What is CRM?

A comprehensive beginner's guide to the concept of customer relationship management (CRM)

Definition

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.

CRM is a combination of strategy and technology to build and improve business relationships with customers. The CRM system goals are threefold- to acquire and nurture leads, increase sales conversion, and improve customer satisfaction and retention.

CRM software is usually referred to in the context of a tool that is used in businesses to enable the following functions:

Contact Management
Pipeline Management
Marketing campaigns
Customer Service

Understanding the Basics of CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) can be understood as a term that defines how businesses engage with their customers and builds lasting relationships. It enables enterprises to collect, analyze, edit, and store information about prospects and current customers.

Specifically, CRM software empowers businesses to create the right marketing campaigns, improve operational efficiency, and drive sales. CRM is an essential tool that can help organizations maintain effective communication with customers, increase retention, and ultimately boost revenues.

Importance of Customer Relationships

Great relationships are the key

It’s not easy and positive relationships are not built instantly! Two-way engagement, commitment to quality, and genuine concern for satisfaction can help you forge long-lasting relationships.

Retain clients in the long run

Just like we invest time and energy in our relationships, organizations need to go the extra mile to nurture a lasting bond with customers. Listen to your customers with empathy and act promptly to resolve their issues.

Positive word of mouth

Positive word of mouth publicity, customer loyalty, and long term retention are other amazing benefits of maintaining a customer nurturing business strategy.

Who needs a CRM System?

A CRM solution is a must-have business tool for all kinds of organizations. Any business that is focusing on customer-centric engagement strategies will benefit from using CRM software. It is a fantastic tool for sales and marketing teams to align efforts on the same page and close deals faster.

Whether your company is handling B2B or B2C operations, CRM platforms can store, organize, and manage real-time contact information. One of the fastest-growing segments in the global software market, CRM software is a force accelerator for diverse industries.

Small Businesses

Most small businesses scatter their customer information on excel sheets, notepads, and emails. Hence, they can benefit by investing in CRM technology as it will keep data in a unified repository and help smaller teams engage customers successfully.

Mid-Sized Enterprises

Mid-sized business organizations have a range of marketing and help desk activities and sales that can be managed through CRM software. It is a perfect tool that can help mid-sized firms scale up operations, automate tasks, and drive strategic goals forward.

Large Multinational Organizations

Many multinational firms have more than one of each team, working from scattered geographical locations. A CRM solution can streamline workflow and boost team communication. It ensures the standardization of processes and enhances the free flow of information between offices in different countries.

Why CRM matters to your Business?

As your organization grows, it becomes essential to manage the influx of leads while still providing a personal touch to your customers. If your business wants to last in the competitive market space, you need to have sales targets, customized marketing campaigns, and smart help desk operations. How will your organization manage the various inputs of data flowing in from sales, marketing, help desk, and social media channels to make sense?

An automated CRM system will equip your team to effectively engage with your clients and manage customer interaction in a single-view window. It will provide an all-inclusive platform to manage customer’s voice, email, and chat touch-points with sales representatives. It gives clear visibility on every contact or lead so that your team members can manage different pipeline stages.

A CRM System will be your best investment decision. It leads to:

0%

increase in deal conversion

0%

increase in productivity

0%

increase in customer retention

0%

decrease in labor costs

$ 0

of ROI for every $1 spent

Start with the award-winning Vtiger CRM for a 15-days free trial.

Vtiger is a cloud-based CRM that enables over 300,000 businesses to deliver outstanding customer experiences by breaking barriers between their marketing, sales, and support teams.

Types of CRM Software

Organizations need to explore the differences between the various types of CRM software available in the market. This will help make an informed decision and invest in the most suitable one to meet business requirements.

Operational CRM

The main objective of an operational CRM is to simplify and give structure to all major business processes. The three main pillars of operational CRM solutions are marketing, sales, and service automation. If your company is looking to reduce repetitive tasks and automate key customer-related activities, operational CRM software would be the ideal tool.

