What to look for in a CRM?

  • What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
  • What are the benefits of CRM?
  • Key features of a CRM
  • 3 types of CRM software
  • What to look for in a CRM?

What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategic approach and set of processes designed to manage and improve relationships. As described by Salesforce, a CRM is commonly known as 3 things:

Technology: CRM software used predominantly by Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams to record, track, and analyze interactions between their organization, prospects, and customers.
Strategy: CRM is ultimately a strategy to follow the lifecycle of business relationships, improve customer experiences and increase revenue.
Process: CRM is a business process used to record, analyze and optimize all interactions with clients and potential clients outside your company.

At its core, CRM focuses on building and maintaining long-term relationships with customers by identifying their needs, preferences, and behaviors. Leveraging CRM tools and strategies, allows businesses to effectively manage interactions across various touchpoints, including sales, marketing, and customer service.

What are the benefits of CRM? ✅

If your company engages in sales or service interactions with customers, it is highly likely that you can benefit from implementing a CRM system. Here are some key benefits that span across various departments:

  • Improved customer relationships: CRM allows businesses to understand and cater to individual customer needs, leading to more personalized experiences, increased customer satisfaction, and loyalty.
  • Enhanced sales performance: CRM streamlines sales processes, improves lead management, and provides sales teams with valuable insights. This leads to improved sales productivity, better pipeline management, and increased revenue.
  • Targeted marketing campaigns: CRM enables businesses to segment customers, deliver targeted messages, and track campaign effectiveness. This results in more relevant and effective marketing campaigns, higher conversion rates, and improved returns on investment.
  • Efficient customer service: Thanks to centralized customer information, Customer service teams are able to streamline support processes, reduce response times and improve issue resolution. They are able to spot emerging patterns and alert high level issues.
  • Data-driven decision-making: CRM systems provide valuable analytics and reporting, allowing businesses to make informed decisions based on customer data. It helps multiple teams identify trends, new business opportunities and optimize strategies.

What are key features of a CRM? 🔧

CRM software will vary depending on the specific CRM solution and integrations you choose to implement, but you can expect your CRM to contain the following key features:

  • Customer data management: A central database stores prospect and customer data including contact information, communication logs, preferences, feedback, and purchase history. This centralized data gives businesses a comprehensive view of each customer and their interactions.
  • Lead management: Manage sales pipeline using automated sales processes and features such as lead scoring, opportunity tracking, and sales forecasting. Sales are able to prioritize leads, streamline activities, and close deals more effectively.
  • Sales Pipeline management: Manage the Sales pipeline with a visualization of prospects and where they are in the sales process. Companies also use pipelines to monitor the progress of sales reps and quotas.
  • Marketing automation: Marketing teams are able to improve segmentation (e.g., demographic, behaviors, etc.), deliver more personalized messaging and effective lead nurturing. A CRM can be an all one marketing tool that optimizes campaign building and tracking to achieve higher customer acquisition and retention rates.
  • Forecasting: Gain insights into customer behavior, trends, and performance metrics. Analyzing historical data allows teams to identify patterns, trends, and seasonality in customer behavior. With the sales pipeline, teams can also forecast potential revenue and predict the likelihood of closing deals within a specific timeframe.
  • Integration capabilities: CRMs are highly customizable and can integration with various business applications, including marketing tools or ERP systems. On the Salesforce Appexchange for example, there are over 4,000 apps and add-ons to choose from.
  • Customer support: Manage customer support requests and track the status of tickets.

3 types of CRM software 💻

There are 3 main types of CRM software that help address different business needs. While all CRMs share the same basic features, operational, analytical and collaborative CRMs offer specific sets of functionalities.

  • Operational CRM: An operational CRM supports Sales, Marketing, and Customer service teams to provide a complete view of the customer journey and tackles day to day operations. 
  • Analytical CRM: An analytical CRM helps companies analyze their customer data to identifies patterns and make better business decisions. This involves data mining, and predictive analytics to interpret customer behavior trends. Analytical CRM is used to build and improve strategies. 
  • Collaborative CRM: A collaborative CRM helps facilitate collaboration between internal teams and departments but also external customers and partners. These groups are able to share information, customer databases, customer interactions and more for collaboration. 

What to look for in a CRM?

CRM software will help you build, track, and nurture relationships by leveraging various features and the valuable data you collect. With CRM, your teams can gain a deeper understanding of their customers, enhance sales and marketing strategies, improve customer service, and drive business growth thanks to forecasting. It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all CRM solution, as the choice depends on the unique needs and complexities of your company. When selecting a CRM, consider essential factors such as user-friendliness, scalability, integration capabilities, customization options, robust reporting and analytics features, mobile accessibility, and reliable customer support.

Tags: CRM

Sarah C

Sarah oversees all things inbound marketing, exploring the many business uses and topics surrounding digital adoption. Her previous experiences include B2C and product marketing in the social listening space, uncovering emerging industry trends.