What Is Customer Relationship Management? A Detailed Guide

For any firm, sales are the lifeblood. Nothing happens until you sell something. With that in mind, it’s no wonder firms invest in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which deliver up to 41% increase in revenue per salesperson.

Nurturing better customer and stakeholder relations positions your firm as a preferred partner, which builds greater loyalty. But for you to generate this value, you need to gain a better handle on CRM.

Here’s a detailed guide to help you understand what CRM is all about

What’s Customer Relationship Management?

CRM refers to the technology suite you use to manage relationships between your current and future customers.

With CRM, the overarching goal is simple – better your relationships with customers and other individuals. Every effort and investment you make should drive to this goal.

CRM gives you a central system through which you can organize all the data relating to your leads, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

Through agile CRM can streamline your sales, marketing, and customer care (more info here).

In the beginning, it’s relatively easy to manage your customer as you are not dealing with many relationships.

However, as you bring more clients, leads, and stakeholders on board, things become complicated. The data you accumulate will need a more robust system to manage.

Who Is CRM Best Suited For?

Practically any organization can deploy and find value in CRM. As long as your firm needs to streamline sales, customer care, suppliers, customers, and the like, CRM can be of great benefit.

For example, does your firm need to maintain a centralized data list on leads and customers (which business doesn’t?)? CRM helps you more efficiently run that process.

Do you have a customer care team where several workers interact with various customers?

You need a CRM system to avoid repetitive interactions when a client reaches out to a different customer care representative.

Maintaining an information base that representatives can refer to and pick up the conversation with a customer from where the last rep left it off at is vital.

When Is the Best Time to Adopt CRM?

So you think your organization could benefit from investing in CRM. But when do you need to take the system on?

With any organization, this question becomes a pressing matter when you can no longer manage your information on spreadsheets.

Whenever the lack of immediate visibility into the necessary information hits, there’s pressure to figure out a better way.

Let’s not mention that time when an employee decided to leave, and you lost some sales because they used to manage the data.

It’s simple.

You are better off adopting a CRM system as early as possible instead of waiting for such complexities to set in.

If you wait till you can’t get by on several spreadsheets anymore, you’ll have suffered opportunity costs due to lost information.

Furthermore, the effort it will take to shift and reorganize all the data in a new system takes the team’s eyes off the ball.

You’re much better off starting with CRM at the earliest stage and growing into it as you scale and generate more information.

How Much Does CRM Cost?

First off, there are no fixed prices for CRM solutions. What you pay will depend on several factors.

Many providers will charge you a per-user fee. For example, if the charge is $50 per user and you have six users, you’ll pay $300 for the service.

Other CRM providers will ask you to pay based on functionality. For example, you can find a solution charging $50 per user, per period for company, client, and deal management.

If you pay an extra $50, you can add on another set of functionalities.

Some CRM solutions charge for extra data, and these come in various structured packages.

For example, you may be expected to pay on a per-record basis. In this case, say for every 1,000 people you add to your database, there is a price attached.

Other providers will charge you based on the amount of storage you take up. For example, you can find a CRM system charging you a particular fee for every 5GB of storage you consume.

What Does CRM Do for Your Firm?

With a CRM system, you can find more clients, win new business, and continue making your customers happy.

Through the efficient organization of customer or prospect information, you can develop ways to nurture stronger relationships that result in robust sales.

A CRM system will begin by collecting a customer’s website, email, social media information, and phone number across several channels and sources.

The system will go a step further to crawl more customer data from their organization’s latest news. The CRM also records a level of personal information relating to a customer, such as their preferred means of communication.

Once you input all the necessary information, the system will categorize it.

You then have a total data record of the customer and their company to enable you to unlock more value from that relationship in time.

Quality CRM systems also integrate with other business tools oriented toward customer development. These include document signing apps, billing and accounting systems, and surveys.

The 360-degree view of your customer due to data flowing both ways is critical in better decision making and operations.

In addition to all this, new generation CRM capabilities introduce artificial intelligence (AI) to automate your operations further.

AI helps the CRM system automate the more manual tasks so you can focus on mission-critical issues. Therefore, administrative tasks like data entry, service case routing, among others, fall to the built-in intelligence capability.

The AI also helps generate and surface insights to help you better understand your clients.

Some CRM systems can predict how your clients or prospects might feel to enable you to better prepare for the engagement.

Build Better Client Relationships

The health of your client relationships impacts the revenue you bring in. CRM is critical in enabling high-quality relationship management through organizing data you need to best serve your customers, leads, and other stakeholders. Before you invest in a CRM system, conduct in-depth research on your options to find which works best for your firm.

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