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CRM - Meaning & definition
The meaning of CRM has changed a lot over the years. CRM is a term that was initially defined and designed to improve customer service. Today, though, it relates to an entire business strategy. CRM software acts as a single repository to bring your sales, marketing, and customer support activities together, and streamline your process, policy, and people in one platform. We’ve put together a short explanation video of what CRM really means and what it can do for your business. Check it out.
Why businesses choose CRM software
CRM is the largest software market in the world, and has increasingly proven to be the best technological asset that companies can invest in. With the prominence that the cloud CRM software market has been gaining over the years, and the ease with which CRMs can integrate with other applications that businesses generally use, CRM systems help implementors cover every aspect of their business cycle with an increase in sales & marketing returns, all while helping them cut down on their costs.
Eight essential building blocks of CRM
Watch out for these indicators
Whether you’re a small business looking for a place to store information and have it accessible across multiple devices, or you’re a large business wanting to manage customer interactions and focus on improving customer satisfaction, eventually you're going to need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software if your current process is unable to find solutions to these pressing problems.
Getting answers to the most basic questions
Ask yourself if you can get quick answers to the most basic questions like these - What's my number of customers and how many did we win/lose in the previous quarter? What was my revenue last month? Who closed the most deals?
Checking the entry of incorrect data
Bad decisions come from bad data. Failure to check the accuracy of data entering your system is a real cause of concern. Once you have a validation scheme with automated data entry, the inflow of incorrect information can be prevented before it causes you any trouble.
Connecting with customers and prospects
Customers can come from a variety of mediums—websites, social media, phone calls, etc.— and only a multi-channel communication system can bring them closer to your business and lets you cover all customer touch-points that are relevant to your selling process.
Personalizing marketing efforts
Your marketing endeavours can simply go down the drain if your methods are not attracting prospects to try out your service. Tasks like sending out promotions, newsletters, etc. can be personalized to ensure that it connects with every customer on a personal level.
Bringing teams together
When every team is an island of their own, it becomes a massive bottleneck for any organization to grow. Real-time customer information cannot be shared across teams which in turn affects the way you serve your customer needs.
Who uses a CRM system?
Customer relationship management systems can be easily customized to meet the specific needs of any business type and size. Start-ups, large enterprises, and verticals like real-estate, healthcare, insurance, legal, media, restaurants, travel, banking, tax, freelancers, and non-profits all use a customer relationship management software for increasing their sales, marketing, and customer support efforts.
From managing an account's contact information to staying up to date with business deals, payments, and reports, B2B companies do best with a sales CRM in place. It helps them create a common platform to keep their partners, vendors, and other stakeholders of their business in sync with each other.
B2C companies have shorter customer life cycles, and they typically require a solution that is more direct and less time-consuming. A multi-channel CRM tool with features like lead management, sending out instant surveys, marketing automation, etc. helps B2Cs reach out to their customers more easily.
SMBs aren't small and medium businesses but smart and modern businesses. There's no truth to the common misconception that cloud CRM is too expensive and complicated for SMBs. They can always start their CRM journey with a free CRM software. By being a great technological leveller, small business CRM systems provide SMBs with a level playing field and the ability to compete against the bigger players in their industry.
With advanced CRM features like workflow management, advanced analytics, territory management, sales and marketing automation, enterprise CRM software can help reduce the time salespeople spend on mundane tasks, have more time to concentrate on their customers and unify their operations across multiple geographic locations.
BENEFITS OF USING A CRM SYSTEM
All information in
More time to sell
With CRM you get,
lead conversion rates.
Decreased sales and
Get more leads, track your pipeline, and close more deals faster.
Key features of CRM software
If getting quality leads is one thing, tracking and managing them to deal closure is another. CRM offers you everything that you need to know about your leads to convert them into happy, paying customers. With lead scoring and automated lead assignment, you can assign leads based on a variety of parameters and know which leads have the highest chance of moving down the pipeline.
