As the owner of a small business, you’ve probably heard this term ‘Customer Relationship Management’ thrown about in your work space or in your professional interactions. You also probably implement some form of CRM either in an elementary way and just didn’t know you were using it. In this article, we’ll take a look at what CRM is, the importance of it and some tools you can use to help you with this process.
What is Customer Relationship Management?
Loosely put, Customer Relationship Management is term that refers to the practice of analysing customer interactions and the customer lifecycle through processes and strategies.
The aim of such practices is to understand and predict customer behaviour so as to retain customers, improve relations with them by meeting their needs and ultimately improve business.
Importance of CRM
- Foresee customers needs effectively & increase business: A CRM system gives you a historical view of your customer’s “customer lifecycle” and helps you foresee his needs and use this prediction to retain him as a customer as well as acquire new customers
- Track customer and his profitability to the company: An effective CRM process can give you data to help you track the profitability of your customers. This way, you will be able to identify which customer can be profitable and perhaps focus on improving relations with him with special offers, custom made deals, etc.
- Focus on each customer separately: Because of the data a CRM provides on each customer, you can group customers into types of businesses, location, total receipts and other metrics and assign Account Managers to help meet the needs of customers individually and provide tailor-made services and custom advice.
- Acquire new ones: An effective CRM system allows you to retain existing customers as well as acquire new ones by the process of identifying potential customers, their details maintaining it on the ‘Opportunity for business’ stream. A call from the sales team could then close the deal.
- Cost effective: CRMs are very cost effective. Also, there is very little paperwork required and does not require a large team to manage it.
- Increase customer satisfaction: Since CRMs provide an overview of a customer’s needs and distresses, it’s relatively easier to identify his pain points and work to provide a quick solution for him and thereby increase customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction in turn increases loyalty and as a consequence, business overall.
There are a bunch of CRM tools that can be of much help for your communication and customer analysis. Here are a few that are the best in class (in no particular order)
- Insightly: Great for larger organisations looking for more functionality. The reporting provides in depth insight – the tools generates reports by users, organisations, stage, category, pipeline and more. The tool even tracks if a recipient has opened an email – fantastic for analysing email marketing results and targeting.
- Zoho: Zoho is a popular operating system for businesses, offering everything a business might need to boost sales, productivity and manage tasks. Additionally, the CRM tool they offer is fitting for small and medium businesses. The cost of the CRM tool fits well with the budget of an SMB. It’s a good choice for companies especially that already use Zoho tools like Zoho books etc. Zoho CRM tool also integrates well with G Suite by Google Cloud and makes it an obvious choice if you’re already using G Suite for email and calendering.
- Salesforce: Arguably the best CRM tool in the market, Salesforce stays above its competition with instant alerts, best practices recommendation pop-ups, drag-and-drop functionalities along with its analytics intelligence. Salesforce also offers customization and advanced features if you require it. Salesforce CRM integrates well with Google’s G Suite and Microsoft Exchange.
- Infusionsoft: Infusionsoft’s CRM solution is apt for small businesses with less than 30 employees. Although Infusion is not the cheapest tool in the market and neither gives an indepth insight, it is an effective and easy-to-use automated sales and email marketing software.
Things to be mindful of while using a CRM
A CRM is a great tool and much needed for most industries however, if not used correctly, you might not get the desired results.
Committed team: To effectively implement a CRM tool, it will require a dedicated team who can analyse data on a regular basis and identify pain points of customers and aim to resolve customer issues and maintain a good rapport.
Communication: Poor communication between the team who analyses the data and the team who implements the solution can hamper customer relations, buy-in and eventually revenue. Teams need to work in sync with each other while using a CRM.
Effective leadership: Leaders need to lead by example. If a proposed plan of action is not working with a customer, drop it and work to come up with another plausible plan. Weak leadership could be problematic when implementing a CRM plan.
What you learn about your customer’s behaviour could help you build strong relationships with them. The better the relationship with your customers, the more successful your business will be. Going by this belief, a CRM tool could be your company’s most valuable asset!
Leave us a comment & let us know what CRM you use and how it has helped your business grow.