How can CRM software help you grow your business?
CRM or Customer relationship management refers to the grand design, tactics, tools, and technologies used by business enterprises to create, acquire, and retain their customers. CRM ensures that every step of customer interaction is seamless and hassle-free, leading to higher profits. The software collates cumulative data on customers from multiple channels. CRM then stores detailed information on the overall purchase, personal information of the customer, their buying patterns, and their history with the company.
A CRM software integrates customer information into a single central CRM database to make it accessible, logical, and manageable. The cornerstone of CRM software includes collecting pivotal customer data across different channels and contact points, analyzing such interactions and data, and improving customer service relationships based on the analysis.
CRM is a strong strategy that needs time, resources, and proper thoughts to apply. Let us dig deep into the components, functionalities, and benefits of CRM software.
Understanding Components of CRM
28% of millennials believe that CRM applications are extremely critical to their success compared to 18% of Generation X and 9% of Baby boomers. Businesses often use various free and open source CRM solutions available in the market to achieve their growth targets.
They have become ubiquitous because they have branched out into several components:
1. Marketing automation
CRM tools with such capabilities help businesses automate redundant and repetitive tasks to augment the overall marketing efforts in the entire customer lifecycle. For instance, if there is a sales prospect that has made some sort of inquiry in the system, the system automatically sends the prospect marketing and sales material usually over email, social media to convert the lead into a customer.
2. Sales cycle automation
This tool tracks customer interaction at various levels of the customer lifecycle. The tool automates selected business functions in the cycle that are deemed important to follow the leads and obtain the customer's business.
3. Location-based service
Many businesses can use this CRM component to create location-based marketing campaigns using customer locations. Geolocation technology can also be used as a perfect contact management tool to find relevant sales prospects based on location.
4. Contact center automation
A contact center or a call center is a place that is run in a frenzy. The officials have to juggle between several customer queries ensuring that there is no lag in addressing concerns. But the tedious nature of the job can be lightened with contact center automation that includes pre-recorded audio that helps in customer solving issues as well as circulating basic information.
There are various software tools available that integrate with the call center agent desktop tools so that customer queries can be handled with finesse, and the process is simplified.
In Human Resource Management, CRM helps in tracking employee information, including personal contact information, performance appraisals, final reviews, payouts, etc. HR departments can become doubly efficient by using CRM tools to manage the internal workforce's details and information.
To serve the customers better, customer data must be carefully examined and dissected to extract the most relevant information that can help them serve the customers well and create targeted marketing campaigns. CRM analytics is the right component that will help businesses achieve that.
7. Lead Management
Crucial sales leads can be effectively tracked through CRM, allowing sales teams to track and analyze leads in a particular location.
8. Workflow automation
CRM systems assist businesses in optimizing processes by streamlining commonplace and routine workloads helping the teams to focus on those activities that are creative, high-level, and long-term beneficial.
What does CRM do?
Automating service operations by following predefined processes is the very essence of good CRM. CRM software abounds in several functionalities, which is why several businesses plan to include it in every facet of their business undertaking strategically.
- It allows users to track customer and company interactions through the available channels. These channels that are in question include all the touchpoints, including contact forms, emails, phone calls, and much more.
- CRM systems are embedded with tracking features that record frequent customer interactions online.
- Trust CRM to provide uninhibited personalized CRM experience. It gives profound customer insights that will help businesses understand their buying behavior, past history of issue handling, and near-accurate anticipation of their future needs. Once businesses are loaded with such information, they will be able to enrich their learning curve and provide better services and on-time delivery, leading to customer delight.
- A visual sales pipeline will certainly make working with leads easier. CRM helps achieve the visibility of leads across different stages. Businesses will now be able to see which lead is in which stage and sort and filter them by the expected date of closure.
- Effective report generation will help sales teams to use generated insights, adjust their delivery course, and grow the revenue of business enterprises. Teams can show the level of progress with the stakeholders also.
- Once a trigger has been sent for a customer's possible interest in the business, CRM automatically sets off the customer sale lifecycle by sending emails, updating records, and sending webhooks to ensure that the customer is loaded with information before a sales rep contacts.
- Powers the sales and marketing teams with tools that help them manage the entire sales and marketing funnel right from lead generation and qualification to forecasting and deal closure.
