What is a CRM? CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. In terms of Software, CRM is a system, either cloud-based or on-premise, that improves customer relationships by assisting in customer acquisition and retention, providing significant sales growth. A CRM system is an application designed to help an organization optimize interactions with customers, suppliers, prospects, and employees via one or more touchpoints. Activity, such as calls, emails, text messages, web interactions, are tracked inside CRM via your sales consultants, managers and support representatives., as well as partners such as suppliers, distributors, branch offices in an effort to attain a 365-degree view of your customers and win more business.

CRMs are collaborative; the gathering of data through all phases of the customer relationship (marketing, sales, and service) that provides a complete picture, allowing business owners/managers to make informed decisions. Robust CRM Reporting and Dashboard capabilities assist managers in this process. CRMs can also give your customer-facing staff detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, and buying preferences. It provides a goldmine of data points of your customer under one roof and in one system.

A CRM is a powerful tool and a one-stop answer for your sales team. CRM enables your company to scale. CRM provides your sales team uniform structure allowing them to manage more volume in terms of leads and sales opportunities, which leads to a spike in sales productivity, hot prospects, and better coordination between different groups and teams. Providing your organization, a CRM that is the single source of truth better equips your sales team to close more deals. CRM can be the difference between winning a deal and losing one.

Research has shown that companies that create satisfied, loyal customers have more repeat business, lower customer-acquisition costs, and stronger brand value, all of which translates into better financial performance. Consider Retention vs. Acquisition, the average U.S. company loses 20% of its customers each year and not knowing why and it costs six to seven times more to attain a new customer than to retain a current customer.

CRM systems, such as Salesforce, have a proven track record for your business growth that combines practices, strategies, and technologies to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout your customer’s lifecycle. A CRM system can increase customer service levels, improve efficiency, cross-sell more effectively, help your sales team close deals quickly, and simplify your marketing processes. It can drive product development and help find new customers. All-in-all it will increase your sales with your Return on Investment (ROI).

CRM systems are increasingly becoming unified data platforms within organizations. Since they already contain updated Customer information, it is only logical to also have them residence in all other relevant data that involves a customer, including Quotes, Orders, Invoices, Shipments, Payments, Receipts, Support Cases, Product Returns, etc. This gives your team members a 360-degree view of your customer interactions with your organization and creating internal synergies. For example, Salespeople are now aware of open support cases a customer may have with the organization which could hamper future sales. Marketing can send targeted content to customers based on their previous order history. Support representatives can prioritize issues for customers based on their order history and account value. These are some examples of how various teams within an organization can work efficiently together due to the easy availability of CRM customer information.

With a CRM acting as repositories for your company, it will keep information on your customers, allowing your sales teams to keep track of prospects, and tools for recognizing critical information about their customers. At the most basic level, CRM software consolidates your customer information and documents into a single database so your users can more easily access and manage it.

When selecting a CRM, know what features you need and want but it is also critical to consider how it will be used by your team. Don’t over-design a product that won’t be used to its fullest.

Also, be careful about selecting a CRM. Don’t select a CRM if it is cheaper and if it doesn’t provide you with everything you may need. For example, if you try to save on a CRM system but then have to invest in a marketing automation platform or a program for social media integration, you now have purchased two or more systems, which can be costly, especially if you have to integrate them. A CRM that may cost a bit more but has everything you need including email marketing, leads, and marketing automation is something you should consider.

Last but not least, make sure there is plenty of support and training available. Regardless of how “easy” a CRM seems to be, you will need help getting it set up. That is just the nature of CRM as a technology.

Think about the strategy and goal that you want to pursue with this tool. Efficiency is the key to buying a CRM because you are not only investing in a tool itself but in a better version of your business. This has to be done well. Bottom line, you want a system that increases revenue. A system that is designed to compile information across different channels or points of contact between you and your customer. You want a CRM that will help build your business by enabling your sales team and empowering your services team to build long-lasting relationships together with your customers.

Now, with many employees at home, both small and medium-sized businesses should strongly consider adopting a CRM system. Salesforce, for example, is cloud-based, so your team can access this CRM system anywhere and can easily be set-up for almost immediate use. They can store all of a company’s relevant information, including contact details, contract information, and sales data, in one place for easy access. For companies that need to manage customer and employee relationships during this crisis, CRMs are essential.

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