Managing customer relationships is one of the most important aspects of business. CRM helps you with that.
What is CRM? How does it work? And why should you use a CRM software solution?
In this post, you will find the answers to all these questions and more. You will learn everything you need to know about CRM and how to choose and implement a CRM solution for your business.
But first: why are we talking about CRM, anyway?
CRM is one of the fastest-growing technologies out there, and is set to change the business landscape. According to Statista, the market for CRM technologies is set to reach $49.59 Billion by 2025.
Image via Statista
It’s clearly not something you can ignore anymore. If you haven’t invested in a good CRM platform yet, then it’s about time that you do! This post will help you make the right choice of the many out there.
So, let’s get started!
What is CRM?
CRM stands for customer relationship management.
When someone talks about CRM, they are most likely referring to a CRM tool or software solution rather than a process.
For most businesses, the process of managing customer relationships is so intertwined with the tool that CRM is often used to refer to both.
So what is CRM software, anyway?
It is a platform that connects the different teams within your organization and integrates all their customer-related activities into one cohesive system. In other words, it collects all the customer data available within your company and collates it to form a holistic picture.
With a CRM in place, your marketing, sales, customer service, and other teams can access real-time client data for better customer interactions.
That means that anyone who wants to learn more about a particular customer can see their entire journey of interacting with your company.
Most CRM systems, by the way, work on cloud computing and SaaS technologies; more on that later.
First, let’s understand who the users of CRM are in the next section.
What is CRM Software and Who Should Use It?
Now that you know what CRM is, you should understand who the typical users of a CRM platform are.
The short answer is that all businesses can and should use CRM to manage and improve customer relationships.
Given that every business needs to maintain good customer relationships as a matter of survival, CRM is useful for all businesses irrespective of their type and size.
One common myth is that the only businesses that invest in CRM software are the ones who can afford it. That, however, is not true.
With cloud-based CRM systems, you can opt for affordable and scalable CRM solutions that grow with your business. Start with something that meets your basic needs, and upgrade as your business needs grow.
How Does a CRM Software Solution Work?
Even if you have a basic understanding of what CRM is, you might still find yourself asking this question:
What is CRM capable of, and how does it work?
Well, a CRM solution collects customer data from various customer touchpoints within your organization and combines that to form a holistic picture of each customer.
The most common sources for customer data are the marketing, sales, and customer service departments.
CRM doesn’t just collate data but also analyzes it to provide actionable insights. Your employees can use these insights to better interact with your customers and provide a delightful user experience.
But that’s not all there is to CRM. It provides a lot of benefits for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Want to learn more about the benefits of CRM?
Find them in the next section:
What are the Benefits of Using a CRM Solution?
Wondering what the point is of investing in a CRM platform when you’re perfectly capable of managing customer relationships yourself?
No matter how good you are at handling customers, from a business perspective, it’s always better to keep things extra organized.
Though you may be excellent at dealing with customers, you can’t possibly remember each customer and their past interactions with your business.
That’s where CRM comes into play. It can help you keep track of each customer and deliver the kind of personalized service, unmatched by any other competitor.
And that’s just scratching the surface. Let’s discuss the benefits of CRM in more detail.
Enhances Customer Experience
As mentioned earlier, using a good CRM solution can help you deliver exceptional customer service and experiences.
How does it do that?
CRM provides your front-end employees with valuable information about each customer including their purchase history, complaints and feedback, and more.
And whenever any employee starts a customer interaction, they can access the customer’s profile and personalize their conversation.
Here are a few practical applications of CRM for enhancing customer satisfaction:
- Using insights from CRM, you can find engaging ways to keep in touch with your existing customers by sending them personalized updates, recommendations, offers, and more.
- By analyzing customer complaints and feedback, you can understand their needs better so that you can meet them.
- You can personalize your interactions with every customer to make them feel special and to build strong relationships with them.
- Use the data from past interactions to provide better customer support and quick problem resolution to improve customer experience.
Hopefully, this answers your question regarding the point of investing in a CRM and encourages you to go for it.
