What is the purpose of CRM software in a business? Basically, it helps nurture relationships with customers for long-term sales. Although the underlying principle in CRM is not to squeeze out more profits but to make customers happy, which in turn results in product loyalty and more revenues for the business.
In this guide you’ll find more detailed answers on the fundamental aspects of CRM software. These include the following:
As the biggest names in CRM software help businesses achieve unprecedented growth, it’s interesting to note that the CRM market itself is expected to reach USD 81.9 billion by 2025, a definite indication how businesses in general have taken to adopting CRM in their operations. And why not, when extensive studies reveal that 74% of businesses are saying that CRM improves customer data access. Here then are the answers to your most pressing questions on CRM and how your business can benefit, too.
Ultimately, the answer to the question — what is the purpose of CRM software in a business? — is to provide all the essential tools for businesses to retain customers and, through it, achieve sustained sales growth. You may think of CRM software platforms as your main clearinghouse for every information that would matter when dealing with your company’s clients, from complaints or purchase history and patterns, how your sales and marketing have performed against the latest company marketing and loyalty drives, or as-of-yet unexploited areas that offer great potential for upselling and cross-selling among others.
We have addressed our main question (what is the purpose of CRM software?) but what really is CRM software?
CRM—Customer Relationship Management—software refers to applications that implement those technologies, strategies, and practices that companies use to:
The expectation is that all these CRM benefits work together to keep clients happy and continuously patronizing the company’s service and product offerings ahead of what is oftentimes a very competitive environment.
It could hardly be imagined how businesses—or the world, really—would manage as it does without the elaborate CRM systems churning along as businesses deliver their products and services to their customers, most of these offerings carrying those features gleaned from the consumers and end-users themselves, spirited somewhere in some vast data storage complexes.
More specifically, CRM software delivers the following benefits:
Imagine, for a moment, how businesses ply their trades in the days before CRM: design and create a product more or less on perceived market need or demand, hire sales and marketing agents, sell products—repeat. If there is any concern about the buying customers about what they bought from you, you only hear of them if somebody makes it to your office and praise—or complain—about any specific details of your product. If some of those customers also had had bad experiences dealing with your salespeople, tough luck if you were ever to learn about it.
This straightforward mental picture makes it easy to see why CRM is such a powerful tool in today’s business: you get to connect with your customers, your sales and marketing agents, you have all pertinent details stored securely in a database, and you get to drive and play analytics about customer profiles to learn about how to better your products and services and expand your business in the end. But despite all these benefits, you should still adhere to best CRM practices to make the most out of these applications.
There is no way humans alone could hope to manually derive anything of use from what stand now as probably petabytes of data gathered from all angles of business operations directed at getting the most from customers. Compiling that much information data, pruning out areas that no longer work for your business drives, reviewing third-party roles and efficiencies, updating reports and effectivity of dashboards all contribute to a healthy, seamlessly functioning Customer Relationship Management system.
If you are a startup company already contemplating the use of a CRM software outright to kick off operations, the matter of implementing a customer relationship management system should be quite straightforward: you hire management and team members who are already fairly familiar with a CRM software, get an IT who could easily help out with the installation with help from a consultant from the CRM company that you intend to subscribe in, conduct a test run of the whole setup, refine and fine-tune, and presto you are mostly good to go.
The situation is more difficult if you are coming from a traditional company without previous knowledge and experience of any CRM software. If you are the business owner, it is your prime duty to educate yourself with the essentials of CRM at least, and get a higher level executive share your ideas and visions to deploy the software company- or department-wide.
Next to consider is drawing up training modules to retool your current employees and sort out any issues as early as possible to address them decisively. At this stage, you might have to face the reality of relieving unwieldy adopters or transferring them to another department where they would not need to be technically introduced to the CRM software.
Amidst all these, it would be wise to realize that ultimately it is not the software that will deliver you that dreamed revenue and large, happy customers heaven but the people who are going to use it, along with how effective the procedures that you have set in place to implement the software.
