What is CRM? CRM Software Explained
2. Who is CRM software for?
3. The importance of CRM for your business
4. Running a business without CRM software can cost you
5. What does a CRM system do?
6. Here's how a CRM system can add value to your business today
7. Here’s how a CRM can future-proof your business
8. Here’s what cloud-based CRM offers your business
What is CRM Software?
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.
When people talk about CRM, they usually refer to a CRM system or platform, a tool that helps with contact management, sales management, productivity, and more.
CRM software helps you focus on your organisation’s relationships with individual people — including customers, service users, colleagues, or suppliers — throughout your lifecycle with them, including finding new customers, winning their business, and providing support and additional services throughout the relationship.
With a CRM solution, the sales and marketing team can track and follow a customer’s interaction journey with your business. This can enhance the customer journey and experience by refining each customer touchpoint.
See the world's #1 CRM, Salesforce, in action:
Who is CRM software for?
A CRM system gives everyone — from sales, customer service, business development, recruiting, marketing, or any other line of business — a better way to manage the external interactions and relationships that drive success. CRM software lets you store customer and prospect contact information, identify sales opportunities, record service issues, and manage marketing campaigns, all in one central location — and make information about every customer interaction available to anyone at your company who might need it.
With visibility and easy access to data, it's easier to collaborate and increase productivity. Everyone in your company can see how customers have been communicated with, what they’ve bought, when they last purchased, what they paid, and so much more. CRM solutions can help companies of all sizes drive business growth, and it can be especially beneficial to a small business, where teams often need to find ways to do more with less. Our CRM Handbook explains how and why small to medium-sized businesses should consider utilising CRM software, plus advice and the first steps for getting started.
The importance of CRM for your business
CRM software is increasing in importance as it is the largest and fastest-growing enterprise application software category. Worldwide spending on CRM is expected to reach USD $114.4 billion by 2027. If your business is going to last, you need a strategy for the future that’s centred around your customers and enabled by the right technology. You have targets for sales, business objectives, and profitability. But getting up-to-date, reliable information on your progress can be tricky. How do you translate the many streams of data coming in from sales, customer service, marketing, and social media monitoring into useful business information?
A CRM system can give you a clear overview of your customers. You can see everything in one place — a simple, customisable dashboard that can tell you a customer’s previous history with you, the status of their orders, any outstanding customer service issues, and more. You can even choose to include information from their public social media activity — their likes and dislikes, what they are saying and sharing about you or your competitors. Marketers can use a CRM solution to manage and optimise campaigns and lead journeys with a data-driven approach, and better understand the pipeline of sales or prospects coming in, making forecasting simpler and more accurate. You’ll have clear visibility of every opportunity or lead, showing you a clear path from inquiries to sales. Some of the biggest gains in productivity and in making a whole-company shift to customer-centricity can come from moving beyond CRM as just a sales and marketing tool and embedding it in your business — from finance to customer services and supply chain management. This helps to ensure that customer needs are at the forefront of business processes and innovation cycles.
Running a business without CRM software can cost you.
More administration means less time for everything else. An active sales team can generate a flood of data. Reps are out on the road talking to customers, meeting prospects, and finding out valuable information – but all too often this information gets stored in handwritten notes, laptops, or inside the heads of your salespeople.
Details can get lost, meetings are not followed up on promptly, and prioritising customers can be a matter of guesswork rather than a rigorous exercise based on fact. And it can all be compounded if a key salesperson moves on. But it's not just sales that suffers without CRM.
Your customers may be contacting you on a range of different platforms including phone, email, or social media — asking questions, following up on orders, or contacting you about an issue. Without a common platform for customer interactions, communications can be missed or lost in the flood of information — leading to a slow or unsatisfactory response.
Even if you do successfully collect all this data, you’re faced with the challenge of making sense of it. It can be difficult to extract intelligence. Reports can be hard to create and they can waste valuable selling time. Managers can lose sight of what their teams are up to, which means that they can’t offer the right support at the right time – while a lack of oversight can also result in a lack of accountability from the team.
What does a CRM system do?
Here's how a CRM system can add value to your business today
1. Make improvements to your bottom line.
FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE:
FOR DIGITAL COMMERCE:
FOR IT AND TECHNOLOGY LEADERS:
Source: Salesforce Relationship Survey conducted 2014–2016 among 10,500+ customers randomly selected. Response sizes per question vary.
2. Identify and categorise leads.
A CRM system can help you identify and add new leads easily and quickly, and categorise them accurately. By focusing on the right leads, sales can prioritise the opportunities that will close deals, and marketing can identify leads that need more nurturing and prime them to become quality leads.
With complete, accurate, centrally held information about clients and prospects, sales and marketing can focus their attention and energy on the right clients.
3. Increase referrals from existing customers.
By understanding your customers better, cross-selling and upselling opportunities become clear — giving you the chance to win new business from existing customers.
