If you’re running a business, you’ve most likely come across the acronym CRM, which means customer relationship management. The term first coined in the 1990s simply means managing customer relations. Today CRM is used to describe client management systems & software, the IT systems used to manage this relationship.
Client management software is more than just a simple customer contact management software, but a powerful tool that allows you to manage marketing, sales, accounting, POS (point-of-sale), vendor and a plethora of other operational data, all in one simplified and easily accessible solution. To define CRM from a growth standpoint, this range of tools is all about people, and allows you to find leads, follow up with potential customers, and even maintain customer loyalty by storing key information in an effort to boost sales by personalizing the whole buying and checkout experience.
The core functionality of customer relationship management software is to keep information from different sources organized so that they are easily accessible when you need them. There are a few small and large-scale businesses that often resort to traditional email, mobile and other address books, and although these methods are great, they fail as long-term sustainable solutions. Customer service and customer care management software allows you to store and manage valuable customer information such as purchase histories, contact information, and even how they browse your website, personal preferences, interests, demographics and a whole lot more.
But customer lifecycle management aka CRM software is much more robust, and even serves as a contact management system for third parties you may depend on to keep your business moving such as affiliates, vendors, business partners and more. The CRM umbrella can include several other tools such as:
Now that we’ve clearly defined what is customer relationship management software, the big question you may be asking when deciding whether to adopt a CRM tool for your business is: Do you really need a CRM system? Not unless you're serious about your business! Eventually your business will scale beyond the needs of a spreadsheet, and a customer relationship management software will come to the rescue.
Tracking five or even ten customer interactions is feasible, but as your business grows and you find yourself dealing with 20, 50 or even hundreds of customers, you will definitely wish for a better way to get things done efficiently, with a CRM. Client management software has the ability to automatically keep track of your potential and current customer data so you can focus on other important areas of your business. This is the biggest reason a client management system is highly recommended for businesses big and small.
When it comes to customer service and support, client management systems are effective tools for several reasons. For starters, this range of customer satisfaction tools allows businesses to engage with customers from anywhere, anytime and any device, instead of queuing on the phone. Most CRM tools are outfitted with a variety of features and functions to help boost businesses productivity, and communicate with their customers on a personal level.
Social media is another effective marketing tool for businesses, and many CRM systems allow business owners and agents to identify key social media influencers, and even determine marketing insights with onsite CRM system analytics. This is logically referred to as Social CRM.
There are several new terms you may come across when using a CRM tool. Some common ones are listed below.
In addition to all these functionalities, it’s important to find a CRM that works for your team. You can quickly turn off potential customers or disregard customer care when more than one sales rep is constantly nagging a contact. By logging all this information, reps take better ownership of their customers and leads creating lasting brand and customer loyalty.
When choosing a CRM system, you will be spoilt for choice, but there are few things to consider when reading customer relationship management app reviews.
Ease of Use – just like any other new technology, you will have to train yourself and your employees to use a client management system. When reading CRM app reviews, pay close attention to user experience with the CRM in regards to initial setup, user interface and features. There are a few CRM systems that are complicated so it is best to diligently read the customer relationship management PDF to acquaint yourself with the system. Ask your team what they need to get started and take note of any onboarding processes the business software has in place.
Size of Your Business - there are hundreds of CRMs out there. Some are meant for small businesses with under 500 contacts, while others are internal resources for Fortune 500 companies. Typically customer relationship management solutions make it clear on their homepage who their target audience is. Still in doubt? Look at their app reviews and customer testimonials to see if the companies they are touting are similar to yours.
Customization – as indicated by many CRM app reviews, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for any business. Customization largely depends on the features you need to fulfill your business goals. For example, some customer relationship management platforms offer several packages based on the features you need, which will consequently help you cut down on costs of buying a CRM system with all the bells and whistles. Customization can also include expanded capabilities such as themes, plugins, extensions and templates tailored specifically for your business.
Third-Party Integration – CRM systems work with many types of third-party solutions in order to streamline your data to other areas of your business. This simply eradicates the need to manually import and export your data. For example, it may be a good idea to link your customer management software and accounting software or POS system to save time spent on performing tasks that could otherwise be automated.
Niche-Based Client Management System – perfect for businesses that deal with a specialized industry or service so for example using a CRM system that complies with financial regulations if you’re in the financial sector. There are also CRM systems that are specifically designed for retailers, restaurants, real estate and more.
Cloud-Based Client Management System – this range of CRM system provides instant access to your data no matter where you are. When selecting a cloud based CRM system, it is best to avoid those described as “On Premise” as these CRM systems will only allow you to access your data from the location where the software is installed. A CRM with an app is great if your sales team is on the road.
Security – probably one of the most important aspects to consider when determining which CRM system to buy, the CRM you choose must have top-notch security features in order to prevent data loss and more seriously cyber attacks.
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Investing in the right customer relationship management system may seem overwhelming considering the multitude of options available! But we’re here to sort through the array of options to find you the perfect tool for your business so get in touch with us and call our toll free number 1-888-SOFTWARE to talk to our specialists.
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