What is CRM software and how can it help you market for growth?
There are plenty of acronyms in the world of IT, but one every growing business should be familiar with is a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. In layman’s terms, a CRM is a technology that is designed to help you manage your company’s relationships and interactions with both new and potential customers, all with a singular goal in mind: gaining and retaining new business. CRM systems work to help businesses stay connected with new and potential customers, streamline sales and communication processes, and ultimately, increase profitability.
Why are CRMs important?
One of the most critical assets to any business is customers. Without them, you wouldn’t be in business at all, and without attracting and retaining more customers, your business cannot grow. In a digital world where marketing tactics are becoming increasingly consumer-driven, it’s essential for businesses to have as much information on their target audience as possible.
In the past, information about customers was largely gathered and held internally, with various touchpoints within an organization housing different pieces of information on customers – who they are, what they buy, how much they spend, what they owe, how they connect and communicate with the company, and so on. As a company grows, keeping track of splintered information on customers through internal systems is not only inefficient, it’s highly fallible.
A CRM is a centralized way to organize and keep track of all your customers’ information, as well as their needs, wants, and any potential complaints, allowing anyone within your organization to access that data at a moment’s notice. A CRM makes it possible for businesses to pick up with customers exactly where they left off, which in turn makes your company more proactive and better able to build strong and lasting customer relationships.
What Exactly Can A CRM Do?
CRMs perform many important customer-related functions, including:
- Helping source new customers
- Store existing and potential customer information
- Identify sales opportunities
- Store customer social media activity (likes, dislikes, shares, comments)
- Manage marketing campaigns
Marketing personnel can use CRM technology to develop a clear understanding of every potential sales opportunity or new lead, and create campaigns that take advantage of current trends. What’s more, a CRM also allows you to pinpoint certain segments of your customer base for special offers, and can essentially paint a big picture of your audience’s interaction with your business across all forms of media.
No matter where the first point of interaction happens, be it Twitter, Facebook or any other social platform, a CRM will keep track of these points of contact as they evolve, moving from social media to email communication and person-to-person conversations over the phone. It’s all there, recorded and saved, creating a database of information that allows you to stay current with customers, treat each customer as an individual, and design marketing and sales campaigns that cater to certain individuals or groups.
What Types of Businesses Benefit from CRM Technology?
CRM technology is something almost every business in a growth phase will benefit from. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C business, if you want to create and maintain better relationships with your clients or customers, CRM technology can be a highly useful tool. A good way to decide whether your business is ready to employ CRM technology is by answering the following questions:
- Does the information you have on your clients or customers live in a variety of different places within your organization (i.e. some in accounts, some in customer service, some in receivables, etc.)? If your customer data is splintered, making communication with customers cumbersome for your staff, a CRM can help.
- Is it difficult to track and understand sales productivity within your organization? Is there a structured sales process in place? If you can’t nail down how productive and successful sales efforts are within your business, a CRM can provide clear data in the regard.
- Do your customers interact with multiple agents or different departments when communicating with you? If so, how do all those points of contact keep track of what they’ve been told and what individual customers’ needs are? A CRM keeps all customer information in a centralized location that’s accessible to anyone in your organization at any time.
When customer data is easily accessible, it paves the way for increased productivity and sales. A CRM allows businesses to gather up-to-date, reliable information on sales, customer service, marketing, and social media interaction, and translates it into usable data that improves customer relationships and promotes managed growth.
CRM Equates to Business Growth
A 2014 report by Gartner states that spending on worldwide Customer Relationship Management services grew 17% in one year. Gartner further predicts that CRMs will be the single largest revenue area of spending in enterprise software by 2021. Why? Because CRM technology is becoming increasingly important to businesses as customers do more and more of their communication, research and purchasing online.
Joanne Correia, research Vice President at Gartner, has this to say about CRM technology: "CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years. This is one technology area that will get funding because digital business is critical for companies to remain competitive."
In other words, without a CRM, your business will fumble with important customer information, and your sales and marketing staff will spend a great amount of time trying to decipher who said what to which customer at what time, whenever new conversations need to be had or sales pitches are going to be made. Keeping on top of the most recent and accurate customer information is paramount in today’s business environment, and without a CRM, it’s virtually impossible to do it effectively.
Find the Right Provider
There are plenty of companies that provide CRM services, and you’ll want to choose one that understands the type of business you’re in and who can work with you on helping you achieve your business goals.
Systems like HubSpot CRM solve the challenges that growing businesses face by effectively gathering and saving pertinent customer data, such as contact information, preferences, and past purchases, and translate that data into potential marketing and sales initiatives. A CRM keeps track of every customer interaction, no matter what method or platform it may occur on – be it over email, telephone, or social media. As customers become more selective in terms of who they choose to give their business to, it becomes increasingly important that businesses do all they can to create and maintain a sense of having one-on-one relationships with their customers. A CRM makes that possible.
Modern CRM solutions allow sales and marketing teams to form a cohesive unit that’s completely on the same page when it comes to customer information and interaction. CRMs keep everyone on your team in sync, enabling you to save the hassle and downtime of sales and marketing trying to coordinate their strategies
TWT can help you implement the right CRM technology to help your business grow by presenting clear directives for new marketing initiatives through solid, thorough and accurate customer data. To learn more about how CRM technology can benefit your business, get in contact with us. Let’s grow your business together.
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