What does a CRM system do?

HubSpot: Top CRM Solution


What is CRM? Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to the strategy of leveraging customer data, transactions and engagement for business opportunities, mainly, in sales, marketing and, to some extent, product development. Its aim is to nurture long-term and profitable relationship with customers. How? By understanding their needs and interests better to provide better and more personalized sales and support experience. The term is also used to refer to the system or software that helps you run CRM processes. Read on to know more about the answers to–what does a CRM system do? 

What does a CRM system do?

It’s the system that runs CRM tasks and processes. These include consolidating in a centralized database customer data from various sources such as customer service calls, sales data and marketing campaigns. In most instances, CRM software integrates the the processes of sales, support and marketing, along with IT and, where necessary, product development and other business units. The core functions of CRM software include:

  • Provides 360° view of customers
  • Monitor/manage tasks and deals
  • Automate customer-related processes
  • Allows cross-departmental collaboration
  • Monitor/manage email campaigns

Why is CRM important?

Many experts believe customer acquisition is five times costlier than selling to your existing customer base. It’s much easier to sell to someone who already has used your product and know you. In doing so, CRM strengthens your revenue stream and ensures constant income even while you seek out new customers.

In fact, a Forbes article cited that 80% of customers do not buy again from a company even if they’re satisfied. Why so? The article said many companies don’t engage their customers and build lasting relationships with them. Instead of just looking outwards for sales, CRM helps you look inwards for opportunities right under your nose.

Likewise, in the age when customers are highly connected and demand real-time response, companies turn to CRM to provide personalized engagement amidst their thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or more, of customers.

What are the benefits of CRM?

Customers are more likely to buy when the service is personalized to their needs. With popular CRM software tools, the goal is to keep customers satisfied by understanding their needs. By aggregating customer data and keeping your customer processes in sync, CRM helps your company achieve the following:

  1. Better customer insights. Even with thousands of customers it’s feasible to get a full view of customers. CRM organizes customer data and associates related engagement, be it transactions, complaints, social media mentions, etc. The result is you gain deeper insights about the customer, his or her interests, preferred product in your line, recurring problems and more. The CRM system consolidates all these information and in the process, you can slice and dice data in different ways.
  2. Consistent messages. CRM keeps customer processes from different departments in sync, so data is unified and consistent throughout the company. This gives your staff the ability to engage customers with consistent communication by accessing a common database that shows recent customer activities, communications and status. Whether it’s providing support or making a sales call, your employee sees the latest customer record.  That means a customer service rep can endorse a ticket to another rep for further action, or a sales manager can reassign a deal to another sales rep, who builds on the previous activities done on that deal. CRM saves you from repeating the same messages or, worse, contradicting messages.
  3. Automated workflows. When you have thousands of customers or even more, the process of recording customer data or generating reports becomes overwhelming. A CRM system automates these time-consuming manual tasks. You’re free to focus on core activities like selling, developing campaigns or strategizing plans. Repeating processes like submitting forms, creating reports,  organizing notes and answering FAQs can be preset based on your rules and specs.
  4. Greater efficiency. When processes are automated and in sync and insights are shared, your departments run in one fluid motion. They can collaborate in the same CRM platform, share ideas and inputs, tag specific persons even outside of their team and share calendar, reports, alerts and emails to communicate clearly. What happens is your teams accomplish tasks faster, especially those that involve interdepartmental cooperation.
  5. Better decisions. CRM allows you to discover insights from huge volumes of customer data. Armed with this knowledge you can make more informed decisions and better results as a result. Customer insights are critical especially in strategic planning like product development and branding. Many CRM solutions let you slice and dice customer data in different ways like by demographics, sales transactions and customer service calls.

What are the uses of CRM software?

