What is a CRM? And why does your business need one?


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Some companies already have a CRM, while others are still thinking about it. But even if you have one in place, how do you know it’s really working for you? Is it really delivering the insight that your company needs?

From customisation to sales team buy-in, and from optimisation to strategy, there’s a lot that goes into having a successful CRM. So let’s break down exactly what a CRM is, and why your company needs an effective one to maximise your business opportunities.

What is a CRM

In its most basic terms, a CRM is a way a business manages its interactions with both current and future customers. This usually involves collecting and analysing data on how someone interacted with your website and related sales activities.

Okay, let’s get into some details on how to use a CRM, the key benefits, and how to devise a CRM strategy that brings the best possible results for your business.

How to use a CRM

To start, let’s break down how to use your CRM – from customisation through to reporting.

1. Customise your CRM

Your CRM needs to match your business needs. It must be able to track your key customer stages, from first contact to established customer. This will require you to study your own sales process, so your CRM can be calibrated to how your sales pipeline operates.

You can also customise the dashboard, so the key information you need is always in front of you. That might include customer stage, as well as contact information, time of interaction, key stats, and so on.

2. Work with your sales department

Getting buy-in from your sales reps is of course vitally important. You need their input to ensure your CRM is as accurate as possible. The key is to ensure you fully explain why you are implementing this system – this is a make or break point, because if your sales team are not on board, the usefulness of your CRM system will be limited.

3. Get all your business tools working together

All your customer data (marketing, sales, etc) should be in your CRM. This is the only way to get a complete view of how your business is doing with current and potential customers

4. Leverage reporting capability

Now you have all this data thanks to your CRM, your sales team buy-in, and your careful customisation of your system. So it’s time to produce clear reports – without bombarding your teams. Consider whether weekly or monthly works best for your business, but leveraging the reports that your CRM can generate is how you get real use from it.

Benefits of using a CRM

Now let’s look at how a CRM benefits your company – from boosting productivity through to using insights for better decision-making.

1. Greater productivity

Once your CRM is in place, you can automate numerous tasks that means you get more done. A solid CRM means you spend less time on admin. So you can focus on customers.

2. Your existing customers are happier

The more you know about your potential customer, the more you can do to help them. The information your CRM has provided – understanding your prospect’s activity, including what they have opened, what they have read, as well as data on their company and their requirements – means you can give them the best possible customer experience.

3. Stronger collaboration

A CRM increases collaboration between your sales people. From the account executive to the sales rep, everyone can ensure they’re on the same page, share important information, and make better decisions.

4. Using data for insights

Get an at-a-glance overview of how your sales team is functioning. A CRM means you can look at conversion rates, sales rep performance, the kinds of deals that are closing, and so on. Then you can take all this and make strategic decisions for the future.

CRM Strategy

Finally, let’s look at how an effective strategy means you get the most out of your CRM.

A CRM strategy means you have a full plan on how you intend to use your CRM to gain customers and grown your company. Creating a strategy means you can measure your initial goals against actual outcomes, and adjust accordingly.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by a CRM system, so having a strategy in place means you can focus on what’s important for your business, and get the most of it.

A solid strategy means your company can remain focused on the goals it wants to reach – whether that’s managing your customer relationships, understanding your customer behaviour at a deeper level, the kind of reports you want to generate, what your customer journeys look like (and their variations), and so on.

The more detailed the data you gather, the more insight you will have into customer behaviour, the better decisions you will be able to make.

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