Depending on the scope you want covered by CRM software, you will most likely consider how to sort out the finer details of the following:
From the outset, clearly define your objectives. Be receptive to inputs from the people who are supposed to use it. And always go for a system that you can scale and customize as you see fit. There are tons of CRM systems out there to choose from. But also keep in mind these steps:
One of common problems companies face when rolling out CRM is a lack of proper understanding and thus support from higher level executives. But there are other equally frustrating problems to watch out for:
Be definite about where you want to use the CRM software for: track leads? Track customer activities? Manage relationships? Generate insightful reporting and analytics? Get the service teams included in the whole picture? Choosing the best CRM for your company involves a myriad of factors. Of course the overriding objective remains: increased revenue, happy, loyal customer base. Consider also these aspects:
HubSpot CRM is an industry-leading CRM software that provides up to 1,000,000 contacts, users, and virtually unlimited storage to support its fully-featured CRM offering—all absolutely for free.
You can unleash HubSpot CRM’s true power when you partner it with your sales and marketing systems—as HubSpot has originally envisioned the potent trident of CRM, sales and marketing applications, each supporting the other to create a business fully equipped to compete in the best possible way. If you want to try its free features you can easily sign up for a HubSpot CRM free app here with no commitment and at no cost to you.
At the core of HubSpot CRM is the database that aside from functioning as the heart and hub of contact information, gets an enormous amount of help from HubSpot’s own database of over 20 million businesses. With that kind of information easily on hand, you can imagine how much leads you could generate, how quickly you can book meetings, and close deals as much as possible. Not only that, you can also place the calls from right within the CRM, with the additional option of recording the conversation and saving on the contact’s timeline, to further enrich your database.
HubSpot CRM’s great utility does not end there too: with it, you can send a series of emails and deliver them to your prospect from a schedule of your own choice; transform repetitive emails into templates, send in seconds, track performance and later share the best ones with your team; get real-time notification when a prospect opens an email or download an attachment so you can follow up if you are up to it.
You may use HubSpot CRM as a web-based application or access it through Windows, Mac, Android and iOS platforms. Further, it integrates nicely with any applications you happen to be already using, including Microsoft Office, G Suite, or Gmail among others.
Aside from being a fantastic proposition being provided free, excellently powerful and fully enabled to deliver its capabilities, HubSpot CRM is also quite user-friendly, requiring very little knowledge beforehand to install, configure and get running in no time.
Pipedrive is sales-driven CRM software, created by salespeople and hardcore web app developers with a view of making the most of sales pipeline for sole vendors and developing businesses.
Pipedrive allows you to set up your business leads so you maintain a good sense of where your sales stand, and select those ones that are more promising than the others. As it is, Pipedrive uses an uncanny algorithm that is able to distinguish hot leads and deals that you will want to prioritize, a good starting point to generate a well-crafted sales material for each one, fast.
In case your workflows have become too unwieldy for you, Pipedrive allows you to tweak any of them to your liking. When you want to level up and use Pipedrive in tandem with other systems like Zoho CRM, Mailchimp, or Zapier that you are already using, its open API feature should make it easy for you to do just that. If language is any issue, Pipedrive is available in 13 languages, allowing you more room to choose the language that you are more comfortable with.
Pipedrive is offered at flexible pricing rates, so you may choose the plan that is just right for your budget. On top of that, you may like to avail of the free trial to get a good feel of the software before you finalize decision.
Freshsales is another sales-oriented CRM software that not only captures leads, but also distributes, nurtures, scores, divides, and verifies them, doing so via multiple channels of communication. It allows users to keep track of contacts and easily handle multiple inquiries coming from them.
In support of any company’s sales programs, Freshsales incorporates such advanced features as auto dialers, call recording, call routing, affiliate management, and a comprehensive reporting to make sense of it all. How exactly?
Freshsales achieves this intelligent reporting through extensive revenue analytics features, which present all relevant source and rep metrics into an appealing and easy to digest report. With such data on screen, you may then apply a variety of filters to look at it from every angle that matters, organizing the results according to your specific preferences.