Collaborative CRM

Collaborative CRM transfers information between marketing, sales, and service departments. It unites the organization towards strategic goals and increases the synchronicity between team members from various functions. Excellent for businesses with multiple units in different locations as they can boost cross-departmental communication and increase transparency.

Analytical CRM

Data collection and analysis is what makes analytical CRM software highly useful for customer-centric organizations. These systems use data warehousing, mining, and OLAP tools to run targeted marketing campaigns. Analytical CRM software is the best option for companies that want to harness customer information to provide personalized service and increase bottom-line results.

Cloud Vs. On-Premise CRM

Business organizations need to be sure about how they want to deploy CRM technology - Cloud vs. On-premise. Both technologies have their distinct benefits; however, there has been a shift towards the adoption of cloud-based CRM tools in recent years.

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Cloud CRM

Cloud-based CRM software works on the principle of storing data on the vendor’s servers on an external network.


The best things about Cloud CRM software are:

  • No need to worry about hardware or software requirements or maintenance.
  • Keep sensitive company information secure, and there is no risk of data loss or theft.
  • Access vital information anytime, as long as you have an Internet connection.
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On-Premise CRM

On-premise CRM software is hosted on internal business servers.

  • Implementation takes a longer time, and companies also need to have robust IT infrastructure.
  • Businesses need to purchase the license beforehand and assume the costs associated with any future upgrades.

Components of A CRM System

Simply put, CRM systems unify customer information at a centralized place so that businesses can leverage technology to create valuable relationships. Some critical components of advanced CRM software include:

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Lead Management

CRM solutions ensure that you don’t shift through multiple mediums to get information on leads. They provide a one-view window containing all vital lead information such as demographic details, past interactions, deal health, and lead score.

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Marketing Tasks Automation

CRM software can automate routine tasks such as scheduling appointments, sending emails, and handling follow-ups. This saves precious time for team members so that they can focus on achieving strategic business objectives.

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Workflow Management

With the right CRM software, companies can streamline workflow for better results. CRM technology enhances transparency, facilitates communication between team members, and simplifies operations.

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Reports and Analytics

Investing in automated CRM platforms enable businesses to track essential business metrics and trends. CRM software captures real-time data that makes it easy to generate detailed reports for an in-depth analysis of performance parameters.

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Sales Management

Implementing CRM technology can help businesses monitor the entire sales lifecycle, right from the prospect stage to the final conversion. It can manage forecasts and quotas that lead to better decision making and give profound business insights.

Examples of Effective CRM

Sales CRM

Sales CRM systems are designed with the primary purpose of selling products and services. They focus on capturing the entire sales cycle and have sophisticated features to drive conversions.

Operational CRM

Operation CRM tools aim at centralizing customer interaction with the sales and marketing teams. It also focuses on service automation and simplifies workflow by managing all customer touch-points in a single platform.

All-in-One CRM

Fully integrated CRM solutions lead to a single customer view in one window. It provides access to customer information in real-time and helps teams to track leads, increase sales, and manage help desk operations effectively.

Inbound CRM

Inbound CRM solutions are designed to engage and attract leads to convert them to loyal customers. It helps businesses track prospects by source and manage different stages of the pipeline.

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Additional CRM Topics

Businesses need to evaluate their operational model before scanning the market to purchase the ideal CRM system. (Learn more)

Investing in a full-featured CRM software can help businesses leverage many powerful features. It integrates all customer information and handles essential functions, right from inventory to sales pipeline. (Learn more)

No doubt, using CRM tools can prove advantageous for all kinds of business organizations. Find out the primary ways in which CRM can boost bottom-line results. (Learn more)

Buy-in support for CRM implementation by bringing key decision-makers together from the top management, sales, and marketing managers. Assess business requirements with key stakeholders to make an informed decision. (Learn more)

Businesses will need to configure workflows and provide adequate support to staff members to ensure the smooth implementation of a new CRM system. (Learn more)

The CRM journey has come a long way in the past few decades. From merely being a source of data collection, CRM tools can now unify and manage customer interaction. (Learn more)