- Automate the routine processes that provide the manager with diverse tools that allow for tracking and measuring the company's performance and productivity.
- CRM software can come handy in reminding managers of tasks that they need to complete on time. CRM software can perform pre-scheduled activities, like sending emails and making phone calls.
- CRM also offers deep analytics capabilities allowing users to track the efficacy of diverse marketing efforts that the business is undertaking to generate and convert leads.
What are the Features of an effective CRM solution?
Interacting and working with customers at a regular level is pretty challenging. The most challenging part of it all is keeping up with the different contacts, diagnosing the problems, and ascertaining satisfaction with positive interactions. CRM can shoulder a good quantity of the workload for businesses and their sales processes.
It has helped businesses open windows of opportunities to expertly administer and manage prospects and deal with existing customers with great care and expertise. Using a platform with the best CRM features is an important part of the overall CRM strategy.
This compilation is a list of all features that an effective CRM must have to get started.
Customer opportunity management
This basic feature of CRM helps businesses to analyze which leads are closest to getting converted. Over the years, businesses have suffered owing to the lack of proper mechanism firstly to capture leads, then marking them as warm and finally into hot leads that might get converted anytime.
Customer opportunity management is a sales opportunity that involves tracking important leads as they move in the pipeline. It is this pipeline that will be visible to the team, enabling them to produce marketing efforts that will help them orient their strategies now to those leads, which will prove fruitful for them.
This feature will allow businesses to segment their contacts to different groups. When the groups are differentiated, CRM software lets businesses to allocate different strategies for each group because 'One size doesn't fit all.' CRM software under contact management allows for customization of contacts, letting them do things that will make every individual customer important. Effective contact management calls for the filtering of contacts based on their importance.
Detecting high-quality leads
Leading scoring feature of CRM helps to sort leads into different buckets - like hot, warm, and cold. This helps businesses to identify the ones you need to focus on first instantly. The lead score feature will help segment customers by traits and demographic data (job title, location, industry type, etc.). behavior with your product - visiting the pricing page, feature adoption, and Response to the email integration strategy - like link clicks or opening of the email.
Reports and Dashboard
Reports and dashboards have become the top CRM features in the entire software ecosystem. Users can now take a look at in-depth statistics in an engaging manner with the help of user-specific, tailor-made reports, and dashboards. They offer real-time data upgrades with a platform accessible from different portals so that personnel at all levels can access it without ado. The business management team can utilize these reports to make decisions based on data.
For improving productivity and eliminating the need for manual data entry, mobile phones have been integrated into the CRM ecosystem. All the calls are automatically logged in and linked to the requisite record. Mobile CRM allows sales teams to view data from even the remotest location to track the leads.
Sales analytics represents different things to different businesses. To some, it could imply hard data, and to others, it could imply pipeline forecasting, lead scoring, and customer information analyses. Sales data will provide information that will be needed for setting long-term and short-term goals, which will be clear, precise, measurable, and on-time.
Since it is data-driven, the sales team will be able to visualize their goals. It will give them something to measure against and something to focus on. It will make several visible facets of your sales process, like the number of calls made, new accounts, sales value, etc. This can gamify your sales team efforts.
Different customers respond to different strategies. Email integration feature in CRM allows the business to send instant emails to customers who have responded to your offer through a contact point. Not just that, the automation also enables businesses to send follow-up emails to understand if the customer might be interested in their offering or not. Tracking email interactions, making notes, and generating reports based on how customers respond to an email is the keystone of CRM.
A perfect forecast is the most important need of a CRM strategy. Forecasting helps the team to generate sales forecast reports on demand to see what the projected sale looks like. It also gives valuable insights into the team's performance in terms of sales, current deals in the pipeline, and much more. It also helps businesses to modify their pipeline estimates based on lead confidence. It helps to identify the top lead source.
Modern CRM workflow automation has provided both small and large business enterprises to operate at economies of scale. CRM workflow automation helps in streamlining the pipeline and close deals at a rapid rate. Sales managers can save immense time to increase sales volume through seamless communication. CRM workflow management also can be taken advantage of to automate follow-up emails and reminders, which will help the team focus on closing the deals.
