marketing channels, which may help increase conversions and boost brand awareness.
There are numerous companies offering commercial, ready-made CRM solutions. The platforms come in different shapes and sizes, but are usually provided as SaaS, offering marketers a combination of sales, marketing, and customer-service functionalities. Below are a few examples of some popular CRM systems:
Salesforce is considered the leading off-the-shelf . According to the research giant Gartner, the pioneering cloud-based solution currently boasts 19.7% share of the market.
Oracle CRM handles all customer relationship management issues and business processes on a single platform and offers a variety of deployment methods.
HubSpot CRM is known for offering deep insights into every prospect, allowing granular control of every part of the sales funnel. Real-time tracking of customer interaction helps to understand their needs and respond accordingly. HubSpot allows you to track the source of prospects’ visits, their interaction with emails (clicks, opens, or re-opens), and downloads of marketing materials like white papers and case studies from your site.
Hubspot allows you to install additional plugins for seamless integration with Gmail or Outlook.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM closely trails Salesforce in terms of share and sales. The platform has been growing rapidly over the last few years and is currently available either on-premises or in the cloud.
SugarCRM is a leading open-source CRM solution. It’s a lightweight platform founded in 2004. The solution is incredibly popular among small businesses and offers both on-premises and cloud-based deployment options. Pricing ranges from $35 to $150 per month per user. Modern CRM systems are evolving and starting to offer functionalities beyond what they currently do compiling customer data across different channels. We are seeing social media integration, AI, holistic profiling, and much more.
By partnering with a company offering custom CRM development, you can expect that the resulting CRM solution will be scalable and ready to grow along with your company by closely reflecting its processes and seamlessly integrating with existing systems.
This is also an opportunity to tap into emerging technologies, and become the trailblazer with competitive advantage in the industry—long before the off-the-shelf vendors catch up.
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