What does a CRM system do? CRM does more than storing customer data for personal details, social data, transactions and other engagement. Here are some of the most important CRM functions:

  1. Centralized data and processes. Think of CRM as the nerve center of your customer data that is accessible across the company. All tasks, reports, updates, conversations and interactions related to customers are stored in one place. Processes that relate to customers are likewise centralized and in sync. A CRM system features communication and collaboration tools like shared calendars, dashboards, chat, email integration and document management to let your teams work closely together.
  2. 360° view of customers. When customer data are centralized, they can easily be consolidated to give you a whole picture of customers. You can check for purchase behavior, product preferences, common issues and complaints, demographic trends and, in general, get a good feel of your market. A good CRM system connects various customer data, including:
    • Previous transactions, purchases
    • Phone, email, chat conversations with you
    • Subscriptions, downloads, comments on your website
    • Social media profiles
    • Social activities including shares, likes, hashtags and mentions
  3. Manage deals and tasks. With CRM you can easily track deals across the sales stages. You can measure not only how much leads are converting but also identify the obstacles and pinpoint where they happen across the pipeline. When deals are won, you can create another pipeline for repeat sales opportunities.
  4. Automate processes. CRM can automate much of the daily tasks done by sales and marketing. These include form completion, lead scouring, organizing tasks, email alerts, launching scheduled processes, etc. You can preset rules based on your specs to define automation. For example, all new leads are sorted by location, or all support calls are aggregated by the day and forwarded to marketing for analysis.
  5. Store customer information. It’s the basic CRM function, storing customer data in a centralized database. Beyond a glorified address book, CRM software helps you pull up customer data from contact details to social data, conversations, calls, preferences, etc. Forms are also automatically completed, with related customer data linked together. Likewise, CRM software lets you enter data using different devices like mobile, desktop or via web and across various operating systems.

You can find more information on why is a CRM system important in our other artcle.

What are the other things that CRM can do?

Some CRM systems go beyond core functions. These functions can be packaged as add-ons or featured as separate modules or applications.

  1. Manage email campaigns. CRM solutions like Insightly are good at email marketing. They help you manage online campaign from conceptualizing ideas based on customer data to scheduling and launching the email campaign inside the CRM system, and to gathering feedback, such as how many have opened or clicked on your email.
  2. Lead scores. Leads are benchmarked based on their probability of conversion. A good CRM system uses key metrics to calculate the probability, such as whitepaper downloads, customer service conversations, campaign feedback and more. Freshsales is an example of a CRM software with good lead scoring.
  3. Team collaboration. Most CRM solutions features shared dashboards, calendars, document management and centralized processes that allow remote teams to work closely together. For example, customer service can route tickets to product team for more accurate answers, or sales can forward its customer discoveries to marketing for strategic campaigns. To aid in teamwork, many CRM systems feature built-in communication tools like chat, activity feed tags and mentions, or they integrate with your existing email and phone/VoIP channels.

For more information on other CRM options you may want to read our list of Pipedrive alternatives.

What are the CRM features?

  1. Contact management. Records and retrieves customer details. These include first-contact transactions and current engagement. Conversations and social mentions are likewise associated to specific customer profiles.
  2. Reporting & analytics. Mines and consolidates volumes of customer data for analysis. Reporting features let you generate documents highlighting the insights discovered from data mining and consolidation.
  3. Tasks and deals management. Tracks deals across sales stages, from initial lead to conversion. Tasks are also associated to relevant deals.
  4. Mobile app. Most CRM systems have mobile apps with scaled down features. The app is useful when you’re out of the office and need to access reports, customer data or enter information on the go.
  5. Customization. Allows you to configure processes based on your workflows. Customization tools also let you slice and dice data how you want it or generate reports based on your metrics.
  6. Ease of use. CRM systems especially cloud-hosted are designed for code-free experience. Drag-and-drop tools, intuitive navigation, easily accessible features and smart tutorials help you walk through the system with little trouble.

How are CRM systems sold?

  1. Fully featured. A CRM solution can be fully featured like  bpm’online CRM, which includes all the essential CRM functions in one solution. The feature set is divided by price plans, with the premium plan offering the complete set.
  2. Modularized. Some CRM systems offer a modularized approach like Salesforce CRM, which offers separate products with scaled features. As your need grows, you can integrate the basic module with more sophisticated ones to expand the functionality.
  3. Cloud-hosted. The CRM system is hosted by the vendor and users pay a subscription fee to access its features. Cloud CRM are cost-effective for small companies, although it entails a recurring monthly fee and your data is stored in the vendor’s server.
  4. On-premise. The CRM system is installed in a client server. This setup involves one-time costs for license fees, installation and hardware. Likewise, an internal I.T. team is required to manage the system.
Category: B2B News

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