What is CRM? A Beginner's Guide to CRM Software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a powerful tool that can help businesses of all sizes manage customer relationships and data. While technically, this means you'll be able to better receive and write witty comebacks for customer complaints in real time, that's perhaps not the most impressive part of a CRM.
A CRM tool can take your business to the next level and help you better manage customer relationships and support more than just internal marketing teams. With the right CRM, businesses of all sizes can access data quickly and efficiently, giving them more time to focus on growing their business.The goal of using a CRM is simple: improve business relationships to grow your business.
Witty comebacks optional.
By understanding the fundamentals of CRM and selecting the appropriate system, you can drastically enhance your marketing, sales, service, CMS, and operations.
What is a CRM, though?
Okay, let's get more specific. A CRM is a software solution designed to help businesses manage customer relationships organisationally and efficiently. With a wide range of benefits, it enables companies to capture, store, and analyse data related to their customers or prospects in one central location, allowing them to track interactions with potential leads and current customers. This can include contact information, sales history, purchase patterns, support inquiries, website visits, etc.
But a great CRM should go beyond basic data entry and allow you to understand your customers more deeply. It's also a fantastic tool because it lets you have everything you need to manage your customers in one place–instead of going door-to-door asking them “Do you like me?” like some high school kid trying not to be the last person to find a date for the upcoming dance.
Why should I use a CRM?
Well, mostly because they are awesome. But we're guessing you're not going to like that answer. So...CRMs are used for many reasons. Generally, any company that wants to improve its customer experience, increase sales, and scrap repetitive tasks while having all its data in one place would use a CRM to simplify its daily operations.
Here are some reasons a company might use a CRM:
- They need to communicate information to multiple divisions or departments.
- They need one consolidated area to store important customer information.
- They need to track customer service interactions.
- They want to follow the productivity of sales teams or establish workflows.
- They need a central location to manage social media, email, or website content.
Consider a CRM as a combination between your fridge and your pantry–it's where you go to select the ingredients you need to make a delicious meal.
What's in it for me? The benefits of using a CRM
We don't want you to waste your time (like some of your past relationships), so let's discuss what's in it for you. Well, there are many benefits to using a CRM. But some of the most popular uses include marketing automation, sales enablement, customer service and support, content management, and operations management. Let's dig into each of those a bit more.
With marketing automation, businesses can create automated campaigns to effectively target and engage potential customers. This allows them to save time reaching out to customers with promotional offers or product information. Additionally, it helps ensure that the right message is sent at the right time for maximum impact.
You know, instead of sending a message about your Holiday sale two days after the sale actually ended.
A CRM enables sales teams to better manage customer relationships by tracking essential data points such as contact information, purchase history and current inquiries (to name a few). This gives them more insight into what drives customer decisions and how they can effectively approach each sale to optimise their sales funnel by capitalising on greater sales opportunities. It also helps track sales reps' performance and look for key indicators of who you need to provide a bit of a nudge for improvement.
Customer Service & Support
One of the main advantages of having a CRM system is that it provides businesses with an efficient way to handle customer service requests and inquiries quickly and accurately. Companies can respond faster through features such as ticketing systems or chatbots, leading to greater customer satisfaction. Ensuring you can diligently handle customer interactions goes beyond gaining new fans, but fine-tunes your customer retention rate (hot tip: it's cheaper to retain customers than gain new ones!).
Content Management System
Beyond offering a robust customer journey, a CRM also serves as a content management system (CMS), providing users with tools for creating customised emails or product descriptions tailored to individual prospects or client needs. This increases engagement and helps build trust between a business and its customers through personalised communications.
A CMS transforms your marketing efforts from a, "ugh" to an "aha!".
Last but not least, CRMs provide managers with valuable insights into operations performance, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and maximise efficiency within their organisation. By understanding where processes are running smoothly, they can adjust plans accordingly, increasing productivity overall. And by understanding where they aren't doing well, you can kick it to the curb...or help them develop a better way of doing things.
