High-quality customer relationship management (CRM) software lets you build connections with your current customers and prospects in a much more personal way than you could with traditional contact management practices. The benefits of CRM functions such as automation can't be overstated.
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Why your business needs CRM software
Customer satisfaction and retention are at the heart of every business in every industry. Many business owners look to leverage robust customer relationship management strategies to develop a reputation as a customer-focused company – in other words, proper customer relationship management can increase customer loyalty. That's where CRM software – technology that can help you manage your customer relationships – comes into the picture.
CRM technology helps you to develop and maintain a strong customer relationship with anyone who buys your products. High-quality CRM software, with all its functionality, lets you get to know your customers and prospects – and develop customer loyalty – in a much more personal way than traditional contact management practices.
But what are the benefits of CRM that drive entrepreneurs to implement CRM software? We will shed some light on it below, but first, let's look at what exactly CRM software is.
What is CRM software?
Customer relationship management software allows your business to organize all interactions and relationships with customers and prospects in a highly streamlined way. It is a centralized platform where you can gather and store all your customer data – including information on your prospects that your team can use for a potentially fruitful sales opportunity – in one place to help your sales professionals stay on top of all their activities.
CRM software also helps you facilitate collaboration, increase customer satisfaction and boost team productivity. From small SaaS systems to on-premises enterprise installations, CRM software is available in various sizes and can accommodate the needs of small, midsize and large businesses.
As the biggest software market in the world, CRM is projected to exceed $80 billion in revenues by 2025. Data compiled by Forrester found that properly implemented CRM software can produce a staggering 243% return on investment, especially when sales professionals harness the full capabilities of the software. These statistics illustrate how essential CRM software is to a business.
Features and benefits of CRM software
These are some essential reasons why every business owner should implement a CRM software solution to strengthen their operations.
1. Automated data entry
A good CRM helps your employees automate data entry and create a more detailed profile for each customer. Moreover, it allows your sales, marketing and customer support professionals to access the same information, as everyone is working off one central source of customer data. With just a few clicks, they can easily retrieve details from the database. Employees can share customer data in a customized way and leverage it in various marketing campaigns.
Similarly, advanced CRM software uses duplicate checking intelligence, eliminating duplicate contact records from the database and making sure each customer has only one profile in your system.
2. Smarter reporting
It's essential to have a good idea of the revenue your business is likely to generate in the near future. Without revenue forecasts, it's difficult to make informed decisions on how to grow your business.
A CRM system takes care of all your reporting needs. With CRM software, you can easily track the number of open opportunities, how your campaigns are performing, and other data that can help you move a sales opportunity through the funnel. Having this information in hand enables you to forecast your revenue realistically.
You can also create and schedule personalized reports that only include the information that's most relevant and important to you. CRM reporting allows you constant insight into the health of your business so you can grow in a sustainable way.
3. Higher productivity in collaborative work
You need a system to let your employees across the company share information with each other to provide the best possible customer experience or move a potential deal along the sales funnel. The absence of easily shareable information can have detrimental impacts on productivity and effectiveness.
The best CRM solutions let you collaborate on documents, share important data and insights, and automate processes that you'd otherwise have to do manually. The result is higher productivity, streamlined processes, and more time to spend on higher-value tasks – and, through these improvements, better customer retention rates.
4. Efficient, centralized data management
Retrieving information scattered in various places offline wastes your time. The lack of a centralized online database limits the productivity of your team. If your employees are using old or inaccurate data, it can significantly impact the effectiveness of your marketing, sales and customer service activities – incorrect data can quickly sour a prospect's customer experience.
With a CRM system, you can store all your data in one place. It is saved in the cloud and accessible to every system user whenever they need it, keeping everyone on the same page. Most importantly, CRM functionality enables you to update information periodically and in real time, ensuring you're always working with accurate data. [Read related article: What Is Data Management?]
