What is CRM and What are its Benefits?

Most companies interact with a large volume of current and potential customers. Managing these customer relationships with manual systems is ineffective which is why companies tend to deploy the help of software solutions. But what exactly is customer relationship management (CRM) software, and what are the benefits for your business?

Understanding the Scope of CRM

At its core, CRM software is used to manage client relationships. These client relationships can be at different stages: CRM software can help companies market to clients, follow up leads and close deals. Next, your CRM solution can ensure existing customers get the service that they expect while opening up the revenue opportunities inside your existing customer base.

CRM software performs a valuable role in large part due to information tracking. By logging all the communications your company has with a customer it is easier to see how a customer relationship grows, and easier to spot opportunities. CRM solutions also connect with other enterprise solutions including ERP, which contributes to smooth and efficient business processes.

The Main Benefits of CRM

CRM adoption is essential for any business that handles more than just a handful of customers. The benefits of CRM are simply to deep and wide to ignore. Benefits include:

Enhanced revenue: At its core, a CRM solution is designed to speed up the process of selling while simultaneously ensuring that sales efforts maximise revenue. This is true for both brand-new customers but also for a company’s existing customer base. The in-depth customer knowledge on tap in CRM can help a business push new products and cross-sell with ease.

Automation and business processes: For many businesses, customer interactions can involve hundreds of small, time-consuming tasks. CRM solution optimise these processes, removing the burden of manually performing tasks from your employee’s shoulders. As a result, sales professionals can turn leads around faster, while order processing takes less time.

Retain customer knowledge: CRM solutions have the capability to retain a large amount of customer knowledge, reducing the reliance on employees to retain and transfer an understanding of your customers. So, when a sales team member leaves, other team members can step in straight away and continue to develop a lead. In the absence of CRM, this knowledge may be lost.

Improved customer service: In the digital era customers are increasingly expecting fast results. With manual procedures or disconnected digital systems, the process of servicing a customer can become time-consuming and error prone. A capable CRM solution that is connected to other enterprise systems can ensure hassle-free, insightful customer service.

Pro-active management: Finally, CRM helps management teams gain insight into their revenue base. With a CRM solution, you can analyse the sales pipeline, spotting potential revenue dips before these take hold and getting an understanding of which sales campaigns deliver the most results. CRM supports pro-active sales and revenue management and can help companies plan sales and marketing resources.

Steps for CRM Success

Clearly, CRM solutions offer a wide array of benefits, but not every CRM implementation is equal. What do companies need to do to ensure CRM success? Consider the following steps:

  1. Settle the sales process. A CRM solution can support a good process, but CRM cannot override a poor process. Thoughtfully consider your sales process before applying a CRM solution.
  2. Project manage your CRM. Uncoordinated CRM efforts rarely deliver value. Instead, your company must extensively plan its CRM implementation, involving all relevant stakeholders throughout the process.
  3. Manage CRM data. Leads grow stale over time. Ensure that your sales force has access to actionable data by regularly purging your CRM database and developing a pipeline process to build leads.
  4. Enforce CRM use. Your CRM is only as useful as the data that it captures. Rigorously enforce CRM use so that your sales team captures all relevant data for the benefit of the entire business.
  5. Select the right partner. There are many competent CRM vendors and integrators, but your business should focus on finding CRM partners that can capture your unique business requirements and translate these into a successful CRM implementation.

As we stated earlier in this article, CRM adoption is a must for businesses with substantial numbers of customers. Companies that are at a growth stage, however, may not yet make use of CRM while some businesses in legacy industries could lag behind in CRM adoption.

Either way any businesses with more than a handful of customers and which is serious about growing their customer base should consider CRM as the route to customer satisfaction, business efficiency and sales growth.


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