How can a CRM benefit my business?
Whether you’re looking to invest in a CRM system for the first time, you’re new to using your CRM software or you’re wondering if you’re getting the most out of your investment, it won’t harm to start at the beginning to ensure you’ll receive a ROI. Let’s begin with the basics…
What is a CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and is essentially a piece of software that does just that; it manages your customer relationships throughout their journey with your company. Whether that is existing customers or potential clients, the software is built to manage, profile and report on your customers throughout their entire sales journey in all areas of the business. A CRM system is designed to digitally store all the information you’ve ever sourced, filed or created about your customer contacts in one central place. This includes contact information, business research, financial records, orders, quotes and all communications (whether that be over the phone, on your website or via email).
What does a CRM look like?
A CRM system can be part of a bigger business software solution. For example,
a CRM can be a module within an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, which means you’ll be investing in much more than just a CRM. An ERP solution will manage your finances, stock, warehouse, company reporting and much more, integrating all aspects of your business.
CRM software can also be bought on its own but have the ability to integrate with other software solutions you may need in your business.
The solution that is right for your business depends entirely on your strategy and goals. It can often depend on the size of the company, the business type, industry and at what stage of your business lifecycle you’re currently at. For example, companies at the beginning of their lifecycle often begin with a smaller, compact CRM system and integrate with external software packages for finances and reporting, so that they have freedom to grow. It’s common for businesses to need a more structured and integrated system when they begin to expand and have the capital to invest in a complete ERP solution.
On the whole, a CRM system will benefit any type of business that has customers - and that covers just about everyone.
How would a CRM benefit my business?
Like any other business software, there isn’t just a one solution fits all. Ultimately it comes down to doing a bit of research to understand what company you want to partner with and what software has the features and functionality you need for your company.
To set an overview of how a CRM can help your business, here is a checklist with some key features that a good CRM should offer. “Help us do what?”, I hear you ask? A CRM can save you money, help you work more efficiently and increase sales. What more would you want!?
Save you money
Find that you, or your employees, are spending a lot of time doing tedious admin tasks? Or perhaps you rely on an outdated, hard to maintain filing system that makes accessing customer information a headache. Or maybe you rely on your colleagues storing customer data in their heads and when they’re on holiday or out of the office, you’re left in the dark not knowing vital information? A CRM system will remove all these issues, ensuring your customer information is stored in one central system that’s accessible to all who need it. It’ll take away the hours of manually collating documents, profiling data and searching for customer account information.
Work more efficiently
A good CRM system will provide you with the platform to collaborate with other areas of the business so employees can highlight sales opportunities, discuss recent customer visits or report on a current purchasing trend, for example. It allows all departments to work from the same accurate, live data to make daily processes easier. With complete visibility and control, you can understand your market, target your audience effectively and spend business hours working on sales instead of admin tasks.
The software can do a lot, but it doesn’t remove the need for talented sales reps! A CRM can allow you to profile customers, report on buying trends and target them with tailored marketing campaigns. It can also highlight leakage opportunities, areas for upsell and relevant promotions to increase spend. The system is designed to collate information and present opportunities, but it still needs your expert sales guy to use the reported trends and seal the deal.
What can’t a CRM do?
Even the best superheroes have weaknesses and whilst a CRM can seriously streamline your business, it requires some groundwork for ultimate success.
Create your business strategy
The software can help you achieve your goals and it can support your business to maintain your strategy, but it can’t create the best strategy for your business. It’s important that you identify your goals, create your strategy for how you want to get there and then implement or utilise a CRM to help you achieve your plans.
A CRM is a brilliant tool to help you monitor, analyse and make improvements to your strategy.
Change the existing business culture
Implementing a CRM, or any business software, often means a change in processes and for optimum performance, it can usually mean a shift in culture within the company. Perhaps this involves how the pipeline of sales is managed, or how you maintain customer retention or simply the way staff record their tasks and actions throughout the day.
A CRM can highlight the areas needed for improvement, but it won’t enforce the change on the users. Making the most of your software relies on management enforcing the changes and staff getting on board. Often easier said than done!
Understand your target audience
This is actually one of the things a CRM system does extremely well, but there is groundwork to be done before your software can give you back the information you need.
Your experienced sales staff still need to understand the market you’re in; its trends and changes that continue throughout the year. They also need to identify the audience you’re targeting and set characteristics and segments that will populate your CRM so it can then effectively profile your database. For example, if you’re a wholesaler selling catering equipment, you still need to assign your contacts to the correct geographical area, size of business, which area of catering they’re in (kitchen, food truck, café etc). When your data is correct and kept up to date, you can then use the reporting tools within the system to profile your whole database and create marketing campaigns suitable for each customer group.
A CRM solution is instrumental in managing a growing portfolio of customers and is often essential when a company is looking to expand. The software can help you effectively scale your business by easily managing data and creating visibility of potential sales. A CRM system can benefit your business if: you’re spending precious time on manual admin tasks, you can’t market effectively to your audience, you struggle to keep track of all customer communications, you can’t easily report on customer and sales trends.
Already have a CRM in place but not sure you’re getting the most out of your software? Look out for our next blog to find out how to get the most out of your CRM software.