A CRM system helps you keep your customer’s contact details up to date, track every interaction they have with your business, and manage their accounts. It’s designed to help you, improve your customer relationships, and in turn, customer lifetime value.
Let's break that down a bit more.
Your company and its people create vast quantities of data every day. Each time someone picks up the phone and talks to a customer, goes out to meet a new sales prospect, or follows up a promising lead, they learn something new and potentially valuable.
But where does this data go? Into notepads or documents on laptops perhaps; or maybe it's just stored in their head. If that's the case then details can get lost or forgotten, meetings and phone conversations may not be followed up, and choosing what to focus on can be a matter of guesswork rather than a rigorous exercise based on fact.
Worst of all, if the staff member leaves then all their knowledge may walk out of the door with them.
Fortunately there is a solution to this problem. The solution is Customer Relationship Management or CRM for short. CRM takes your customer data and turns it into useful, actionable insight that can transform your business.
Learn everything you need to know about CRM with the CRM handbook:
Fundamentally, a CRM system allows you to manage the business relationships you have with your customers to help you grow your business.
In fact CRM goes far beyond customers, allowing you to focus on your organisation's relationships with all sorts of people – colleagues, suppliers and service users as well as customers.
How does it do this? At the most basic level, a CRM system provides a central place where you can store customer and prospect contact information, and share it with colleagues.
Once this is in place you can track the history of all your interactions you have with those customers: phone calls made, emails sent, meetings held, presentations delivered, enquiries received. Because tracking is everything.
With a CRM system in place, every question, every service request, every preference and every past contact detail about every customer is at your fingertips. And that means that every contact you have with your customers is always personal, relevant and up to date.
By understanding your customers better, cross-selling and up-selling opportunities become clear – giving you the chance to win new business from existing customers.
And as well as tracking contact histories, you can also add notes, schedule follow-ups and organise the next steps that you or your colleagues need to take. That means you need never miss an opportunity to close particular deals or grow customer accounts.
These traditional functions of a CRM system, then, might include:
- File and content sharing
- Sales forecasting
- Instant messaging between employees
- Email integration with Outlook and Gmail
- Dashboard-based analytics
See Salesforce‘s Customer Success Platform in action
Your customer information needs to be as up to date and as convenient to access as possible. That's why some CRM systems now offer mobile CRM capabilities. This lets salespeople access key information wherever they are, and update that information straight after a meeting while they are still in the field, so colleagues can follow up with the very latest information before the competition.
With mobile CRM you can run your whole business from your phone – closing deals, servicing customers and even delivering 1:1 marketing campaigns without being tied to a desk.
Social media is having a huge impact on many businesses and the way they interact with their customers: they have to respond as never before to Tweets, Facebook postings, LinkedIn discussions and more.
Sound familiar? If so then you'll need a platform that helps you to make the most of social media as a source of new leads, intelligence on prospects and information for customer service agents.
With Salesforce, you can take care of business, anywhere, anytime, on any device. You can track and crush your growth targets with real-time dashboards. You can keep a single shared customer profile, company-wide, and know you’re looking at the same up-to-date contact as service and marketing.
And when it comes to mobility, Salesforce is second to none. The Salesforce1 app is available for smartphones and tablets, and you can access over 2,000 apps from the Salesforce AppXchange – or write your own – to add the exact functionality you need for your business.