Across different stages of a business process, the team members and managers will automatically be notified about a particular action taken. Businesses can maximize their productivity and ROI on their CRM investment as a result. CRM workflow automation also can assist in the management of customer data. The teams can focus on such data to go that extra mile to convert it. For instance, it can set time-based reminders for customer contract renewal before it expires.
Sales performance management
Sales performance management (SPM) is a data-driven approach to capacity and quota planning, territory mapping, incentive design, and continuous analysis to help organizations plan more effectively and maximize performance. The performance of sales partners can be managed to ensure that the entire sales team is doing its best to achieve their targets. Quantitative data metrics are used to arrive at concrete data to identify problem areas and address them accordingly.
CRM file and Data storage
To optimize the usefulness of the data, it has to be stored in an organized manner. The proprietary method of data storage is one of the most efficient data storage methods that allow the users of CRM to pull up data in a more organized and restrained manner. CRM also is well-equipped to offer proper safeguards to protect and backup critical data to prevent security breaches and data loss.
This feature will endow businesses of all types to optimize their efficiency and build successful customer relationships. It makes it easier for organizations to run multiple campaigns with effective time management. It also enables larger businesses to connect with their customers in a personalized fashion.
CRM's next-generation market automation technology can help businesses approach a potential lead right from the initiation of the interaction to watch how they behave digitally. Marketers use these tools to close deals rapidly, shortening the traditional sales cycle. It eases and quickens the process of lead nurturing to the point of sale.
Call center automation and chat integration
The ability to control the call center from the CRM User interface is one of the key takeaways of good CRM. Businesses can then integrate any 3rd party program into a single platform. The chat feature also is a valuable tool for businesses to address customer queries. By integrating a chat program directly to the CRM, enterprises can now chat with their employees, partners, and customers all from the same user interface.
Integration of web analytics
CRM integration with customer behavioral data from web analytics tools helps communicate with the customer at the right time. These tools are primarily website focused, as they are built for measuring traffic and sales at different campaign levels. A customer-focused web analytics feature will help a company identify where the maximum online traffic is coming from, collect relevant data to make a customer profile, and achieve maximum accuracy with the business's data.
A social CRM could mean two different things. One social media CRM that practices the use of social media services and technology to help business engage deeply with the customers. This includes social media automation and monitoring. On the other hand, it also is a type of cloud-based software that automatically integrates with popular social media channels like Twitter and FB to extract social media posts and profiles to complete contact data.
Activision, a leading publishing house in the US, was able to monitor user interactions on social media, listen to their problems, and find positive solutions. By doing this, the company was able to reduce customer service operating costs by 25%.
What problems can a CRM solve for you?
1. Poor customer analysis and satisfaction
Organizations that do not believe in investing a lot in software and technologies function inefficiently as they have to deal with customers manually, often leading to a perturbed lead whose needs were not addressed. Knowing a customer and their needs are the starting point of getting more leads, converting them, and improving customer satisfaction. But if that is not fulfilled right in the beginning, then the entire journey is falsified.
Solution - A CRM software will allow businesses to keep customer data in a centralized location. It will also help the business organize and categorize it by changing user status and segmenting the audience. This will go a long way in identifying their needs, track their purchase, and call record history, finding out the necessary reasons for rejections and more.
Customers also can be divided into groups segregated according to the lifetime value they have contributed. CRM helps define your audiences in a better manner because needs are understood in a better manner. Even personalized offers can be given to them to boost sales and increase customer loyalty.
2. Haphazard data storage
Sales reps are still spending more than one-hour entering sales data! Data, when not organized properly, are kept in different places. Due to this, access to data can be time-consuming because of the search process and gaining data access permissions.
Solution - CRM is a great solution for storing various information in one place, automatically converting it into quick data access. CRM helps in easy visualization of data. Data in the form of user names, contacts, customer reference, date of purchase, name, cost, and reason for rejection can mean many things. Having the necessary information will help in better combating important tasks and increasing productivity.
3. Manual tasks
Manually inputting data, long data search, and manual checking of task statuses can lead to terrible and almost irreversible human errors. Systems not integrated with CRM often encounter this problem.