Still not convinced?
Let’s discuss some of the other benefits of using a CRM (customer relationship management) solution to manage customer relationships.
Improves Customer Retention
Before we discuss how CRM can help with customer retention, let’s first understand some key reasons why customers leave a brand. Besides poor quality products, which is the biggest reason to leave a brand, here are the two most common reasons:
- Poor Customer Service – According to Salesforce, 73% of customers will leave a brand if they don’t get good service consistently. In fact, 68% of customers expect the customer service representatives to know their service history.
- Lack of Personalization – The same study also found that 63% of customers will switch from a brand because of a lack of personalization.
Clearly, brands are mostly competing on the basis of customer experience rather than actual products. Good-quality products are a given, but customers today want more than that—they want personalized interactions and quick problem resolution.
CRM can help you provide consistent and personalized service across channels, improving your customer experience and, in turn, retention.
Enables Targeted Marketing
What is the main purpose of using a CRM (customer relationship management) platform?
To get in-depth, accurate, and timely customer information and insights…right?
Well, that also happens to be the most important thing you need for creating targeted marketing campaigns.
Here are just some of the many customer information points that you can get from a CRM tool:
- Customer name
- Email address, phone number, etc.
- Social media profiles
- Purchase history
- Interaction history
- Survey responses
- Response to marketing campaigns
Based on this, you can easily understand your customers’ needs and preferences, and design campaigns that are most likely to resonate with those customers.
You can even create different audience segments and target them with different marketing communications and campaigns.
CRM (customer relationship management) can help you create:
- Targeted content
- Personalized emails
- Engaging social media posts
- Custom offers and promotions
- And a lot more!
Helps with Lead Scoring
CRM can not only help you segment your prospects and customers, but can also prioritize them based on the likelihood of them making a purchase.
A lot of sales professionals would agree that wasting time on unprofitable leads is both time-consuming and annoying.
Using a customer relationship management software solution can help you overcome this challenge by using lead scoring.
What is lead scoring?
It’s a technique in which you analyze your leads and give them scores based on their likelihood of making a purchase. Prospects with a high-purchase-intent would get high scores, while those who were just casually checking your products will be scored low.
What’s the point of performing that segmentation?
Lead scoring can help you prioritize your marketing and sales efforts on the most profitable leads first. This will, in turn, improve your sales team’s effectiveness and conversion rates.
Streamlines the Sales Process
A CRM software solution makes the sales process more streamlined and efficient.
As soon as a new prospect enters your sales funnel, you can track their journey using the data points from your CRM system.
Moreover, when leads are ready for conversion, the marketing team can seamlessly hand them over to the sales team so that everyone is on the same page and has access to the same data.
Basically, the way CRM helps streamline the process is by offering more visibility to a team and letting everyone see where a prospect is in your sales funnel.
Optimizes Productivity and Efficiency
A CRM solution allows the different teams within your organization to collaborate better.
As you know, different teams are involved in different stages of a customer’s life cycle. By integrating all customer data in one place, CRM can enable different teams to be on the same page and to do their jobs more efficiently.
According to a study conducted by Forrester and commissioned by Salesforce, here are the common challenges faced by employees that adversely affect their productivity.
Image via Salesforce
All these problems can be solved by an integrated customer data and analytics platform, which is exactly what CRM offers.
The same study also shows that 90% of executives and 94% of employees believe that a single source of information can help them create more value for their organizations.
Clearly, CRM’s benefits go beyond customer satisfaction and also help organizations perform better in their day-to-day operations.
That’s not all!
Many CRM softwares offer marketing and sales automation features that you can use to further boost your teams’ efficiency.
Now that you’ve learned what CRM is and what benefits it offers, let’s discuss the different types of CRM.
What Are the Different Types of CRM?
So, you’ve learned what CRM is. Great!
But did you know that there are three different types of CRM software available on the market?
Let’s discuss each in more detail to help you understand which one is best suited for your requirements.