While Freshsales appear to be an upper, more expensive proposition, it actually offers the CRM software free if you happen to be coming from a small business, while those above can still expect reasonable price plans, all without fear of recurrent costs and unexpected feed.
Salesforce CRM is an award-winning CRM software that gathers and organizes customer information and interactions in a central location that sales and marketing team members use as a critical resource to extract a larger number of leads and convert them to company revenues.
As a potent lead-generating solution, Salesforce CRM tracks clicks, create campaigns, and provides ways to automate the whole process. Thereafter, such tools as Sales Data, Lead Management, Partner Management, and Marketing Automation, enables a pathway to generate a systematic pipeline from lead to conversion.
To make sure sales team members do not lose any opportunity to close deals when they are outside company premises, Salesforce has executed both iOS and Android implementations of the CRM software, the users getting access to real-time data from dashboards and custom reports. Additionally, Salesforce also integrates with other solutions like Zuora, Zendesk, Desk.com, and LeadExec among others.
Salesforce CRM offers four pricing plans depending on the size of your business. As with others in the list, it also offers a free demo period so you can audition the solution before you make up your mind for a purchase.
Offering small businesses cloud-based solution its clearly defined, enterprise-level CRM modules that one could easily identify with large corporations, Insightly has been hailed by many of its 500,000 users worldwide as the best in the industry. Is the glowing accolade justified?
To answer that, we are promptly directed to take a look at its features: responsive contact management, pipeline and task management presenting clear sales visibility, status reporting of your business, tracking deliverables to customers, boosting customer communication, and enabling effective collaboration within the organization.
Insightly is actively supported in iOS, Android, and even Kindle platforms, all addressing needs for on-location flexibility, while it seamlessly integrates with such applications as Microsoft Office including Outlook, Evernotes, and Google Apps and Gmail.
In the matter of pricing, Insightly provides five plans depending on the capability of your company. If you want to check out the answers for yourself, Insightly gives you a 14-day demo to do just that.
Zoho CRM is a straightforward, award-winning web-based CRM that goes right into the heart of CRM; capture, retain, and watch after customers’ interests—so they don’t abandon your brand for another and keep your business floating if not flying high, and of course on the blue.
Thus lead and contact management is central to the performance of Zoho CRM even as it extends into sales pipeline management and purchase control. All features are nicely presented in an updated user-friendly interface Zoho systems are known for.
Zoho CRM can be configured to track sales, automate daily business activities, and engage customers from any platform—Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, or web-based ones—and up to 13 languages. It works well with MS Outlook, QuickBooks, CloudWork, among others, and has strong support for social media.
There is a free edition, a free trial period for Zoho CRM, along with per user monthly subscription plans that are billed annually.
Shifting contact information attention to gaining insight fueled by better knowledge and more genuine interaction is what Nimble CRM is about—this, and its realization that social media is as much a powerful platform as any to reach out to existing and would-be customers.
As such, Nimble fuses contacts, communications, calendar, and collaborations together in a simple, well-designed system sporting an easy-to-use interface, extracting information from the major social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and automatically linking them to your business contacts.
The pairing of extracted contact information and social media data gives users deeper insights about the people who matter to their business, enabling the business to establish a more engaged connection with the contacts, which ultimately mean more revenue generated for the business and more meaningful ways to keep them. Since Nimble fills out the contact record automatically from just name and email, users get more time to focus on activities that matter. Searching through shared interests further enriches the user’s knowledge of any contact, creating avenues for better interaction.
Nimble is offered in two pricing plans, Nimble Contact and Nimble Business, both billed per user per month annually.
Nutshell is a web and mobile CRM service best known for its efficient, user-friendly application backed up by strong next-neighbor model customer support. In less time than most other CRMs and with no need for an administrator or implementation consultant, you can set up Nutshell and be running smoothly.
An interesting feature of Nutshell is how it goes about generating leads and tracking sales: you may configure Nutshell to define and adjust a price according to the market where you intend to place your product or service and Nimble lumps all opportunities together, assigning people, sources, products, and competitors to each lead, giving you much insight and a unique way to track them all at once.
