There are many apps and systems that you may have seen mentioned in articles and blogposts about your business and how to improve it. They look like alphabet soup if you don’t know what the letters mean.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it’s helpful in managing your relationships with prospective and current customers. In some ways, your address book and email system do this already. Your email will link related messages in one thread, and allows you to locate all messages from each contact. And your address book holds a lot of information about your customers.
But a real CRM does much more than that, since it deals with customer relationships. Most CRMs help you string together your contacts and their relationship to you. This includes:
- Messages from one person
- The team you have worked with at a company
- Your team members who work with someone on a client’s team
These will help you to see the relationship, the big picture. Then you’ll know what to speak with the client company about the next time you are emailing or calling, because you’ll know what your team members have already discussed with them.
If you wanted to go low-tech – not that anyone does anymore – you could create a CRM for companies and their team members you work with. But it would take forever to accumulate and update manually, and using CRM software is much more effective.
CRM is all about investing system time in the current customer base of your company, so that you can retain them and increase the money they spend on your products or services. CRM systems automate this task by keeping records of your company’s communications with each customer.
You’ll know when and what they have purchased, and then set times to contact them again, when you think they may be purchasing more or looking at new products or services.
Why is CRM so Important for Businesses?
If you want your business to last, you need a strong strategy looking forward. You will already have targets that relate to profitability, sales and business objectives. Collecting reliable, current information on your progress may be tricky. You need to translate the streams of incoming data from social media, marketers, customer service staff and sales teams into information your business can use.
When you use a proper CRM system, it will give you a better view of your company’s customers. You’ll be able to see everything in just one place. This means that the customizable, simple dashboard can tell you about your customers’ previous dealings with you, the current status of all their orders, outstanding issues in customer service, and much more.
You can also choose to include some information from their social media activity -what they like and what they dislike, and what they may be saying or sharing about your company. You can use this information from CRM systems to understand current and future customers, which makes it easier and more accurate to forecast your future. You’ll have a better view of each lead or opportunity, which will show you the path to take to make inquiries into sales.
Although CRM was traditionally used only for marketing and sales, it can help your customer service personnel, too. A customer today may raise a problem on Facebook, for example, and you can contact them to resolve it. CRM platforms allow you to manage their inquiry across different communication channels without losing any information.