As the name suggests, a collaborative CRM system aims at breaking down organizational silos to help teams collaborate better.
Sometimes the various teams within an organization are separated by location. Other times, they just work separately even if they’re physically in the same location.
The main problem that hinders collaboration is that each team works on different systems and has access to different information.
This is where a collaborative CRM software solution can fit perfectly: it provides a single, integrated source of information to all teams.
As most CRM solutions offer integrated customer data, all CRMs are collaborative, in a way. However, operational and analytical CRM software provide a lot of other features as well.
What is it that they do?
Let’s find out.
An operational CRM helps you track and visualize a customer’s journey and optimize your customer interactions accordingly.
It aims to improve the marketing, sales, and customer service processes by providing useful and timely information.
More than that, an operational CRM provides automation features that can automate routine and repetitive tasks. This enables your employees to focus on the more important aspects of their jobs.
The main focus of analytical CRM software is to analyze customer data and provide insights based on that. It goes a step further from collaborative CRM as it not only collects and organizes data, but also dissects it.
It can help you find common customer problems, see trends in customer buying behaviors, give insights into customer preferences, and more.
How to Choose a CRM Solution
So far you have learned what CRM is, why it matters, and what the different types of CRM are. Now, we’ve arrived at the most important part: how to choose one.
Identify Your Requirements
The first step towards CRM software selection is to identify your own requirements.
It’s easy to get dazzled by the features offered by a tool and invest in it only to realize later that you never actually use all of those features.
So identify and list your requirements before you begin your software search process. Your requirements will mostly depend on:
- The size of your business
- Your industry or niche
- The type of business you have
- Your budget
- The length & complexity of your sales pipeline
For example, if you have a small business with a fairly short sales pipeline, you can opt for a basic CRM just to manage and organize your customer data.
If you have a large business with multiple teams dealing with a customer throughout their journey, however, you may want more collaborative features.
Similarly, for a business with tons of customer data and no way to analyze it, analytical CRM with advanced features will be needed.
So first, understand your business requirements and then start your search for the best CRM software. You will easily find a list of options through a simple Google search. Once you have that, move to the next step.
Compare Different Options and Their Features
Once you have a list of options to choose from, you need to compare different options based on their features and capabilities. Remember to look for the features that you need rather than going for the most premium tools that offer tons of features you won’t ever use.
Here is a list of features starting from the most basic to the most advanced. Take your pick of the features that you require and then compare the tools that offer those features and are within your budget.
Let’s get started.
This is a basic feature that almost all CRM software will offer. A CRM solution that not only stores all the customers’ contact information but organizes it well is very useful.
The point of comparison here will not be the feature itself, but how user-friendly the layout or dashboard is. Can you quickly find the information you’re looking for?
Since every CRM solution will provide this feature, check the ease of use to shortlist the best ones.
This is another common feature that almost all CRM platforms will offer.
What is interaction tracking?
It is a feature that allows you to track every interaction a customer has with your business across platforms. It helps you understand and remember each customer’s interaction history, which enables you to provide a better experience for them.
It also enables multiple teams to collaborate better and deliver consistent customer experience across channels.
There are a lot of steps involved in lead generation, nurturing, and conversion. CRM can help you gain greater visibility into each customer’s buyer journey.
Check the CRM features specific to identifying, scoring, and moving leads down the sales funnel. The key here, again, is to compare how easily you can manage your leads using the system.
Choose the platform that is easiest for you to use and improves your productivity.
Document management is another basic feature that you will find in most of the options you may be considering. It allows you to collect, store, and organize documents in a central location that can be easily accessed by different teams.
If you have a large team, then this is a must-have feature for your business.
This deals with sending quotes or proposals to prospective clients. It basically allows your sales team to easily track the information about any client and send proposals on time.
This is a useful feature if your business requires some back and forth with proposals and contracts.
This is just one of those CRM features that make your life a whole lot easier.
As a business owner, you must know how important it is to send timely emails and respond to customer emails quickly. Integrating your email with your CRM platform just makes it easier for you to manage your email communications from a single dashboard.
