What is a CRM and why do you need it?
What is it about a CRM that makes it absolutely essential for your business?
This blog post is a detailed account of what a CRM is and why your business needs one.
We shall start with looking at the basics of CRM and gradually move on to see why your business needs a CRM.
Towards the end of this post, we shall also see how to select the best CRM for your business.
What is a CRM?
A CRM, in the most basic sense, helps you to manage your customer relationships.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. And, as the name suggests, a CRM helps you manage your relationships with your customers.
It’s all about how you talk to them, keep track of them, follow-up on deals, send support messages and everything else.
Everything you do for developing customer relationships, retaining clients and acquiring new customers falls under customer relationship management and a CRM helps you do that.
A CRM is a software that makes sure that all of your customer centric activities are carried out smoothly.
The purpose of a CRM essentially is to minimise the friction and make sure that the processes are carried out smoothly.
For instance, with a CRM you are reminded about pending follow-ups and leads that are going cold.
You see that all the features of a CRM are built keeping in mind that they help achieve better customer relationships and thus increase sales, profitability and revenue.
A feature-rich CRM makes it easier to find new customers, nurture relationships with them, win their trust, provide excellent, high-quality customer support, and other necessary services throughout the relationship with a given customer.
A lot of people have this confusion that a CRM is to manage your relationships with existing customers only.
However, contrary to the popular opinion, a CRM helps you manage your relationships with your potential customers also.
Whenever there is a new lead in the CRM, you see what stage they are in, when you need to follow-up, when you need to call them and so on. All of these activities are a part of nurturing your relationship with the potential customers.
Thus, you see that a CRM is not only for managing your relationships with customers that you have already won, but also for potential customers.
Yet another school of thought sees CRM as a part of sales and marketing efforts only.
However, we believe that a CRM is much more than that. It is a way of business!
You may be in for a ride if you used to believe that a CRM is just for sales.
A CRM is a system that helps increase the overall productivity of the business.
It’s crucial that the CRM is embedded right in your business – be it HR or customer services or supply-chain management – a CRM has something for everyone and it must be treated like that.
Why Does Your Business Need a CRM?
Now that we have a fair overview of what a CRM is, let’s see why a CRM is absolutely essential for businesses.
A CRM lets you store all the important customer information in one place – that is probably the most widely known benefit of CRMs. It lets you store contacts and other necessary information in one place, for everyone to access.
But, it not only records contacts and their information, it also records service issues, helps identify sales opportunities, helps manage marketing campaigns and a lot more.
Nut more than that a CRM is necessary for businesses to scale. If you feel that your business is something that the world needs to know about, you must have a CRM.
Well, actually it is not.
A CRM is part of a strategy – your business strategy.
Every business needs strategy. Strategy is crucial for business.
And strategy decides how your business fares in the long run.
You may have set targets related to sales, you may have clearly defined your business objectives and profitability.
But, how do you know where you stand? How do you have an overview of what’s going on or if you are even on the right path or not?
To put it otherwise, it may be difficult to get up-to-date, reliable information related to your progress towards your goals.
Businesses are complex, there are various teams, departments and sub-departments. How do you make sure that everyone is on the same page?
Or, how do you translate the various streams of business data coming in from sales teams, marketing teams, customer service teams, social media management teams or any other team for that matter into trackable business information?
This is where a CRM steps in. A CRM is the central repository of information. It is the central hub of information for you to be on top of your business.
A CRM system gives you a holistic overview of your customers.
Using a CRM, you see everything in one place. You have a dashboard that is more or less your entire business. You know which leads are going cold, which new leads came in just now, which leads need immediate attention, what your sales team is doing, who’s attending to which lead and a lot more.
Further, you may use CRMs to understand how your customers are behaving and what they’d like.
And, finally, your marketing team can use the CRM to have a better understanding of the pipeline of sales or prospective work coming in.
This will help them forecast and understand the trends better and direct the marketing activities in the right direction.
And yes, as we talked about it earlier as well, CRMs are not just for marketing and sales teams but customer support teams as well.
CRMs considerably reduce the issues customer support teams face, For instance, they might receive a support request on social media and then may have to switch to email or phone to address it or help the customer understand.
But, with an intelligent CRM in place, the customer support team can manage the enquiry across channels without losing track.
What Would You Do Without a CRM?
A lot of business owners, especially those who have never used a CRM before, think that CRM is just a fancy tool that you may or may not use.
But, contrary to this, a CRM is a business necessity.
A CRM takes a lot off your plate. You don’t have to perform a lot of administrative tasks. There is a flood of data – but you don’t have to organise it or figure out what to do with it.
Because it is automatically being stored in your CRM.
How? For instance, you integrate your CRM with your Facebook leads form – thus what happened next?
As soon as someone signs up for your lead magnet, a lead gets created in the CRM. No administrative tasks, no manually updating leads and no worries about missing out on anything.
With CRM, no leads go cold, no conversations get lost in a sea of emails and no contacts are lost.
You are updated on everything – every moment.
Be it Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Pipedrive or HubSpot, CRMs have a lot to offer.
You not only categorise and manage leads better, but also reduce operational costs and manage your human resources better.
It’s a no brainer that your business needs a CRM but what you might not know is that a CRM is even better with integrations.
Integrate your CRM with all of your favorite SaaS products and draw additional advantages.
CRMs help improve customer service, increase sales, retain customers, understand analytics better, increase efficiency of teams, provide better insights and knowledge on customer trends, and increase transparency on processes.
CRM over the course of time has evolved from a tool into a system. It’s more basic to a business’s identity now.
It’s how your sales teams achieve their goals and it’s how you keep track of everything.
With CRMs such as Pipedrive, your business data is absolutely secure. You get real time notifications on who’s logging into your CRM and where are they from.
Depending on your team size, requirements and budget, you can select a CRM. Some of the leading names are Pipedrive, HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho CRM and Freshsales.
If you have no idea about what CRM is the best pick for you, you should consider getting in touch with a CRM consultant.
They will conduct a digital analysis of your business and help you understand what CRM will fit in the realities of your business the best. They will even help you implement the CRM and make the most out of it by educating you and your team on how to use it.
For beginners, it is recommended that you contact a CRM consultant and take their help while signing up for a CRM.
How did you find this blog post? Leave your comments in the comments section below so that we can come up with interesting insights for you to consume.