5. Enhanced, break-free communication
CRM can help you provide excellent customer support to clients by maintaining their communication history. Sometimes a client may have to communicate with a different rep from the one they are used to, such as when a rep on your team leaves and a different one takes over the conversations with that person's clients.
CRM software helps you easily overcome this challenge. With an enhanced CRM system, you can store the communication history of every customer and your employees can rapidly retrieve it, allowing new reps to quickly familiarize themselves with the issues clients have been facing and pick up right where the previous one left off, making the transition seamless.
6. Task automation
Converting a lead into a customer involves various tedious tasks. You need to create and send reports, sort out various onboarding issues, and ensure that every task is addressed properly. Even though all these tasks are vital for your business, they are not the best use of your time. A powerful CRM solution is designed to automate all these everyday tasks. Task automation saves time and allows your team to focus on more important activities.
7. Mobile CRM
Well-designed CRM software allows your team to access critical sales data instantly from their mobile devices. A mobile-friendly CRM is essential for employees to access data anytime, anywhere. With this constant access, your employees can manage their appointments, tasks and deals more efficiently. In other words, with an enhanced mobile CRM system, you carry your business in your pocket.
8. More specific, targeted marketing practices
Every business owner knows that marketing is essential to success, but the link between a good CRM system and successful marketing can be harder to see. Your marketing team can use your CRM platform to access a prospect's data, allowing them to customize marketing content for that specific customer. This same customer information can guide your marketing team's efforts to modify calls to action and other product details to meet a customer's needs. Since your CRM software will have your customer's contact info, it will also be easy for your marketing team to deliver this content.
9. Precise customer segmentation
Segmentation is crucial to successful marketing practices, and better customer segmentation is among the most promising benefits of CRM software. Your CRM platform can be especially helpful in demographic marketing, since you can use it to divide your customers into groups based on age, location, gender or other categories. You can pass customers through the sales pipeline more easily with more detailed information about who they are and which of your products are more geared toward them than other customers.
10. Efficient sales cycles
Speaking of the sales pipeline, you can easily use CRM software to streamline the sales cycle for your company. One of the benefits of CRM software for the sales cycle is the availability of prospect data within its sales reports and dashboards. It also allows a sales rep to manage all their sales contacts, pipelines and deals more efficiently. Both sales reps and managers can turn to the CRM for performance evaluations and a clear picture of the work needed to reach upcoming sales quotas.
11. Social media engagement
With social CRM tools, you can leverage the power of social media for your customer relationships. These tools help you track hashtags and keywords, manage and respond to customer reviews on social media, and maintain a consistent brand voice across the various social platforms. With so much marketing and sales activity taking place on social media these days – not to mention the wellspring of customer data that social media provides – social CRM tools are vital to modern business operations. Even if your business social pages are underdeveloped, social CRM can lead you to new customers.
How to choose CRM software for your business
As a business owner, you need a CRM system to improve efficiency and revenue. It's increasingly difficult to remain competitive without a CRM in place. Comprehensive CRM software helps your employees automate tasks, retrieve information and streamline all your business operations. The key is to choose the best CRM software to meet the unique needs of your business.
Now that you understand the benefits of CRM for your business processes, you might be wondering how to purchase CRM software and what your platform of choice should include. These are the most important services that a CRM platform should provide:
- Contact data organization
- Sales reporting, forecasting and scaling
- Customer segmentation
- Cross-team alignment tools
- Easy addition of new customers to database
- Automatic updates of contact and sales information
- Clear routes to increase your revenue and employee satisfaction (which may not be as obvious on an initial scan as the other items but is worth deeper research)
Armed with an understanding of the benefits of CRM and what your software should include, you can find CRM software options by looking at a third-party list of product comparisons or our reviews of the best CRM software of 2020. Once you've decided which brand is best for your business, just contact the company, set up an account, and enjoy the many benefits of CRM now available to you.
Max Freedman contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.