Managing a sales pipeline is one of the most crucial tasks for your sales team that can be well-managed using a good CRM platform.
A good CRM platform will provide you with complete visibility over your sales pipeline. With that visibility, you can see each customer or prospect and where they are in your sales pipeline.
What’s so important about that?
Well, it helps you manage each prospect according to their position in the pipeline and avoids losing leads as a result of a late response.
This feature is practically essential for businesses with a long sales pipeline and a direct sales component.
So far, we have discussed some of the basic or common features offered by most CRM software. Now, it’s time to discuss some of the more advanced features.
Keep reading to find out what they are.
What is workflow automation?
It is an advanced feature that allows you to automate some routine and repetitive tasks for your sales and marketing teams.
This allows your employees to focus on more important tasks, and leaves the basic tasks to technology. These could be reminders or alerts, automated responses to customers, follow-up messages and emails, and more.
This feature is mostly available in advanced or premium tools or in higher-tier packages of most tools.
While most CRM softwares collect and store customer data from multiple sources, not all of them provide real-time data.
What is the importance of real-time data?
It allows you to make quicker and more accurate decisions than you would otherwise based on historical data. After all, in a fast-paced business environment, it all comes down to timing.
Analytics & Reporting
This is a feature that you will find in analytical CRM but not the basic collaborative ones.
Whether you want analytics capabilities or not will depend on your requirements. If you have a small business with a limited number of customers and customer data, then you can most likely simply analyze it yourself.
But for large businesses with tons of customers, it makes sense to invest in a top-notch analytical CRM software solution.
What is the process for comparing different options?
Check the kind of analytics provided by each platform and how they report it. Platforms that provide easy-to-understand, visual reports are better.
Also, keep in mind that not all platforms will provide the same level of analytics, even if they claim to be analytical CRM platforms. So, be sure to compare the number and quality of metrics and reports available on each platform.
This is another advanced feature offered by premium tools.
Such CRM software can estimate future sales based on the data from your current sales pipeline.
How does this help?
With it, you can:
- Improve or change your marketing campaigns based on changing customer demand trends
- Focus more on products that are selling fast and maintain enough stock to meet the demand
Get a Demo or Free Trial
So now you’ve learned about the important features to consider when choosing a CRM solution and have compared different options.
What’s the next step?
You need to try out the shortlisted platforms and see which one best meets your needs.
Most CRM software will either provide a demo or a free trial to help you understand their features and interface. Always try a platform before investing in it to properly assess how well it will work for your business.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to the criteria for comparing your shortlisted options. There are three important aspects that you need to consider. Let’s discuss each in detail.
The first and most important criterion is the user interface and how easily you can use the platform.
One option may offer more features, but is complicated to use; another might provide all the necessary features that you need and be easy to use.
Which one would you choose?
We recommend the latter.
The reason is simple—you need to be able to actually use a platform to get the most out of it. Always try a platform to get a feel of how easy or difficult it is to use and to see if you find the user interface intuitive.
Ease of Implementation
Another aspect that you need to consider is how easy or complex it is to set up the platform within your business processes.
You’ll need to check what resources a company provides to help new customers with the implementation process. Be sure to also check what level of support they will provide to set things up and train your employees.
Salesforce, for example, provides tons of useful information and guides to help with the initial setup. You will find everything you need there to start using the CRM platform with ease.
Image via Salesforce
Integrations with Existing Systems
Last but not least, you should check the number and type of interactions offered by your shortlisted platforms.
A CRM software solution should be able to integrate seamlessly with the other software and applications you use within your organization.
Make the Final Choice
Once you have compared the CRM software on their features and ease of use, you should have a clear winner. If not, you might have to choose between 1-2 options.
So, what is the criterion for making the final decision?
If you have two tools that are similar in most aspects, it will likely come down to the cost and customer support.
The CRM software solution that you pick should comfortably fit within your budget and also provide the functionalities you need.
When comparing plans, always make sure that you’re doing a like for like comparison by comparing the key features provided within the plan. Some tools may charge a little more, but they might offer a lot more features as well.