CRM will allow the teams to reduce such manual processes and instead automate the redundant ones for tighter control on core tasks. With the integration, the control over data and activities will increase, leading to better work automation and improved customer service.
4. Ineffective lead management
If lead statuses are updated on regular worksheets, it can be an impending threat. There is all likelihood that the data is lost or updates done in a poor manner leading to inefficient lead generation and management.
Solution- CRM will equip businesses to get a 360-degree view of each customer from the beginning to the end. It will provide a lead scoring and tracking system to evaluate the worth of each potential lead and act accordingly.
5. Lack of personalized campaigns
A customer wants to feel wanted, important, and special for a business. Hence they expect that every time they interact with the business, they experience an interaction they can hardly forget. But in reality, businesses lack the drive to design personalized campaigns mostly because they had not given much importance to it.
The importance of designing a campaign relevant to the customer journey requires time and energy when done manually. Perhaps this is the reason why businesses do not devote a large amount of time.
Using CRM, customer experiences can be personalized by providing a consistent message throughout the different marketing touchpoints. With the help of CRM market automation tools, a single view of every customer with detailed information on the entire customer journey. Critical consumer metrics can be kept track of to run campaigns.
6. Robust After-sales service
When customers have a query, it may be crucial for them and expect a rapid resolution of the same. Organizations that do not have a CRM solution find it impossible to please every customer because they do it manually. Such processes are ineffective and could lead to customer loss.
Solution - CRM is a tool for customer service. It allows the customer service departments to manage the complaints within the realms of CRM and trigger an email whenever there is any update on customer request. This way, the response time reduces, leading to better resolutions and higher client retention.
CRM also can integrate with different cloud communication platforms to remove hurdles in establishing easy communication.
7. Increasing cases of dead leads
When leads are managed manually, the follow-up becomes weaker by the day. The company's website will experience several cold leads, and accumulating them will render the sales team helpless unless they touch upon them on an immediate basis.
Solution - A good CRM solution will spot such leads that could get converted into customers. So, if the leads come from email marketing or website, CRM can nurture such leads with the intended message and content for lead nurturing. CRM will inform the business as to when a sales quote has to be sent or when the lead has to be called or when the lead has to be sent an email. CRM also can be linked to social media sales navigators to improve lead capturing to boost your sales.
8. Sales forecasts
No forecast is 100% accurate, which is why several businesses fail to accurately identify what they could achieve 3 months down the line. This is because they do not possess the right tools to pin down numbers that will help them pitch a forecast to design strategies for the future.
Solution - Data from different marketing touchpoints can be collected. CRM will help consolidate this data and show the sales trends from previous months. This will prove to be an effective base for predicting the company's sales forecast in the coming months.
9. Lack of real-time reports for decision-making
The benefits of real-time reports help businesses to stay on feet and action their strategies based on the data to stay ahead of the competition. Complacent businesses rule out the inclusion of the importance of real-time reports. We will see how timely reports can help businesses make decisions at the right time. But with the lack of it, businesses miss their goals of making strategic decisions at the right time.
Solution - With CRM, real-time reports from data can be generated. With such data in hand, businesses have answers to crucial questions like what is the expected business flow, or whether the business will achieve its set targets. With integrated analytics and custom-built reports in the CRM, businesses can resort to quick decision making. Businesses will be able to understand whether the company will reach its sales targets or the top opportunities for this month.
10. Monitoring internal processes becoming difficult
The pressing question for every business is how to ensure that the team is working in alignment with the overall organizational goals. It is important to understand and monitor the various processes within the internal departments of the organization. How is it possible for the business to understand such a thing or gauge the quality of the last customer interaction with the business?
Solution - CRM ensures strict monitoring of all activities and business interactions within the organization. Businesses will be able to view different schedules, track tasks, and track communications with customers. CRM comes with an in-built monitoring system that will help companies maintain high quality.
11. Digital marketing muddles
If the data in hand is not well-studied and segregated, then businesses will not be able to provide personalized customer experiences.
Solution - Using a CRM will augment customer experiences by providing a consistent message across marketing touchpoints. CRM with marketing automation will help businesses to view information about every customer from all the touchpoints. CRM integration with different automation software will keep track of important consumer metrics to run personalized marketing campaigns.
