by Kurt Schroeder and John Seeds
Managing customer relationships is crucial for a company seeking lasting connections and business longevity. Unfortunately, today’s digital communication infrastructure makes tracking interactions and recording data nearly impossible due to the volume of available connections. Customer Relationship Management systems, or CRM, allow your team to develop a deeper understanding of your customers and properly connect with and attract prospects to your business.
Understanding how to use a CRM system and leverage the data you have on your customers can completely transform the operations and strategy of your business. The data you receive and its impact on your organization allows for new avenues of relationship building and shifts in team operations. For the technology to be leveraged in this way it’s critical to understand and how to integrate the system and collect the data.
What is CRM?
CRM is essentially referring to technology for managing all your company's relationships and interactions with customers and prospects. With customer expectations evolving, intelligent CRM solutions have started to grow in popularity as businesses look for robust, feature-rich solutions from the CRM industry.
CRM solutions used to have one focus: tracking, recording, and reporting information relating to your organization's relationship with individual customers. Today, these solutions can connect customer data across the company and display a through-line of all interactions with your business. Robust feature-rich CRM solutions expand the capabilities of your teams, and help them better manage daily operations.
What does a CRM system do?
Modern CRM systems house the data and information that supports day-to-day and forecasted operations for departments like sales and marketing. These systems also produce metrics that measure the effectiveness of department initiatives such as paid campaigns and prospecting. The sophistication of a CRM system for automating these behaviors is critical to the operations of a business.
Still, a CRM system is also essential for developing a deeper understanding of the person behind your customer information. CRM technology compiles data from multiple sources to build a comprehensive and holistic profile of your current customers and target audiences. It does this through pulling information from a range of communication channels including your website, social media and email. By doing so, your CRM system helps you stay connected to your customers while also streamlining processes and improving profitability.
Who needs CRM?
CRM systems are critical for any business with employees working in sales, customer service, business development, recruiting, marketing or any department that needs a better way to manage customer interactions and relationships to drive success. These systems are no longer just about managing sales and marketing prospects but can play a huge role in managing customer relationships from a holistic perspective. A CRM system is vital in any size company, but especially businesses looking to maximize the information they have and to do more with less.
Benefits of Using CRM Technology
Implementing an effective CRM solution into your technology ecosystem is critical to improving your business practices and altering the relationships you have with your customers. This technology's benefits go beyond just operations and tracking and show up in other areas of your life. For example, by leveraging a CRM system, you can achieve:
- Customer empowerment: This technology can support customer empowerment tools, such as chatbots, account access portals or user forums. Giving your customers tools to resolve issues independently will empower them and deepen relationships when they do connect with an employee.
- Streamlined data access: Many CRM systems allow your employees to access customer data at any time from wherever they are located. Supplying access to this data is no longer a challenge allowing your employees to work remotely without any data restrictions.
- More detailed reporting: With a modern CRM system, creating in-depth and custom reports is simple. These reports can make gaining insights into your current customer base even more effortless.
- A single source of truth: CRM technology eliminates information silos by creating a single platform and process for sharing customer relationship information and data. This helps to streamline data access and improves the overall accuracy of your data.
- Improved lead management: Integrating this technology helps your sales and marketing teams find and add new leads to your system quickly and categorize them accurately. This allows those teams to prioritize the right leads for nurturing, and to track the effectiveness of their outreach efforts.