Beginner’s Guide to CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
If you’re a business owner or in sales or marketing, you’ve probably heard about CRM. But what does it really mean? And how do you know if you need it?
Beginner’s Guide to CRM
This Beginner’s Guide to CRM will help you understand what CRM software is, and if your business needs it.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.
Great, now we know what the acronym stands for, so what is it? At its core a CRM is designed to do one thing – manage your relationships with your customers and future customers. Concretely, it’s about gathering customer and prospect information into one central app, and then guiding your customers and prospects through the sales funnel. It also does more than that. A good CRM helps you to manage customer interactions in a way that will boost customer loyalty and generate profits that’ll skyrocket your revenue. In fact, your CRM will deliver you a ROI of $8.71 for every dollar spent. That alone will cause your stakeholders to crack open a bottle of bubbly and shower you in glory. And who doesn’t want that?
Update your old system.
I have a friend named Henry who started up a business five years ago. Back in the early days of AwesomeSauce Inc, he knew everything about his first customers – their names, what their businesses were all about, even if they had kids. As his business grew, he never lost that personal touch. He really prides himself on knowing his customers and being able to make them feel just how important they are to him and his business. I asked Henry once how he keeps track of everyone, and he told me he has an excel spreadsheet with all his customer info in it, their names, address, and even notes like what they hope to achieve.
Henry’s humble spreadsheet is really a homemade CRM. I bet you’ve already got one going on. Whether it’s in Google Docs or in Excel, you certainly have a way of tracking and documenting your customer data. You may have even got it reminding you to do things like send out a newsletter or make a phone call. A Customer Relationship Management does exactly this, but it’s fancier and has more automations.
Features of a basic CRM often include:
- stores customer and prospect information
- add notes
- log calls and emails.
Features of an advanced CRM often include:
- automation of repetitive marketing tasks like sending out welcome emails
- segments customers for targeted emailing
- monitors social media channels of customers and prospects
- visualizes marketing campaigns
- tracks the results of campaigns
- schedules appointments in app
- shows the sales pipeline
But the most important thing a CRM does is focus on your customers as individuals. By focusing on your customers are individuals – rather than as an entity – you get inside knowledge on what’s driving your customers – what problems they might have that you can help them solve, what ambitions they want to realize. So like my friend Henry, you can give a personal touch to your customers even if your customer database runs into the thousands.
If you’re primarily in sales, you probably know that indiscriminately blasting prospects with discounts and product information scares them away. With a CRM you can track the sales pipeline and know when your customer is ready to buy from you, so you can send them appropriate and timely offers. If you’re focused on marketing or relationship building, CRMs help you get the big picture of the relationship each customer, or prospect, has with you because it strings together all their interactions, such as emails, and what content they’re interested in, together with their profile. This means you can send out targeted content and emails tailored to their needs and perspectives. With technology this advanced, there’s no excuse for email blasts these days.
The added bonus is that you’ll get your different departments working together as a team. Marc Prosser from Fit Small Business told PieSync that
“At many companies, sales and support are handled by separate teams. CRM provides a shared record both can use, which means a salesperson can see what kind of support interactions a customer has had and address whatever issues they’ve had with the product or service. It’s a good chance to follow up on that support and make sure they were satisfied with the interaction and are still happy with the product.”
Does my Company Need a CRM (Customer Relationship Management)?
Yes, it does! If you want to stay competitive there’s no time to waste with outdated spreadsheets and tacked together data entry programs. Your company is growing, and I bet that you’re finding it harder to keep up with your customer contacts. In fact, you might find that most of your job now entails managing your customer database and trying to cobble together reports from the fractured data that you’ve got, rather than doing your actual work. And that’s a dark path to be walking.
Don’t waste your, or your employees time, with manual data entry into spreadsheets. Instead, spend your time interacting with your customers by sending them content they’re interested in, and interacting with them in a way that is timely and meaningful.
An astounding 43% of marketers in the U.S don’t use any CRM, so the time is now to get a headstart and optimize your business and marketing strategy. If you want to grow your business, streamline your sales and marketing process, and join the elite group of trailblazing companies who are really getting things done in their industry, a CRM might be a good idea for you.
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