A Beginner's Guide to CRM Systems
Why have a CRM system?
A CRM system helps businesses keep customer contact details up to date, track every customer interaction, and manage customer accounts. It is designed to help businesses improve customer relationships and also Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). This is vital because of the vast amount of such data businesses generate daily.
The issue of customer data raises a challenge which CRM systems exist to address. Every 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. Traditionally, all this data went into analogue or unconnected media such as notebooks or laptops, or even just stayed in people’s heads.
With no CRM...
A CRM helps ensure accuracy and efficiency
Let’s start with the basics of CRM.
What does a CRM system do?
A CRM system essentially provides a central place where businesses can store customer and prospect data, track customer interactions, and share this information with colleagues. It allows businesses to manage relationships with customers, helping the business to grow.
With a CRM system in place, every question, every service request, every preference and every past contact detail about every customer is instantly available, which means that every new interaction with them should always be personalised, relevant and up to date.
As well as tracking every phone call, email sent, meeting held and presentation delivered, CRM systems can also be used to add notes, schedule follow-ups and organise the next steps that need to be taken. This ensures that opportunities to close deals or grow customer accounts won’t be missed.
By understanding customers better, cross-selling and up-selling opportunities become clearer too, giving organisations a much better chance to win new business from existing customers.
Key features of a CRM system
Get Personalised Insights into Your Business
Evaluating and comparing types of CRM systems
When evaluating and comparing CRM systems, there are three types to consider: desktop, server, and cloud. A desktop system is really only for a single user who just needs an electronic version of a Rolodex for simple customer contact management, so for most businesses the key question to answer is: server or cloud?
The three key types of CRM system include:
- Desktop systems that run on a single computer
- Client/server system that have a central database stored on a server, usually self-hosted with software installed on each user’s PC or laptop to access it
- Cloud-based systems that are supplied and hosted online by a third-party provider, and accessible anywhere via a connected device
Client/server systems vs. online cloud-based CRM systems
CRM systems for a changing world
Mobile-capable CRM for remote working
Some CRM systems such as Salesforce now offer mobile CRM capabilities, which allow salespeople to 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 it’s possible to run a whole business from a phone – closing deals, servicing customers and even delivering 1:1 marketing campaigns without being tied to a desk. This functionality can also support homeworking, and even allow organisations to reduce the amount of office space needed.
Social media integration
Harnessing artificial intelligence
What is Salesforce?
Why choose Salesforce?
Salesforce offers the world’s leading cloud-based CRM software, offering a range of innovative and far-reaching CRM solutions that can be effectively customised to the requirements of businesses of all sizes, from global enterprises to start-up micro-enterprises. Key reasons for choosing Salesforce include:
- All based in the cloud
- Easy to use
- Easy to customise
- A platform for growth
- Automatic updates and upgrades
- Integration options
- Track record of innovation
That’s a lot of info!
Here’s what you should take away from this article:
- Why use a CRM system? Using a CRM system helps businesses become more efficient, improve relationships with their customers and boost their CLV (Customer Lifetime Value).
- What does a CRM system do? A CRM system stores important customer and prospect data, enabling businesses to better manage their key relationships.
- What are some key features of a CRM system? Important features of a CRM system include contact and lead management, sales forecasting and dashboard-based analytics.
- What’s the best place to start when evaluating CRM systems? When evaluating and comparing CRM systems, it’s important for an organisation to first decide what best fits their needs: a cloud-based CRM or client/server CRM.
- How can CRM systems help keep up with a changing world? CRM systems are flexible and scalable. Businesses can leverage AI, integrate social media and go mobile – anywhere, and at any time.
- Why choose Salesforce? Salesforce offers innovative, cloud-based CRM that’s scalable and customisable, so every business can create their ideal solution.