With better visibility, you’ll also be able to keep your customers happy with better service. Happy customers are likely to become repeat customers, and repeat customers spend more — up to 33% more according to some studies.
4. Offer better customer support.
5. Improve products and services.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, a business’ ability to be responsive to external changes can make or break. While some businesses have fallen, others have pivoted and been able to adapt their products or services to reach customers in a different way, garnering a whole new customer base. A few have grown – think ecommerce, logistics, and pharmaceuticals. For all these businesses, it’s the customer who is at the centre.
Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and VP of Google India, has seen a massive adoption of digital and technology in the country. He says, “India is…a low internet penetration country at about 33(%). Rapid digitisation will accelerate the numbers. There were 1.34 billion online transactions in June 2020 – up 80-90% on the year before.”
So what can a CRM do for your business? We look at how a robust system can ensure your business is ready for the age of the connected consumer, who expects a consistently excellent experience across the customer journey.
1. Boost customer experience with unified CRM systems for sales, marketing, and customer service.
A unified customer relationship management system can connect sales, marketing, and customer service to create a holistic view of a business’ customers. With 62% of customers prepared to share a bad experience with others, the benefits of ensuring the customer journey is optimal can’t be overstated. 66% of millennial consumers expect real-time responses and interactions, and 40% of all customers won’t do business with a company if they can’t use their preferred modes of communication. A CRM that stores all these interactions, across devices and times, can improve the customer experience.
Quickly responding to customer requirements is key to their experience. In response to COVID-19, Edelweiss Global Wealth Management has accelerated digital transformation and adoption. Customers continue to have 24/7 access to their funds and to financial advisors. To ensure that these orders are processed smoothly, Edelweiss has driven up adoption of the Salesforce Mobile App across its workforce, with an additional layer of security built-in to make transactions more secure. All employees now use the app to access data on customers and transactions right on their mobile devices, resulting in agile execution and uninterrupted customer service. The Salesforce mobile app also continues to record customer calls, enabling employees to stay attuned to customer needs and feedback.
2. Provide engaging and unbeatable user experience through hyper-personalisation.
In order to truly personalise the customer experience, businesses need to ensure that each interaction is defined by the customer themselves. 61% of millennials are happy to share personal data that leads to a more personalised shopping experience, and it’s this cohort that is embracing the benefits of hyper-personalisation.
Hyper-personalisation can refer to actually customising products; offering particular products in particular locations based on what’s trending; leveraging omnichannel data to personalise communications; or real-time engagement. 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to them. The meaningful engagement offered by hyper-personalisation can lead to an improved customer experience, coupling user satisfaction with improved sales.
3. AI-powered CRMs can improve decision-making and productivity.
4. Leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to power customer engagement.
5. Improve retention through customer-oriented processes.
84% of customers say the experience that a company provides is as important to them as its products and services. It’s this experience that often drives retention.
Retention is inextricably linked to a company’s bottom line. 89% of customers are more loyal to companies they trust, and 65% have stopped buying from companies that did something they consider distrustful.
GEP is a leading provider of procurement and supply chain software, strategy and managed services for Fortune 500 companies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, each of GEP’s customers faced daunting challenges because of supply chain disruptions, lockdowns and wild swings in demand. A consumer products company, for instance, needed to ramp up its supply chain to meet double digit increased demand. On the other hand, a technology firm saw procurement disruption as suppliers and suppliers’ suppliers were unable to source components and raw material. GEP’s Customer Support Operations team supported all customers without missing a beat while working from home around the globe, enabling the consumer goods company to meet the sudden spike in demand, and the equipment manufacturer to quickly source new suppliers and significantly reduce risk in its supply chain. From March to June, 2020 GEP’s service team has delivered an improvement in SLAs by 5%, and case resolution time has dropped by 23%. The volume of cases resolved in less than four hours remained unchanged.
A CRM can future-proof your business by connecting you with your customer – providing hyper-personalised engagement that is viewable across business teams, powered by data from connected devices and informed by AI, all designed to improve retention by focusing on your customer’s unique needs.
Here’s what cloud-based CRM offers your business.
Work from anywhere.
CRM can be quick and easy to implement. A cloud-based system doesn’t need special installation, and there’s no hardware to set up, keeping IT costs low and removing the headache of version control and update schedules.
Generally, cloud-based CRM systems are priced on the number of users who access the system and the kinds of features you need. This can be very cost-effective in terms of capital outlay, and is also extremely flexible — enabling you to scale up and add more people as your business grows. Salesforce is flexible in terms of functionality, too — you’re not paying for any features that are not useful to you.
A cloud-based CRM platform offers you:
- Faster deployment
- Automatic software updates
- Cost-effectiveness and scalability
- The ability to work from anywhere, on any device
- Increased collaboration