Monday, 11 June 2018 16:22

What is CRM?

You need a strategy to run your business if you want your company to survive in the market. However, in order to implement the strategy effectively, tools are necessary to help stick to the plan. These tools include CRM systems. CRMs have been accompanying businesses since the 80’s of the last century, but they became more popular in the 90's. Interestingly, at the beginning they only had to organize information about customers, it was simply a digitized version of a business card case. Over time, they have evolved into the form we know today - systems for comprehensive customer relationship management. Find out exactly what CRM is and how you can use it in your organization.

 

What is CRM?

The CRM system is a tool for broadly understood Customer Relationship Management and all information about customers. In practice, this means that you can:

  • organize the information you collected about a customer,
  • draw conclusions from the information gathered,
  • prepare plans for subsequent actions,
  • monitor the effects your actions.

By collecting information in one place, you can keep abreast of what is happening with your customer, lead, etc. In the system, you can carry out activities related to both your current customer and the company that is just a sales opportunity.

crm screen yetiforce1

What does CRM do?

When you start a new business, it may seem that a system ordering customer data isn’t necessary.

“Why do I need a CRM system if I have only 3 customers and a few leads?”.

As long as you have several contacts, information about them doesn’t have to be systematized. However, if your database of leads increases with time, it may turn out that the methods of "unread emails" or sticky notes on the desk will be no longer effective. In this situation, you need a CRM system where you will collect all leads and customers in a single place. It won’t let you forget about any sales opportunity and you will have all necessary information about the company at hand whenever you need it. The system will also remind you to call a customer or send an email to make sure that you contact him or her at the appropriate time.

Once you find out what your customer's expectations are, you will be able to add calculations to the system, prepare offers and then carry out orders. When you view a customer’s profile, you will find all the information gathered about him or her - from the moment you added a record to the moment you will complete an order.

You have already closed all your leads, your customers are satisfied with the completed projects, so you start thinking about getting new orders. Here, CRM can also help you. You can create campaigns where you assign specific tasks to gain new leads. This allows you to organize your work and maintain control over every step.

CRM systems offer many more advantages, but it's hard to list them all. Most system producers, especially these of open source systems, allow their development - adding new modules and functions. As a result, CRMs offer unlimited possibilities and they adjust to you, not the other way round.

What does NOT CRM do?

It was mentioned above that a CRM system may have unlimited possibilities, however, it should be remembered that it is only a system (yet, it might be powerful). Data that you already have about customers must be added there. The information should be properly classified - customers segmented and distinguished from leads. The system won’t do it on its own. Conventional CRMs aren’t able to draw conclusions from analysis and make a decision. The results of the analysis are presented in a simple form, but it is the user’s responsibility to draw appropriate conclusions. However, the sole acquisition of a CRM system won’t result in a 40% increase in revenue within one year, or probably won’t influence a sales team to achieve 70% higher results. It’s necessary to provide training, maintain order and add additional information about customers on a regular basis - otherwise, neither a company nor customer base will develop at a satisfactory pace. CRM can be a mine of knowledge about your customers and the processes in the company, but you have to be able to use it appropriately and remember to add information on an ongoing basis. crm screen yetiforce2

How does a regular CRM system work?

Although all CRMs are slightly different, the essence of their operation is the same. All of them are used for similar purposes and only the details decide which system will be more or less effective in a given company. "A regular CRM system" is divided into modules, e.g. Leads, Contacts, Accounts. Some systems integrate with a Mailbox, others already have a built-in email client. Some functions allow to track a contact history, as long as it is updated on a regular basis.
Every module can be modified depending on the company's requirements. In the case of open source programs, you can do it on your own because the source code is available to everyone. If you don’t have the resources to tailor the program to your needs, CRM providers often offer support and customization services.
Data visualization is a very useful function, but unfortunately it isn’t present in all CRMs. It allows you to create charts which clearly present relations occurring in gathered information. Data visualization also helps to organize you the knowledge about your customers, products, leads, etc. It clearly illustrates the effectiveness of undertaken actions or customer behavior. All functionalities included in CRM systems are focused on adapting to the company’s needs and on optimizing sales and customer service processes. A study reveals (Agnihotri, Trainor 2017) that the use of CRM system in trade increased customer satisfaction from the sales process. Therefore, it’s worth investing in such software, because if it’s used properly, the entire company will benefit from it.

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