3 Business Guidelines to Master Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management or CRM refers to the practices, strategies and technologies that businesses utilize manage and analyze their customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal of this customer relationship management is to improve the overall business relationships with customers, assist in customer retention, identify new leads and sales and to drive sales growth for the company.
The systems and software behind customer relationship management systems are designed to compile information on customers across different channels or contact points between the customer and the business. This could include the organization’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. These systems help the companies by providing detailed information on customers and their purchase history, buying preferences and specific needs or concerns.
1. What is CRM and how does it help sales?
Customer relationship management helps companies to manage the data and information about their on-going relationship with customers, improve those relationships and identify new opportunities for future sales and additional relationships. These CRM systems allow a business to store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads and sales opportunities in one central location, where it can be accessible by the whole sales team if an organization. Unlike social media approaches, CRM focuses on real people making real relationships in the real world. That is good for sales because people buy things in reality and not just by looking at a picture of it on Instagram or Facebook.
The CRM process helps companies manage the myriad of connections and to share sales information with various teams across the organization who are making contact with the same customers. It is like a sales nerve centre that helps those teams to collaborate and close the deal when an opportunity arises. It is ideal for small businesses that are trying to build and grow their sales because it gives them a systematic way to manage all of the information that is coming in all at once. But it is just as useful for established businesses who want to improve customer service and satisfaction and take advantage of the valuable insights and information that comes from a well-designed CRM system.
2. How does the CRM software work?
The software behind a customer relationship management system helps to consolidate all customer information and documents into a single CRM database. This allows the business and team members to more easily access and manage it. It will record customer interactions over all media and channels and automate workflow processes like tasks, calendars and alerts. This gives the company managers the ability to track performance and productivity based on information logged within the system.
Within the software itself will be mechanisms to automate some of the repetitive tasks involved in marketing like automatically sending sales prospects marketing materials by email or social media, with the goal of turning leads into buying customers. There is also a function for sales force management that tracks all contact and follow-ups between sales reps and customers and leads and contact center automation that is designed to assist contact center agents help resolve customer requests and problems.
There is often a geolocation technology, or location-based service built into the CRM system that creates specific geographical campaigns based on where the leads or customers live and is based on tracking apps like GPS and other location-based applications.
3. Onsite or in the clouds?
Companies offering CRM software and support can usually provide these services within a company’s operations or via a cloud-based application. The onsite option is more secure, but it puts all the responsibility of administration, control, security and maintenance of the database and information on the host company.
The cloud-based services can be stored anywhere and the provider looks after all of the back-end details. This makes it much cheaper to operate and maintain, but data security is a concern since all of their sensitive sales data and information is not completely within their control.