A Brief Guide to CRMs
Customer relationship management explained
CRMs and ERPs have steadily been growing in popularity over the years.
Today, the CRM market alone is worth more than $40 billion, mostly thanks to their availability and affordability for small businesses, who often have trouble staying on top of things.
However, most people are still unsure what CRMs actually do and how they help businesses grow. To help clear those doubts, we present you with this guide on CRMs.
What is CRM?
CRMs are web-based applications that allow businesses to store, access and use their customer data to improve their customer relationships, grow their revenue and organize their tasks.
As such, CRMs are an essential tool for small businesses, because they allow companies to personalize their approach to customers, without spending too much time on finding their customer information. With a CRM, everything is always just a few clicks away.
How do companies use CRMs?
Practically all companies use CRM concepts in their everyday work, even if they don’t use a specialized software solution like Simply CRM, Pipedrive or Hubspot.
Whether it’s through an online database or paper notes, everyone needs to organize their customer information. The only difference is how they do it, and CRMs are designed to be the most effective solution, because they can parse through incredible amounts of data.
This ability to quickly process data and present customer insights and reports is the main reason why CRMs are becoming popular. Traditional data storage methods simply can’t compete with this CRM feature.
They also use it to develop strategies and plans of action by analyzing the customer information. On top of that, CRMs are valuable tools because they allow businesses to secure the sensitive customer data and protect their company from potential hackers and malicious attacks.
Implemented correctly, a CRM system can make the company far more efficient as it allows businesses to use workflows to automate processes, makes the data more accessible and facilitates better collaboration between different company departments.
Since all of the data is on a single platform, used by everyone in the company, all staff members can always have access to the most important information and help each other execute their assignments more efficiently.
Now, you may be wondering how CRMs can achieve all this. The answer is simple: by using the built-in features and functions that come with these platforms.
Of course, the features that come with CRMs largely depend on the nature of the system, target audience and price. You can’t expect a free CRM to have the same features a paid one.
Niche-specific CRMs also have limited features, because they specialize in a specific industry.
However, most general CRMs are packed with useful features that include:
- Calendar management
- Sales management
- Workflow automation
- Accessibility control
- Custom reports
- Detailed analytics
- Integration with popular software
- Custom filtering options
Most CRMs offer plenty of integrations, but this is an area you need to assess carefully.
Make sure that your preferred CRM solution integrates with WordPress, WooCommerce, LiveChat and MailChimp. If it doesn’t integrate well with these popular apps, you’ll likely have a lot of issues in the future.
Why do you need CRMs?
If you’re not satisfied with our explanation so far and would like some stats and figures to back our claims, consider the following stats:
- The CRM market experiences one of the highest year-on-year growth figures, which rise up to 27%.
- The ROI of CRMs is simply outstanding—every dollar invested in CRM returns at least five dollars. The minimum cited ROI of CRMs is 245%, which easily beats most other software solutions.
- Small businesses that use CRMs see a 300% improved conversion rate through their email marketing campaigns.
- Getting leads costs 20% less when companies use a CRM system.
- 47% of business owners believe that a CRM has helped them provide a significantly better customer experience.
Does your business need a CRM?
This is the question of all questions when it comes to CRMs.
While most businesses could significantly improve their processes and tasks with a CRM platform, there are some companies that just aren’t suited well for an online system.
It’s essential that you do not make any decisions regarding CRMs lightly. Consult your staff members and consider what CRMs can bring to the table.
Don’t forget that CRMs can be expensive and that they are, after all, a complex cloud system that may require weeks of training before you start using it properly.
There’s no doubt that adopting a CRM will be beneficial in the long run, but some companies are probably not ready to sacrifice a few weeks or months to set up a system.
Weigh the pros and cons carefully. Only install a CRM if you’re sure your business can afford and support your employees through the onboarding and training phase.
This story was originally published on South Africa Today and it has been republished with the permission of the author.