So do a thorough comparison, then take your pick.
Price, of course, is the obvious factor that most people consider when choosing between two similar options. However, you should also think the level of customer support a company provides.
What is the process for finding that out?
First, check their website and see what kind of online support resources are available. If there are tons of resources in the form of tutorials, guides, etc., then that’s a great sign.
Next, find out how you can reach their customer support team. Some will only provide only telephonic support, while others may be available through multiple channels.
Finally, read online reviews of the CRM platform that you’re interested in and see what people have said about their customer service. CRM software solutions that have more happy customers tend to be better than those with lots of negative reviews.
Compare the shortlisted options on these final two parameters and then make the final choice.
How to Set Up a CRM System
So, you’ve decided which CRM platform best suits your requirements. Now, the next step is to set up your CRM system and start using it.
Here’s a six-step process to do that.
Let’s discuss each step in detail to understand exactly how to set up your CRM system for business success.
Map the Customer Journey
Before you even start setting up your CRM, you need to understand and map your customers’ journey through your sales funnel.
Though the stages of a buyer’s journey remain the same for most businesses, it’s what happens at each stage that differs.
What are the customer touchpoints at each stage of their journey? Which forms of marketing communications do you use at different stages?
Here’s an example of a customer journey map:
Image via invesp
What is the purpose of doing this?
It helps you understand what you need your CRM to do so that you can set it up accordingly. Find out the exact tasks that you need your CRM to perform at various stages of a buyer’s journey.
Then, move to the next step.
Define the Sales Process
Where do most of your leads come from? Which pages drive the most conversions? At what point are leads handed over by the marketing team to the sales team?
Ask yourself these questions to understand your sales process and exactly how it works.
Well, you can only set up your CRM to help your sales and marketing teams if you understand your sales process end-to-end.
For example, let’s say that most of your leads come from your website. You can set up your CRM to track the leads from your website, what actions they take on your site, and how they convert.
After all, the core job of a CRM software solution is to capture customer data. You just need to tell it which data points are the most important for you.
Set Up Custom Fields, Stages, and Pipelines
Until now, you’ve simply understood your processes. This is the actual stage where the information gathered in the first two steps will be used to set up your CRM.
At this stage, you need to set up custom fields for your CRM.
Custom fields are the different data points that store information about each customer. Some commonly used custom fields are:
- Email address
- Date of birth/age
- Phone number
- Date of first purchase/subscription
- Job title
These fields are used to capture information about your customers, so you can choose to add whichever fields are relevant to your business.
Next, you need to set up the various stages of your sales process in the CRM.
The generic stages of a typical sales process range from awareness to conversion. However, you should make these as specific to your business as possible.
For example, if your business deals with direct sales, your stages could be:
- Cold call/initial outreach
- First meeting/product demonstration
- Sending proposal/quote
- Contract review
- Deal validation
Next, organize the various stages of your sales process into pipelines. Once the objective of a stage is fulfilled, leads can move to the next stage in the pipeline.
One word of caution:
Don’t make your pipelines too complex just for the sake of adding as many stages as possible. Keep things simple in order to set up your CRM for business success.
Upload Your Customer Data to the CRM
Now comes the most important part—adding your customer data to your CRM platform.
The previous three steps prepared you for this data migration so that your data becomes useful after you migrate it to the platform.
So, what’s the process for migrating your customer data?
The most common way to do this is to import all your customer data into a .csv file and upload that to the CRM platform. It enables you to import segmented customer lists and tags as well, making the process easy and efficient.
Some CRM platforms also offer the service to handle data migration, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Once this is done, you need to add customers to the right pipelines to put your CRM to use.
Pro Tip: Use the learning resources provided by the CRM vendor to properly migrate your customer data and add it to pipelines.
Integrate with Other Tools
Now that you have added customer data and set up custom fields and pipelines, you just need to integrate it with other tools before you can start using your CRM platform.
Which apps and tools should you integrate with?
