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CRM - A Definition

Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) is a strategy for managing all your company’s interactions with current and prospective customers. CRM enables your company to increase productivity, close more business, and improve customer satisfaction and retention.

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The Power of CRM

Imagine the power of having a comprehensive view of every customer at the touch of a button - being able to see a record of all of their previous interactions with you, the status of their orders, invoices pending, their transaction history and so on. Moreover, imagine seeing further data from social networks – seeing their interactions with you and about you, their likes, their dislikes, and what they’re sharing online right now.

Let’s use a sales team as an example –

Your sales team will use CRM software to track each individual client - who they are, their requirements, where they are in the sales process, plus recent social media activity, notes from previous calls and records of email conversations.

With this data every member of your sales team has the information they need to make the right pitch at the right time.

Best of all, every designated employee can view all this information, so prospects and customers can get individualised service from everyone in the entire company, from the intern to the CEO. This means all departments are fully united in their efforts to deliver great service and improve relationships with your customers.

Find out more about Salesforce CRM ›

Salesforce customers have seen....

every member of your sales team has the information they need to make the right pitch at the right time - quote












How can you use CRM to improve relationships with your customers?

There are real business benefits associated with improving customer relationships and offering great customer service. Research has shown companies that prioritise customer experience generate 60% higher profits[1] than their competitors.

So how can you use CRM to improve relationships with your customers?

With CRM, you can:

  • Find and engage with your customers and prospects wherever they are
  • Reward customer loyalty
  • Ensure customers are treated fairly and issues are resolved quickly

We’ll explore each of these in more depth below.

Find and engage with your customers & prospects wherever they are…

The number of sales, marketing and customer service channels that customers are using to communicate with companies is growing quickly. A recent Forrester report[2] showed a 12% rise in web self-service and a 24% rise in online chat usage. This coupled with increased social media usage[3] means that customers and potential customers are coming to businesses through more channels than ever before.

This means you have many more channels to use to engage with prospects and customers.

One survey found that 60% of companies are already using social networks[4] to answer customer queries and 78% plan to do so in the near future. With so many customers, prospects and competitors on the various social networks, companies must actively listen and respond via these platforms to stay competitive. As a result, many companies are turning to CRM systems that include social media integration.

Social platforms present businesses with new CRM challenges which we explore in our article on Social CRM [embed link to the social CRM article].

Identify and reward your most loyal customers...

With CRM software, you can easily track how long your current customers have been with you, how often they purchase from you and more - so you can quickly identify your most loyal customers. You can then capitalise on this by creating special rewards, offers or customised messages of congratulations to recognise and reward their loyalty.

Rewarding and retaining customers does more than simply make customers feel good about your company, it actually improves your bottom line: a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25-125%[1].

Treat customers fairly and resolve issues quickly…

It’s widely accepted that customers and prospects judge companies based on how well they handle customer issues and complaints. CRM can make dealing with customer issues much easier, as CRM systems allow queries and issues to be sorted and forwarded straight to the right department. Since every department has access to all the relevant information they can answer queries and resolve issues quickly and easily.

The ability to deal with things quickly and fairly makes a real difference to customers’ perceptions of your company. One study showed that 60-75% of customers will do business with a company again if a customer service issue is dealt with fairly [5] – even if the decision doesn’t go in the customer’s favour. Furthermore, 90% will continue to purchase a company’s products or services if complaints are dealt with quickly[5].

the real power of crm is in improving relationships with customers

How can CRM benefit your company?

We have discussed how CRM can improve customer relationships, and how increased customer satisfaction can benefit your business. But a successful CRM strategy can directly benefit your company in other ways as well.
With CRM, you can:

  • Close more deals
  • Increase revenue and referrals from existing customers
  • Improve your products/services
  • Measure and optimise your performance

We’ll explore each of these in more depth below


identify & categorise leads

focus on high quality leads

create more customised pitches


With a CRM system, your sales team can identify and categorise leads quickly and accurately.

Categorising leads means your sales team can create more customised pitches, and do it faster because they already know about the kind of customer they are pitching to. The faster they create winning sales pitches, the faster they can move to the next lead, increasing the volume they get through, and reducing response time.

At the same time, they are able to create more focused, customised pitches. Because your sales team can determine which leads are the best quality and how best to respond to those leads, they can spend their time more wisely. They can focus on the highest quality leads, ensuring they create the best pitches possible.

This leads to bigger and better contracts, which bring in more revenue - companies that use CRM typically see their sales teams’ productivity improved by up to 34% and their sales by up to 29%[6].


more efficient customer service team

happier customers who are loyal

referrals are more likely


Even once the contracts have been signed, CRM can continue to improve your company’s effectiveness.

