CRM: what is it, and do I really need it in order to successfully run my business? This ambiguous abbreviation stands for Customer Relationship Management. A process of managing, tracking, and analyzing you and your team’s business interactions.
CRM is a tool that helps you stay organized and boost productivity (and, in turn, sales). A CRM also assists in managing relationships with not only your customers and prospects, but with basically anybody that has anything to do with your business. We are talking about your employees, investors, industry analysts, press, influencers, suppliers, partners, resellers, advocates, brand evangelists, third-party developers, you name it.
Who Benefits From a CRM?
The short answer is: everybody. Any department in your company, may it be sales/business development, marketing, customer service, or HR, will benefit from having the right CRM system in place. Having a centralized place where the whole company can easily locate multiple pipeline statuses, contact information, sales insights, customer service inquiries, and even data from your marketing and email campaigns can significantly improve the productivity of the entire company.
How Does a CRM Help Me Manage Relationships?
Anthropologist Robin Dunbar found that the average person is not able to cope with more than roughly 150 meaningful social relationships at a time. This may seem like an impressive number, but it really isn’t when you consider how many people you will network with throughout your entire career.
If you don’t have the correct technology in place, chances are that you will forget to follow-up with people and fail to follow-through with what you’ve promised to do. Relationships are built on trust; there’s nothing worse than ruining business relationships before they even had a chance to be built. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Why Do I Need a CRM?
There are a multitude of reasons why you should adopt a CRM for your business.
The most important reason why you need a CRM is: you’re only human. Leads and contact information can get lost so easily. Don’t be too hard on yourself- it’s not in our power to remember everything. We try to solve this problem by writing the rest down on a piece of paper or our desktop or mobile devices. We scribble our prospect and customer information on business cards we eventually use to pick our teeth with. You might also run into the problem of wasting time trying to remember where the information is – time that you could be spending interacting with customers, prospecting, closing business.
Issues like is are magnified when employees leave. This is why it’s important to have one centralized place where everybody in the company logs information about business contacts, meetings, orders, customer’s issues and feedback, and anything else that can possibly come up.
9 (Not-So-Obvious) Benefits of Adopting a CRM
Let’s look into some of the not-so-obvious reasons for implementing a CRM system for your company.
- Manage Inquiries Across All Channels- Your customer might ask a question or report an issue on social media, and then switch to an email or a phone call. A CRM platform makes it easy to keep track and manage the inquiry across all of your channels.
- Enhance Social Listening and Brand Monitoring- Social CRM systems allow you to store information about what key players in your industry are talking about on social media, what they are influential in, and even what they are saying about you or your competitors. Integrating with social media gives you and your social media team an opportunity to engage with better prospects and act as a trusted advisor.
- Store Contacts, Calendars, Communications in One Place- A good CRM automatically syncs all of your team’s Google Apps or Office 365 contacts, calendars, email and social interactions to give you the most accurate and current information on all of your customers and leads.
- Enrich Your Browser and Inbox- CRM systems now offer browser extensions that essentially follow you on every platform you communicate with people in order to capture pivotal lead information. You can easily access whatever insight you need on a prospect without having to open twenty different tabs.
- Track Emails and Sales Intelligence- Many CRMs will allow you to track your message opens and clicks to alert you exactly when your contacts interact with your outreach, making it easier to identify your hottest prospects.
- Manage Sales and Deal Pipelines- Empower your sales team with clean and simple deal pipeline management so they can focus entirely on what they do best – selling. Most CRMs also have reporting capabilities, making it easier for salespeople and management to report on sales activities.
- Segment Data- A smart CRM system allows you to segment data that you acquire on all your business contacts, allowing you to analyze and take progressive action. Your CRM should also allow you to send outreach in bulk to save precious time.
- Use It on The Go- You’re not confined to a desk- why should your CRM be? Busy business people are always on the go, and need their CRM to help them prepare for meetings by accessing their data while away from their desks. Most CRMs now have mobile apps that allow you to do almost as much as you can do in the desktop version, such as sending messages, scheduling reminders, adding notes, scanning business cards, creating and updating deals, and more.
- Integrating with Other Business Apps – Many CRMs allow you to integrate with other business applications you might be using across departments. For example, syncing with your email and marketing automation applications such 366 degrees delivers an end-to-end prospecting and marketing automation solution, while syncing your CRM with invoicing and payment systems such as Due.com ensure contact data is current in the billing system, and payment status is communicated among sales and business development team members.