What does CRM software do?

CRM software is used to streamline and automate your entire customer-facing processes. From lead acquisition to nurturing and conversion to post-purchase service, CRM systems let you manage every aspect of your customer-facing operations from a central hub, eliminating data silos and barriers for your teams. We’ve put together a short video explaining what a CRM system really is and what it can do for your business.

Source: Gartner research

Why businesses choose a CRM system?

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 Platform

The Eight Essential Building Blocks of CRM - Zoho CRM

What are the types of CRM systems?

On-premise CRM vs cloud-based CRM

One of the first choices that a business has to make is choosing between an On-permise and a cloud CRM system. An On-premise CRM system typically involves the business having to set up the complete back-end infrastructure and foot the bill for maintenance and upgrade, on top of the licensing cost for the actual software.

A cloud CRM system is often the most preferred option for businesses as it is accessible easily through any browser, allowing for quicker deployments and usage. Other added benefits include no maintenance or upkeep costs, greater accessibility to your data when needed and the flexibility to scale up or down with ease.

Industry-specific CRM software

There are multiple vendors in the market who offer CRM software that are specifically built from the ground up to cater to the niche requirements of different industries. Dedicated CRM software are available for industry verticals like real-estate, healthcare, insurance, financial services, media agencies, hospitality and more.

All-in-one CRM solutions

The most popular cloud CRM offerings tend to be these all-in-one CRM solutions that are robust, extremely customizable and integrate with a wide range of popular business software to provide a 360 degree view of your customers. They are feature-rich, secure and easy to use, allowing businesses of different sizes and from across different industries to leverage effectively and see an immediate positive impact on their sales operations.

What does a CRM system do?

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 system if your current process is unable to find solutions to these pressing problems. Watch out for these indicators on a cloud based CRM:

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.


How CRM is useful for a company?

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 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 system. 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 system can help reduce the time salespeople spent on mundane tasks, have more time to concentrate on their customers and unify their operations across multiple geographic locations.


Who can use a CRM system?

CRM systems have evolved from simple contact management solutions to a constantly evolving technical marvel that addresses a wide range of needs for businesses and their customer-facing interactions. The breadth, depth, flexibility, and capabilities a CRM system can offer make it a perfect tool for optimizing users' day-to-day activities across your marketing, sales, and support roles.

For your marketers

Accelerate your lead-to-deal cycle by leveraging built-in marketing tools to run targeted and personalized campaigns. Nurture and keep prospects engaged until you can pass these qualified leads on to your sales team.

For your sales team

Manage multiple complex sales processes with ease while optimizing them through powerful automation as well as AI predictions and recommendations.

For your service agents

Streamline ticket assignment and resolution, manage escalations, and boost customer satisfaction, retention, and lifetime value—all through a single platform.





All information in
one place


Clear Operational




More time to sell


Mobile workforce


business culture


sales process




Team Collaboration


End-to-end customer


SLA compliance

* Growth metrics reported by Zoho CRM customers in an internal survey.

With CRM you get,


Improvement in
lead conversion rates.


Revenue increase
per salesperson.


Improvement in
customer retention.


sales cycles


Decreased sales and
marketing costs.


Get more leads, track your pipeline, and close more deals faster.

Kickstart your Zoho CRM trial for free.
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What are the key features of a Customer Relationship Management System

Lead management 

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

CRM Lead Management - Zoho CRM

Contact 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

CRM Contact Management - Zoho CRM

Deal 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

CRM Deal Management - Zoho CRM

Email management

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

CRM Email Management Software - Zoho CRM

Sales Automation

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

CRM Email Management Software - Zoho CRM

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 system 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

CRM Analytics Tool - Zoho CRM

Marketing automation

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

CRM Marketing Automation - Zoho CRM


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

CRM Customization - Zoho CRM

Mobile 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 systems and 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 250,000 Zoho CRM customers who are happily growing their business with awesome customer relationship management.

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