Here are some types of integrations you should consider:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Web analytics
- Appointments and scheduling
- Forms and signups
- Online shopping
When all the systems that you use are integrated with your CRM, it makes the process much more efficient and streamlined.
That’s not all!
Integrations allow your CRM to capture customer data from various sources. So, the information from all your tools and platforms will feed directly into your CRM to provide a holistic view of each customer.
There are three types of integrations that you need to do. Let’s look at each one of them.
1. Direct Integrations
These are the integrations provided directly by the CRM vendors that can be done from the platform itself.
2. Third-Party Integrations
These are done using a third-party or middleman to connect your CRM with another tool. Such connections would not be possible without a middleman.
3. API Integrations
When you use the platform’s code to make custom connections, those are called API integrations. For this, you need to check to see if your CRM vendor provides API access or not.
Add Users and Set Permissions
Once you have set up your CRM and integrated it with other tools, you are ready to start using it.
Simply add users to your CRM system and give them access to the relevant information. You can set up permissions to allow only the relevant users access to certain information.
This should be done based on a user’s role and what information they would need to perform their job well.
You’re all set to start using your new CRM. But before you do that, you should learn some of the most important best practices for using a CRM solution.
Have a look in the next section.
Best Practices for Using a CRM Solution Properly
At this stage, you should be ready to start using your CRM platform. You will, with time, make a few mistakes and learn from them.
However, you could also learn the best practices for using a CRM solution the right way and avoid any mistakes to begin with!
What are these best practices?
Let’s find out.
Train Your Employees to Use the CRM
You simply cannot take on a big undertaking like implementing a CRM system without training your employees on how to use it. This doesn’t refer to a last-minute crash course on how to use the platform, but rather a comprehensive training program.
Ideally, you should start preparing your employees for the upcoming changes to their day-to-day operations in advance.
A complex CRM system can help manage your entire marketing and sales pipeline. But if you don’t train your employees well, it will just end up being an expensive data storage or filing system.
Avoid that trap! Train your employees well to get the most out of your new CRM platform.
Keep Your Access Rules Simple
First, it’s important to set some user permissions for your CRM system as not everyone should have access to that sensitive data. So, you need to assess who needs access to what level of customer data to do their jobs well and then set those access rules accordingly.
This, however, does not mean that you take this segmentation on such a granular level that you are setting different rules for different individuals. The more complex your access rules, the more difficult it will be to track if you have any problems.
So, what should you do?
Set a few levels of access and then segment your employees into those limited categories. This should serve your purpose while keeping things simple.
Organize Your Data Within the CRM
There are two components to this—keeping things organized and tracking any new changes.
If you have set up your CRM system well, then your data will be properly organized within the system.
But remember: you need to ensure that you’re able to track any changes made in your system by setting up notifications and alerts.
Get Feedback From Your CRM Users
Once your teams start using the CRM system, ask them for feedback. After all, the actual users will have the deepest insights into what is working and what can be improved.
Take regular feedback from your CRM users to keep improving and optimizing your CRM system further. Make a special note of process improvements that they recommend as that can be very beneficial for your business.
Automate Where Possible
If your CRM system has the capability to automate certain tasks, then use it.
Sales and marketing automation helps save time and makes processes more efficient. If you can automate your routine and repetitive tasks, then it will free up your employees’ time to focus on more nuanced work.
The chances of human error are often high in tedious tasks like data entry. Automation can not only help you get things done faster but also more accurately.
1. What is CRM and how does it work?
CRM stands for customer relationship management and can be used to refer to both the process and the platforms used for it. More often than not, CRM refers to the software used for managing customer relationships.
Here’s how CRM works:
- CRM collects customer information and data from various sources within an organization
- It collates this data to create detailed customer profiles or personas
- Then, it analyzes this data to provide valuable customer insights that can be used for strategic business decisions
Using a CRM, you can access detailed information about any customer or do a bulk analysis to score leads, streamline the sales process, and more.
