A Guide to Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
5 min read
Understanding your customers and building strong relationships is key to business success. Managing that process, understanding the customer journey, the types of communications to have and when to have them can be a minefield. That is where CRM can support.
What Is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It is the process by which companies build meaningful relationships, drive growth, and improve overall efficiency. This can be done in several ways as businesses grow but uses specialised software to manage customer relationships.
Companies use CRM for many reasons, but generally, CRM focuses on improving customer relationships, enhancing sales processes, and maximising the value of customer data. That could mean engaging with targeted audiences through email, SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications or website forms.
Why Should A Company Invest In CRM?
At the core of CRM lies the ability to consolidate and organise customer data into a single, accessible platform. This provides companies with an understanding of their customers’ behaviour patterns, preferences, interests and demographics. With this knowledge, companies can adapt their strategies to meet individual needs and deliver personalised content, promotions and interactions.
CRM systems empower companies to engage with customers across multiple channels, leading to a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. This level of engagement creates brand loyalty and encourages repeat business, driving growth. In turn, this will increase customer satisfaction, resulting in them becoming repeat customers, lifetime customers or brand advocates.
Additionally, CRM provides in-depth analytics and insights, enabling forecasting and more strategic decision-making.
How CRM Works
CRM works by collecting data on your customers, achieved from various sources. Data can include contact information, purchase history, communication history, social media interactions, etc. Data can be manually entered, imported from existing databases or automatically captured through website forms, email integrations and other sources.
The collected data is stored in a database, which can then be segmented into different segments. Customers can be segmented based on various criteria such as demographics, purchase history or engagement. This segmentation enables targeted marketing and personalised communication.
CRM tracks and records customer interactions; this historical data can be used to analyse customer data in order to gain insights into customer behaviour, trends and performance metrics. This analysis can help companies make informed decisions and help with planning.
CRM also provides automation, which can streamline communication as well as increase interactions with the database. Automation can be set to automated email responses, lead triggers and more. Thus improving efficiency and freeing up valuable time.
The Benefits of CRM
Improved Customer Relationships
CRM helps companies build and maintain stronger relationships with their customers and track customer interactions by personalising interactions, providing a better understanding of customer needs and more effective communication. Thus improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
More Effective Marketing Campaigns
Companies can create personalised and targeted marketing campaigns with access to customer data and insights. CRM systems enable the segmentation of customers based on their preferences and behaviours. This leads to more relevant and effective marketing, leading to higher conversion rates and increased sales. By analysing the data, companies can gain insights into customer behaviours, trends and performance metrics, helping them make informed decisions and better planning for future demand.
Data and Segmentation
All customer data is stored in one central database, ensuring that accurate information is available. This enables companies to segment their customer base based on various criteria, allowing for more targeted and personalised marketing communication. With all the data stored in one central place, interactions can be automated, increasing interaction and keeping the company in mind.
CRM can assist sales teams with managing leads and opportunities. With a better understanding of customer preferences and purchasing history, companies can identify opportunities for cross-selling and upselling additional products or services. Satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand and improve retention rates.
When Should You Consider Using A CRM?
Now that you know what CRM is, you may be thinking that CRM is in your company’s future. The question is then, when?
Many small businesses start simply. An email marketing tool is the first point of call to store leads, and a spreadsheet for a list of customers. That works fine… for a while. As companies begin to grow, these disjointed methods can make it tough to keep track of everything.
When you store your information in different places, it can
- Discrepancies between different databases.
- Make it challenging to visualise how contacts or companies are connected.
- Create roadblocks that slow progress
Furthermore, software such as spreadsheets does not allow you to
- Update information in real-time
- Integrate with your apps or website
- Track how your customers interact with your website.
With a focused CRM software and expert, all of the above is possible.
A CRM also helps with internal visibility. Without a CRM, you rely on people to close deals and regularly update the team on communications between your business and potential clients.
Let’s say for example, you have been emailing a prospect for a few weeks. Each of these emails would need to be saved somewhere accessible to the team, along with their responses. This is time-consuming and is open to human error.
A CRM removes this process and saves everyone time by collating everything and allowing the next teammate to jump in with all of the information needed.
In short, the answer for most companies is that sooner is better than later. While you may be able to get by without a CRM system, adopting one sooner is better than waiting until you feel the pain of a solution you’ve outgrown.=
What CRM Software Is Available?
There are many different CRM software available. While they share many similarities for helping you improve your customer experience and journey, they differ on ease of use, features and price.
Some of the main ones include
- Zen Desk
You can learn more about these from this useful guide from PC Magazine, and the great Digital Marketing Podcast also has a few helpful hints and tips to help you make an informed decision.
Start Your CRM Journey
Now that you understand CRM better and decided to implement it into your business, we get to the next question: now what?
It can be daunting knowing where to begin, What steps to take or what to focus on.
Our CRM experts are here to help, so why not get in contact so we can support you on your CRM journey.
A few basic terms to understand CRM better.
Open rate – The Percentage of people who opened the email.
Click rate – The percentage of people who actually clicked on a link in the opened email.
Conversion – When a successful sale is made.
Lead – A potential customer who has shown interest in a product or service but has not made a purchase.
Contact – A customer that is stored in the database with all their relevant information.
Segmentation – Dividing customers into segments based on demographics, behaviour or purchase history.
User Experience (UX) – the experience a user has when visiting and using your website, app and service in general.
Customer Journey – The connected experiences and interactions from start to finish that either lead to a purchase or abandonment before a purchase takes place