When should you use a CRM?
Is yesterday a good answer? No. Well, then, companies should get on board with a CRM ASAP. Using CRM software can provide invaluable insights into your business and help you form deeper customer relationships. Starting early allows organisations to gradually tweak and improve the CRM system as their business grows.
Many startups and small businesses store their leads in an email marketing tool and customer details on a spreadsheet. While that might work early on, as companies scale, this date becomes more disparate and can lead to discrepancies and inaccuracies. This eventually causes problems and confusion. A company should begin as early as possible with a CRM to help them keep everything they need in one spot.
Also, as employees leave, a sound CRM system will help your business continue running smoothly, allowing the next team member to transition better instead of taking forever to learn the ropes - it's for more than just administrative tasks, remember?
What happens if you don't use a CRM
While using a CRM seems smart, plenty of businesses still forego one. Why? We don't know. But there are still people with AOL email addresses, so...
Here are some of the pain points we've discovered from businesses that don't use a CRM system regularly:
They Struggle With Sales
Without a CRM system, businesses struggle with sales. Tracking where leads are in the sales process is often complicated, and opportunities can easily fall through the cracks - features like a sales automation tool removes the chance of manual error. Additionally, without an organised way to view customer information, reps may not always be able to properly assess the needs of each individual customer.
Customer Profiles are Incomplete
Without a CRM, customer profiles become incomplete. Businesses that don't use a CRM system find they don't have access to the full story of their customers. This results in ineffective communication and missed opportunities to engage with customers based on the data collected from them. It also causes ineffectiveness when trying to target specific segments of their customer base–especially when building digital campaigns through Google or social media.
Bad/Inconsistent Customer Service
Without a CRM system in place, customer loyalty and service can suffer. With no proper customer service ticketing system or customer relationship management software, businesses have difficulty resolving support tickets quickly and accurately. This eventually leads to customers becoming frustrated and looking for help elsewhere.
Perhaps witty comebacks to complaints aren't the best, after all. Hmm. We learned something today.
Without a CRM system, collaboration among teams is often hampered. Teams have difficulty communicating in real-time with one another or recognising where they are in specific projects. Different divisions or departments often use their own software or tools, which causes an even bigger split in their collaboration efforts.
Accounts Missing Information
How can someone fully prepare to sell to a customer if they aren't given the complete picture of that customer? Also, how does your company currently identify your key customers and stakeholders to ensure they stay on board long-term? A sound CRM system can help in both areas by helping you keep accurate account information all in one spot.
Disparate Customer Data
Customer data can become scattered across various software and applications. This makes it difficult to measure the ROI of marketing campaigns, create targeted customer segments, or have accurate reports on customer experience.
Lack of Reporting
Without a sound CRM system in place, reporting and analytics quickly become a hassle. You won't have access to the up-to-date data you need to make informed decisions about your company's future. This can include everything from running effective marketing campaigns, predicting customer buying trends, conducting customer segmentation analysis, or providing exceptional customer service - all of which are incredibly vital elements of any successful organisation.
By not having a reliable CRM platform to gather and analyse data, business owners risk being unable to understand the nuances of their customer's preferences and behaviour, leading to potential lost revenue opportunities. The bottom line is this: if you want credible data driving your decisions for the future of your business, setting up an effective CRM system should be high on your list of priorities.
Simply put, you can't fix what you don't know needs fixin'.
Popular CRM Options
Among some of the more popular CRMs currently available are Salesforce, HubSpot, SAP, ZOHO, and Oracle. These solutions are almost always cloud-based and offer several pricing plans to suit different budgets and helpful customer support if you encounter an issue you can't solve yourself.
Why HubSpot is the best option
HubSpot is an all-in-one platform that allows businesses to manage their entire customer relationship lifecycle from one central location. It provides a comprehensive set of tools for sales, marketing, and customer service teams to create customised workflows, design campaigns, track leads, analyse data, and more. Additionally, the platform is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, with features such as drag & drop capabilities for creating emails or forms in minutes.
