One customer or thousands of customers, managing customer information is exceptionally important for business success.
Over the last decade, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has evolved from being a luxury for businesses to an absolute necessity.
There are many methods to store customer data and manage their information. Some companies use spreadsheets, while others use sophisticated Customer Relationship Management Systems.
Using spreadsheets may do the job for a few customers. However, spreadsheets can get lost, become outdated, easily fall into the wrong hands, and after you cross the threshold of a “few” customers, the data starts to become unmanageable.
Other methods of collecting customer information, such as stockpiling business cards also tend to become tedious, unorganized and unmanageable.
A much better method is an automated solution – a Customer Relationship Management software solution.
Let’s take a closer look at what firstly, what a CRM system is and secondly, why CRM is important for business success.
What Is CRM?
CRM is a set of practices, technologies and strategies used to manage customer data and interactions throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
The end goal is to improve the business’s relationship with the customer, improve customer retention and create more sales.
CRM systems collect customer information across a wide variety of channels, which may include the company website, telephone, direct mail, live chat, social media profiles, marketing materials and more.
There are many forms of CRM systems currently available for business owners. One example of such a system is Sage CRM, which provides customers with more flexibility and sustainability in their growth.
Here’s a quick visual overview, explaining CRM, from a Sage perspective.
The Benefits Of CRM
This is what makes CRM essential, critical and important for your business:
It easily registers all of your leads and contacts: CRM systems allow you to easily input all of your customers’ information so you can keep them organized and instantly find their information with a simple search. You can split these leads and contacts up into different categories as well, such as Customers, Prospects, Suppliers, Partners, Lost Customers, Inactive Customers and more. This makes for a much more organized and sophisticated way of logging customer information.
It tracks all of your customer interactions: Every time anyone in your company interacts with a customer or prospect, that interaction gets logged in your system. Next time you talk to a customer or prospect, you already have some general information about them to help frame the conversation and make them feel important and cared for.
It helps you provide better customer service: Because all of your customer interactions are being tracked, you can resolve issues with unhappy customers quickly, or keep your satisfied customers coming back for more. For example, if a customer contacts your company, representatives can instantly pull up past activities such as purchases, preferences or anything else that could be helpful to find a solution to a problem. This prevents the customer from having to regularly restate his or her problems and information.
It enables you to automate certain everyday tasks: Why waste your time on the job filling out forms and reports or addressing legal issues when you could be focused on working with customers and improving sales? Most CRM solutions provide plenty of automation options to drastically decrease the amount of time you spend on ancillary tasks that only take away the time you could be spending on more important things.
It helps multiple teams in your company easily share information: Because all of your customer communications and information are stored in one single easily accessible place, it makes it far easier for sales, marketing and customer service teams to coordinate with each other when necessary. The ability of these different teams to work together more seamlessly will make your business as a whole significantly more efficient, helping to improve your bottom line.
It improves your analytical reporting and data in general: There are too many businesses that either fail or struggle simply because of miscalculated data. CRM takes a lot of human error out of the equation, storing information all in one place to improve analysis of that data. You will be able to quickly generate automatic reports, while also personalizing dashboard views so you can quickly find important information such as sales goals, performance reports, customer information and more.
It integrates with other applications and services: Most CRM systems easily integrate with other business management solutions and computer applications. For example, you should be able to easily integrate Microsoft Office products, such as Outlook, into your CRM to quickly import customer and lead contact information. You then have the ability to update your CRM contact information directly from Outlook, and the changes will appear in both systems.
Why CRM is Important for Business Success
Ultimately, CRM helps you to keep your business better organized while also providing more efficient and effective service to your customers. This will help you streamline the process of ensuring all of your customers’ needs are met, making them more likely to come back again and again.
Ready to dig a little deeper? Two distinct solutions – Sage CRM and Salesforce. See which is better for your business.