  • Increased upselling and cross-selling opportunities
    Thanks to the CRM system, your sales team has a full picture of each existing customer. The team can use this information to identify opportunities to upsell and cross-sell.
  • Happy customers spend more
    Thanks to the CRM system, your customer service team can provide better levels of service which will result in happier customers. Happier customers are more likely to become repeat customers, and repeat customers spend 33% more[7] than new customers.
  • Happy customers spread the word and refer new business
    On average, satisfied customers will tell nine other people [8] about their good experiences. This could generate more leads, which begins the personalised sales and customer service cycle all over again.


gather feedback from customers

better understand their needs

improve products/services


Your CRM system will gather data from a huge variety of sources: social media, online chat, customer calls, etc. This allows you to get a fuller picture of what your customers want, and how they feel about your products/services. This gives you the opportunity to improve your offering based on what your customers are saying.


track campaigns

report outcomes

optimise & literate campaigns


Your CRM system will allow you to measure every aspect of your business and enable you to get the insights you need to make smarter decisions. Dashboards offer a real-time picture of your business at a glance, and the option to run in depth real-time reports will allow you to analyse performance at a more granular level. For example, if you want to see how that new sales email is performing you can run a report to see which prospects received the email, and the resulting outcome. Based on these results you can optimise your approach moving forward

Find out how Salesforce can benefit your company today ›


The benefits of cloud based CRM software







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The right CRM technology should support your CRM strategy and reduce overhead rather than adding to it. Your CRM system should be easy to keep up-to-date, so productivity can increase. It needs to be flexible and fast, giving your employees the data they need, when they need it, so they can make better decisions faster. Furthermore, for most companies the ability to roll out and maintain this technology with minimal internal IT resources is a key consideration.

Traditionally, CRM systems have been on-premise. This means that the CRM software is downloaded on to a physical computer or server. This can quickly become expensive both in terms of Cap-Ex costs and in terms of internal resource: the hardware required to run such applications can be costly, and you also need experts to install, configure, test, secure and continually update the software

In light of these challenges, many companies elect to use cloud-based CRM software as opposed to on-premise solutions. By ‘cloud-based’ we simply mean that the CRM software is accessed via the internet rather than being installed and run on your computer, laptop or other device

Cloud-based CRM technology offers the following benefits:

  • Faster deployment
    -As there’s no software to install or hardware to configure, deploying cloud-based CRM solutions is much faster than on-premise solutions.
  • Automatic software updates
    - All security and software updates are handled centrally by the vendor, freeing up your time and resources for other tasks.
  • Cost-effectiveness and scalability
    - Cloud CRM solutions are typically ‘pay as you go’ and new hardware isn’t typically required, so unlike their on-premise equivalents don’t require capital expenditure.
    - Generally, cloud CRM systems are priced based on the number of employees who access the system and the number of features you need. The system can be as simple or as full-service as your company needs, and you only pay for the people who use it. As such, cloud-based systems scale with you as your business grows.
  • The ability to work from anywhere on any device
    - A cloud-based CRM system gives your employees the ability to access the system via any device and from anywhere with an internet connection. - Given that a recent study showed that 42% of working adults would take on average a 6% pay cut if they could telecommute regularly, this ability to work from anywhere could have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and even reduce salary costs.
  • Increased collaboration
    - A cloud-based CRM system offers you unprecedented data control. Rather than having to endlessly email files back and forth, and keep track of every change, when a file is stored in the cloud, every employee will access the same file. Every change will be saved and noted, and two or more employees can work on the same file at the same time, making collaboration easy. - This isn’t just a matter of convenience and communication; companies with the ability to collaborate seamlessly have seen increased ROI of up to 400%, according to a Frost & Sullivan survey [10].
  • Find out more ›


CRM success stories

CRM may seem like a considerable investment in time, technology and money, but it is flexible enough to benefit all kinds of businesses. Below are some real-world examples of how companies of different sizes, and in very different industries have used CRM successfully:

Small businesses can use CRM to compete with big businesses

To compete with big business, small companies need to offer the efficient, seamless service of the juggernauts, and they can use CRM to do it. It used to take the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) hours to open a new account for a customer, but now the process is completed in minutes.

“We’ve automated the entire application process, including identity and credit checks, which means there’s no wait and no paper trail for our customers,” explains Mohamed Gamil, the bank’s Chief Operating Officer. “We thought Salesforce was just a customer relationship management solution but we were wrong,” says Gamil. “It has become an enabler for the entire business and has provided us with the accurate insight we need to continue to grow our asset portfolio.”

Fast-growing businesses can use CRM to reduce admin overhead

Staff at events and outdoor adventure company Xtreme.ie are more into scaling peaks than mountains of paperwork. But as a fast growing business they need to stay on top of everything in order to succeed.

Thanks to their CRM system, they don’t have to worry about returning to their desk to complete routine business tasks. They can view customer information, check work schedules, respond to emails and submit invoices, all from the mountain top with their iPhones or tablets.

“Our staff and contractors are always on the move,” explains Simon Collins, Xtreme.ie’s Co-founder and Director. “Salesforce gives our team amazing freedom and flexibility. This means our instructors can get on with the job they love, while management has a level of business insight that many larger companies can only dream of.”

Big businesses can use CRM to provide personal service

Small businesses use CRM to improve the speed and scope of their services in order to match big businesses; conversely, big businesses use CRM to provide the personalised service that comes much more easily to smaller companies.

Facebook use CRM to manage advertisers’ contact and account information, and they also use a modified CRM system to manage their entire hiring and employment processes. This allows the company to interact on a personal level with their one million advertisers and their 5000+ employees across the world.

Charities can use CRM to sync and share information faster and more cost-effectively

Not-for-profit organisations can benefit from CRM too, lowering costs and enabling their workers to focus on offering better services.

Homeless Link created a customised CRM system so they and their partner organisations can easily share information about the vulnerable people they are there to help. This means case workers spend less time trying to find and collate files from different organisations, and instead, spend more time helping the homeless.

salesforce crm customers logos

Are you ready for CRM success?

Are you ready to join the thousands of companies who have benefited from implementing successful CRM programmes? To get the most out of your CRM strategy, you need the right technology for the job.

Find out more about Salesforce CRM with a demo, free trial or request a call back.