Learn more about lead management
Contact management features in CRM help you organize your business contacts in one place. You'll know when and why you contacted a customer the last time, the best time to reach them, mentions from social media interactions, and analytics to reach customers through email and other forms of communication.
Learn more about contact management
A deal once lost is lost forever. The deal management features in CRM gives you the complete picture of your current and future deals, and lets you know what went wrong with your past unsuccessful ones. CRM allows you to segment deals based on their current stage in the pipeline and can tell you the probability of winning any deal.
Learn more about managing deals
Email management is a core function to any business and an online CRM solution lets you take complete control of it. Any email client that you use can be integrated with your customer relationship management tool, which means you save time switching between tabs to get work done. Email management system inside a CRM lets you prioritize emails, analyze the response to every email, and ensures you have thorough follow-ups with your receivers.
Learn more about managing emails in CRM
As a CRM implementor for your business, you want your sales team to spend more time selling and less time doing other administrative work. Here's where automating your sales process will help. Sales automation will help you replace your current mundane tasks with intelligent workflows and macros. Leads will also flow through your pipeline more easily with automatic assignment of leads to the right sales reps.
Learn more about workflow automation
Reporting and analytics
An analytics-driven business culture can go a long way in transforming your organization's decision-making style from "gut feeling" to "data-driven." CRM software offers businesses the necessary intelligence to process data from various sources and churn out valuable insights to guide them with data. From basic charts to advanced analytics insights, such as spotting anomalies in your business, an inbuilt analytics engine inside CRM can help enterprises gain a crucial competitive advantage.
Learn more about analyzing your CRM data
Often companies find themselves wasting their marketing budget due to poor planning and the failure to identify the real target audience for their brand. A disconnect between sales and marketing teams can hamper these efforts. With a Marketing CRM with built-in marketing automation and campaign management features, you can generate new leads, execute targeted email marketing campaigns, compare ad spending to sales revenue, and ultimately get the maximum ROI on your marketing spend.
Learn more about marketing automation
There is never a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to implementing a CRM platform for your business. If there is any business software solution on the market that can be truly customized to the way your business works, it has to be a CRM system. You can customize your CRM with custom functions, buttons, modules, fields, and layouts, or even build a CRM entirely from scratch with offerings unique to your business vertical.
Learn more about customizing your CRM
At a time when global mobile usage has overtaken desktops, it is vital that your CRM system allows your workforce to go completely mobile. Mobile CRM helps sales reps close more deals on the go. It allows managers to add and update data when they shuttle between multiple business appointments, and even when they are offline. Trade shows, business meetings, networking events, both in flight and on the road, mobile CRM apps help you be business-ready no matter where your business takes you.
Learn more about mobile CRM
Implementing CRM - the best practices
So, you’ve decided that it’s time to implement a CRM and you’ve even chosen your system. What now? The following best practices will help you and your team implement and use a CRM successfully.
Map out your sales process and ingrain it in your sales team.
How do potential customers find you and how are they going to get into your CRM?
What happens to those potentials once they are in your system?
What steps should your sales team follow when a lead is assigned to them?
What happens when your sales team closes a deal?
Train your staff and management teams on CRM.
Does your team understand why you’re implementing a CRM system?
Is your management team aware of the time-saving benefits they’ll receive by using a CRM system?
Does your team understand the value of the customer life cycle and how a CRM system can help?
Can you restructure employee compensation to reinforce the benefits of using a CRM system?
Use automation for repetitive tasks.
What actions are performed on every lead, contact, and potential, and could they be automated?
What specific tasks should be automatically assigned to a salesperson once they receive or convert a lead?
Wonder what's next?
Start your CRM journey with Zoho
A market leader for more than a decade, Zoho CRM is an online customer relationship management software for managing your sales, marketing, support in a single system. Zoho CRM helps businesses of all sizes build excellent customer relationships, with features like an inbuilt AI sales assistant, sales pipeline management, marketing automation, analytics, and more.
Join over 150,000 Zoho CRM customers who are happily growing their business with awesome customer relationship management.