Business Benefits of CRM
CRM is a system that intends to renew the relationship with existing customers, finding new customers, and win back lost customers. No longer only large businesses with huge databases of customers have the right to access CRM because they are now useful for businesses of all sizes and scales. CRM is designed to streamline business processes, and with the benefits it gives, it can go a long way in expanding your business, proving to be a great tool.
Heightened customer satisfaction
CRM comes with the prominent benefit of heightened customer satisfaction. CRM, as a strategy, all the activities that complete the customer lifecycle can be conducted in a much-organized way. Customers will be able to enjoy better service because the entire mechanism of understanding their needs and issues has become strong enough to guarantee timely and sturdy resolutions.
For instance, if a customer issue has to be addressed, the selected representative with just a click on the software can extract customer details like past purchases, preferences, habits, etc. to ensure that the representative has a thorough base before talking. Receiving continuous feedback from the customers regarding products and services will boost the business offerings by always being on their toes.
Better internal communication
A well-focused CRM strategy will build stronger foundations for better communication within the internal team. Sharing critical customer insights and information among departments will help organizations work as a team and optimize the customer experience. Every member of the concerned team will be able to address customer questions powered by information. A well-informed team will increase the company's overall efficiency with better service to customers.
Centralized database for the sales team
CRM allows the entire sales org to store carefully prospect information over any duration of time in a centrally designed database. This allows for cross-team access and the ability to manage information via a shared location easily. CRM helps sales teams to avoid time-wastage owing to searching files and records for any information about the prospective lead to follow up and close the deal.
Data entry automation
Thanks to CRM, your team will refrain from logging emails, calls, and interaction. Now, CRM will automatically collect the necessary information and aggregate it within the system. CRM also allows sales reps to update all the deals easily, and the latter part of weighing, visualization, and summation will be taken care of by CRM. System efficiency will be enhanced as everyone involved in the chain will be powered with information.
Lead follow-up scheduling
CRM will help organizations track all prospective activities, which will help businesses when it is the right time to follow up with specific prospects. When reminders are given regularly on when a prospective lead has to be followed, businesses can schedule effectively to contact a customer at a point when it matters to them. This way, sales representatives of the organization can convert more leads into full-fledged customers.
Every contact can be kept track of thanks to CRM. Business representatives will be able to view if the contact has visited the site, downloaded any content, or spoke to any members of the sales team. Notes can be logged from different calls and email interactions with contacts and leads. Within the CRM, this information is accessible anytime, anywhere.
Sales report generation
CRM lets the team collect and collate information and data about prospects and deals that use reporting features like sales dashboards. Better automation of the process, pipeline management, and deal standardization is easily achievable. Sales reps can also evaluate their performance to keep track of their goals and put in the necessary work to fill gaps, if any.
The report so generated can then be used by sales managers to see how the team is performing and how far they are from their goals. The report will also enumerate the number of closed deals. VP's and other leaders also can monitor the revenue generated.
Automated forecasting of sales performance
A successful business means the ability of its sales teams to make strategic plans and informed decisions. With the help of CRM sales reports, key metrics like Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and Year-Over-Year(YOY) growth will make it easier for sales leaders to identify noteworthy trends and develop forecasts that are performance-related.
CRM also allows businesses to filter which activities are most profitable and do not provide the guiding point for reps to act. Sales projections and pipeline management are some of the key business benefits from CRM.
Easy handling of administrative duties
With CRM, automation of redundant tasks, or those duties that are important yet take away a lot of productive time can be easily handled. When such administrative tasks are automated, teams can divert their focus on far more important things that will enhance business giving the teams a clear directive on focusing on things that matter. For instance, Well Fargo’s CRM system foray has helped the organization save several unproductive IT and business hours.
More than 60% of sales professionals use CRM applications, with its adoption surged at 113% since 2016. (LinkedIn State of Sales, 2018)
It is high time that as a forward-looking business, invest in CRM because its benefits are endless. Businesses can gain deep business insights, get a comprehensive view of how CRM can work wonders for them, and what to consider before investing in a CRM solution by reading our buyer’s guide to CRM software. By centralizing your database, the workforce can concentrate on high-value tasks that will help businesses increase productivity with accelerated business growth. If you want to check out the pricings of the top CRM software, click here.