Aside from the many ways Nutshell allows you to import contacts, it also presents a comprehensive contacts display. It offers native mobile apps for Mac, Android and iOS, along with a great reporting system that allows you to generate detailed performance charts, potent summaries, sales forecasts and analytics, and team activity lists.
Nutshell provides Starter, Pro, and Pro+ pricing plans at monthly and per user rates. There is a free trial in case you want to test first how Nutshell matches with your business requirements.
Bpm’online CRM is the latest iteration of BPMonline CRM retooled with the capabilities of both customer relationship management (CRM) and business process management (BPM), an approach that 500,000 current users employ to boost revenues and enable sustained account maintenance.
The unique approach entails a three-pronged treatment of the customer journey from lead to order and retained business: generate demand through identification of customers’ needs and nurturing of their interests with a view to transform into opportunities; employ innovative processes to manage the complete sales cycle from lead to repeat sales; and automation of services processes based on ITSM best practices and ITIL recommendations to deliver excellent customer experiences.
As businesses realize the power of BPM and CRM in one solution, they will also appreciate how bpm’online CRM makes customization and integration rapidly, while providing greater flexibility with its Agile deployment.
Bpm’online provides variable pricing packages for sales, marketing, and service systems. For a single bundle of all three, businesses may contact bpm’online for an estimate. As with the others in the list, bpm’online also offers a free trial period.
Formerly known as Future Simple or PipeJump, Base CRM is an award-winning CRM software company offering web-based sales system loaded with tools for email, phone calls, pipeline management, forecasting, and reporting among others. The first CRM company to implement a fully native iOS and Android versions, Base also delivers Apollo, a superbly enabling platform that provides elaborate data insights for select sales leaders.
Lately Base released Close, an AI-driven sales assistant to generate deeper insights and enable contextual conversations. It has also partnered with Zendesk to deliver better customer experiences.
Base intends to improve your company standing by centralizing your CRM and sales systems and intelligently scoring leads in the process, by providing a set of core sales tools to boost sales productivity, by generating realistic revenue goals and forecasts all wrapped up in a simple and highly intuitive interface, mobility, and clean design hailed by many stalwarts in the industry.
Base CRM offers Starter, Professional, and Enterprise plans per user per month billed annually.
CueMonk is a customer relationship management (CRM) software that is tailored to meet the unique and specific needs of travel agencies, tour operators, vacation or holiday planners, and individual travel agents. This web-based application enables users to be on top of all their processes and workflows even if they are not at the office and sitting somewhere halfway around the globe.
Designed to help agencies and professional travel agents optimize the use of their resources, CueMonk integrates core capabilities of task management, performance management, and lead management systems complete with thorough analytics, enabling them to manage all aspects of their business from a single, centralized location.
Designed to make contact management easy and quickly attune to client concerns and inquiries, CloudYogi equips your entire team with unified information about each client on a central database, whether the client was acquired through emails or phone contacts. This allows your team to easily cater to the needs of your customers and take action with context, from purchase history to concerns raised via the helpdesk tool. Its lead management tool also makes it easy for you to seize all opportunities and stay on top of the current status of potential clients so you can easily determine the necessary steps to get them closer to a conversion.
With CloudYogi being cloud-based, it’s easy to set up in the workplace and can be tailored to suit your specific needs due to its flexible integrations. To eliminate mundane tasks, CloudYogi comes with a basic workflow automation tool that allows you to trigger certain actions once certain conditions have been met, such as automatically informing sales team once upon successful customer conversions.
And we’re done. Now that you are aware of how CRM can benefit your company, you may think that you’re ready to shop for one. However, knowing the purpose of such a system in a business is a good thing but choosing the right CRM software is another. Before you set out on a search for the perfect tool, be sure to investigate a system before committing to one. Go for free trials, which are often offered by vendors and while you’re at it, read user reviews to find out what other users are saying about a specific product.
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