2. What are the 3 types of CRM?
The three types of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms are:
- Collaborative CRM: Aimed at providing a single source of information to all teams for better collaboration.
- Operations CRM: Focusses on improving operations and sales processes by automating tasks
- Analytical CRM: Provides in-depth customer insights to fuel strategic business decisions.
Choose the right type of CRM based on your business requirements instead of thinking that a high price signifies a better fit.
3. What is a CRM system example?
Salesforce is a good example of a CRM system. It is used for managing customer data and to improve customer relationships and experience.
There are many good CRM platforms available in the market. However, no one platform can be the best option for every business.
So, identify your requirements first and then choose the best solution that meets those requirements.
4. What type of software is CRM?
It is a kind of data tracking and management software used for managing customer data. CRM is one of the most important parts of any business as it integrates with other systems to collect and analyze customer data for any business.
5. Why is CRM needed?
A customer relationship management platform allows businesses to manage their customer data and use it to their advantage.
Many businesses have tons of customer data stored in silos but unused to drive strategic business decisions. A CRM solution allows such businesses to organize and analyze this data to gain valuable insights from it.
6. What is the advantage of CRM?
Here are the key benefits of CRM:
- Enhances customer experience
- Improves customer retention
- Enables targeted marketing
- Helps with lead scoring
- Streamlines the sales process
- Optimizes productivity and efficiency
Using a CRM solution to manage your customer data can be the difference between success and failure for your business. So, identify your requirements and choose a CRM solution that helps you deliver a better customer experience.
7. What is the process for CRM software selection?
Here is the step-by-step process for choosing the right CRM tools for your business:
- Identify your business requirements: Which type of CRM do you need, and which features will help your teams perform better?
- Compare different options: Compare the features offered by different platforms and shortlist the ones that best match your requirements.
- Try them out: Get a free trial or demo for your shortlisted options and compare them on their ease of use and user interface.
- Make the final choice based on considerations like price and the quality of customer support offered by different vendors.
8. What are the important features of CRM software?
Here are some of the key features of CRM software that you can use to compare different options:
- Contact Management – Capturing, organizing, and using the customer contact information to help aid business processes.
- Interaction Tracking: Tracking customer interactions with a business and maintaining a profile of each customer and their histories.
- Lead Management: Aiding lead generation, nurturing, scoring, and conversion processes for a business.
- Document Management: Storing and organizing all important documents for specific teams and making it easy for relevant users to access these.
- Proposal Management: Optimizing the process for sending proposals and tracking the status of different clients and proposals.
- Email Integration: Integrating with email marketing platforms to send automated emails and responses to customers.
- Pipeline Management: Managing and optimizing the entire sales pipeline end-to-end, from lead generation to conversion.
- Workflow Automation: Automating routine tasks to create efficient workflows.
- Real-Time Data: Tracking customer interactions with a business in real-time and providing updated data to drive business decisions.
- Analytics & Reporting: Analyzing customer data to provide valuable insights in the form of easy-to-understand reports.
- Sales Forecasting: Predicting future sales based on the current pipeline and customer data.
9. What is the difference between CRM and ERP?
While both systems work in a similar way—collecting and organizing customer data—the key difference between the two is the end-users. ERP is mainly used by the financial department while CRM is used by the marketing, sales, and customer service teams.
ERP deals with customers’ financial data, while CRM integrates all customer data to provide a more holistic view.
10. What is the best CRM platform?
There is no one platform that can suit every business’ unique requirements. So, you need to find that answer for your business by comparing the different options available.
Some of the most popular platforms, however, are Salesforce, Keap, HubSpot CRM, and Zoho CRM.
Hopefully by now you’ve got your answers to the important questions about CRM like:
- What is CRM?
- Why should you invest in it?
- How can you best use it for your business?
- And more!
Now, it’s time to do the hard work of finding the best CRM platform for your business using the selection guide mentioned above. First, identify your requirements, and then compare the most suitable platforms to find the one that best fits your needs.
Be sure to follow the best practices for implementing and using a CRM platform to get the most benefits from it. All the best!