With its roots firmly set in the late 1980s, Customer Relationship Management software has come on leaps and bounds since the digital rolodex and database marketing software of yesteryear. In 1986 ACT! introduced the world to contact management software which allowed users to store and organize customer contact information.
The contact management software that followed from a myriad of suppliers formed the foundations of the CRM software tools we know today. Cloud-based, on-premise, mobile solutions; we’ve now got a veritable sweet shop of options when it comes to choosing a CRM today.
A staggering 30% of companies have admitted to not using any kind of CRM at all and up to 60% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations (Base CRM, 2014). When done properly, CRM systems can boost productivity by a whopping 26%.
Here are 6 serious business benefits of having (and using!) a CRM software.
1. Keep your company organized
One of the biggest selling points of many CRM solutions is the simple advantage of keeping your team and wider company organized. You’ll no longer need to rely on endless spreadsheets, tatty notepads or scribblings on the back of any spare scrap of paper; everything will be stored neatly online for the entire business to sing harmoniously from the same hymn sheet.
The majority of salespeople today are guilty of waiting until a Friday afternoon to complete their admin and update the CRM. Most good CRM systems today now come with a mobile app that means you’re always connected to the pulse of your business. These mobile apps mean that admin can be done in a few taps before they set off for their next appointment. Easy peasy!
2. It’s secure
Your staff can move onto pastures new at any time and in the past, this typically meant they took their little black books, rolodexes and all their customer knowledge with them. A CRM system is your safety net, ensuring that all your valuable customer information remains exactly that, yours. Have your salespeople log their interactions, conversations and action points on a secure, accessible system that will keep your data on lockdown.
What’s more, whether you part company on good or not so good terms, deactivating a user’s account takes no more than a few clicks in most cases.
3. It makes communication easier
Whether communicating internally or with your customers, a CRM system effortlessly empowers you and your colleagues to work smarter. If you’re in marketing, sales, customer success or in the warehouse – a fully accessible CRM system will allow all of your team players to understand a little more about your customers. Marketing can send targeted communications that resound with your audience, sales can make smarter, better informed calls to discuss a new product range and your customer success team will always have a 360-degree view of what’s been said, promised and delivered to each customer.
Get under the skin of your customers, understand their pain ponts and enable your team to build rapport with a few well remembered facts. A CRM tool will enable your employees to keep track of exactly what is going on with your customers. From which salesperson closed the deal to which account manager they have been assigned and what marketing campaigns they might have received.
Allowing your employees to work together as a team, a good CRM system means that you, as a company, will be in a better position to serve your customers.
One of the big benefits of a CRM solution is the ability for your team to self-manage. They no longer need to be instructed on which accounts need follow ups, which need to be called or which are having a few teething pains – most good CRMs allow the user to filter on last call date or flag certain accounts as priority accounts.
On the other hand, using a CRM will allow you to rank your top customers and ensure they are always a priority for your account managers. With fully customizable contact profiles, a CRM system will allow you to build out a full profile for each and every one of your customers. Which leads us nicely onto my next point: smarter, more targeted marketing.
5. Better marketing
Marketers love data, even more so when it’s contact data that is segmented into neat little easy to market to chunks.
Everyone knows that mass marketing tactics are no longer acceptable. Niche marketing is today the only way you can really get your messaging to resound with customers and prospects alike and get them to act on your campaigns. If your customers are in the automotive aftermarket industry, you don’t want to be sending them your latest whitepaper or news from the building industry. It’s just lazy marketing.
That’s where a CRM can help. Storing information which matters to your business about each contact is a game changer for any marketer worth their salt. From their industry to any associated trade associations, primary competitors and even key business challenges – having as well rounded a view of your contacts and what really matters to them is imperative in order for your marketing to stand out amongst the masses.
6. Track customer journey
Using a CRM allows you to monitor the precise movements of your customers – from their first interaction with you through to becoming a customer. Armed with this information, sales, marketing and customer success can determine the effectiveness of each of their respective departments. Maybe you need an extra brochure or case study from marketing for the early prospecting stages? Or perhaps customer success could use a handy FAQ guide to share with their customers to optimise their efforts?
Having access to this kind of information is worth its weight in gold. Not only can you understand what is working well in your sales and post-sales process but you will be able to continue to improve on your processes and optimise your efforts as a team.
A central CRM system means that every step of each customer’s journey is documented, allowing you to create a full profile of each and every customer. What they like, what they don’t like, what they’d change – feedback is king so don’t be afraid to ask for it!