Here are some of the reasons we love HubSpot and why you should love HubSpot too:
First and foremost, HubSpot is one of the best CRMs for pricing. They offer a "try-before-you-buy" model, and you get a lot of features even with the free version. Plus, they offer tiered plans that scale alongside your business as you grow. Just like you try some wine before buying it, make sure to swirl it around and make it look like you know what you're doing before diving right in.
One of the most valuable features of HubSpot is its real-time analytics dashboard. This gives users detailed reports and insights into customer behaviour and engagement levels so that businesses can make informed decisions quickly.
HubSpot also provides users with a variety of automation tools. From automated emails to lead nurturing programs, HubSpot helps streamline processes and free up employees' time so they can focus on more critical tasks–or checking their socials.
Customer Service Features
HubSpot boasts a number of features designed specifically for customer service teams. This includes automatic ticketing systems and chatbots that can answer customer queries quickly and efficiently. And probably a lot better than we would answer those queries.
HubSpot also offers seamless integrations with third-party applications such as Salesforce CRM or Zoho, allowing users to sync data between multiple platforms without manual effort. This makes it easy for businesses to stay organised while providing insights into operations performance across departments leading to improved efficiency overall.
With its powerful analytics engine, Hubspot allows companies to measure ROI on their campaigns or identify areas of improvement within their business processes so they can make informed decisions quickly. The system also enables users to gain valuable information on prospects or customers, helping target audiences accurately and maximising conversion rates.
Simply put, more money!
Finally, HubSpot provides industry-leading support through its 24/7 help centre, including product tutorials, training materials, live chat options, and personalised assistance from certified experts. By leveraging this wealth of resources, businesses can maximize the value of the system leading to greater success overall.
Overall, HubSpot provides a comprehensive CRM solution for businesses of all sizes. From managing leads and creating custom workflows to delivering real-time analytics, automation tools, and customer service features, there is something for everyone on the platform. And with its affordable pricing plans, it's easy to see why HubSpot is one of the most popular CRMs today.
See, we told you HubSpot is the best.
How to Choose Your Own Favourite
Let's say you don't believe us that HubSpot is the best CRM that everyone should use–cue eye roll–then here is how you can choose the right CRM for your business.
Consider Your Goals
The first step in choosing a CRM is determining what specific goals you want to achieve with it. Ask yourself: What types of customers do I need to target? How will I track customer data? Are there any features that are absolutely necessary for my business operations?
By having a clear understanding of what you need from a CRM, you can narrow down potential solutions and identify those that are most likely to meet all of your requirements.
If you're someone who answers, "I don't know, what do you want?" when asked what to have for dinner, then you probably should give this job to someone else.
Evaluate Your Options
While we think HubSpot is the bee's knees, you must decide what's best for you and your business. Once you've identified your objectives, it's time to evaluate different products and prioritise functionality according to their importance compared to those goals. When comparing services, consider factors such as ease of use, scalability, cost, and integration capabilities.
Additionally, look into support resources offered by each provider so that any issues can be resolved quickly without negatively affecting productivity or customer satisfaction levels.
No, we aren't saying it's time to foster a dog. Instead, you need to consider how easily the rest of the company and your team members can adopt whatever CRM system you put into place. The more intuitive the platform is, the easier it will be for employees across departments to adopt it.
By keeping these points in mind during the selection process, businesses can ensure they
choose the right Customer Relationship Management solution tailored specifically towards their organisation's unique needs leading to increased success overall.
Choosing the right CRM platform for your business is essential to maximise customer satisfaction and drive long-term success. With so many different options out there, it's essential to take the time to evaluate each potential solution and prioritise functionality based on what will be most beneficial for your specific needs.
Or, you can do the smart thing and just believe us when we say you should choose HubSpot.