A customer relationship management (CRM) system is an online platform that helps businesses manage and grow relationships with their clients. The system is a central online location that houses all of the information you have about your clients and leads, from their name and contact information to their purchase history and past interactions with your team or content.
CRM tools help you easily answer questions about your sales, marketing, and clients, including:
Most CRMs also enable you to run reports, analyze sales pipelines, and track marketing campaigns — as well as giving you an overview of the health of your business. Let's go over some core benefits of having CRM software.
A CRM system automates or simplifies a lot of the administrative work that goes into client interactions. This includes data entry, taking notes, searching for email chains, and saving contact information. This is a huge time-saver for a lot of businesses, and it allows the service providers to spend more time on their core business functions.
Salespeople can spend more time on conversations, accountants can spend more time helping clients reach their financial goals (especially if they use one of these top 5 CRMs for accountants), and engineers can focus on planning their next big build. Automation means spending more time doing the work you enjoy, and less time on tedious administrative tasks.
CRM systems help team members communicate with one another. For instance, within the system, a salesperson can easily tag their manager and let them know they need their help on closing the deal. Or, a manager can create a task such as Call Client A about X and send it to their team member, tracking the progress of the task as they go.
Sales leaders can also re-assign a lead or a client with just the click of a button. This ease of communication makes for more consistent messaging and a tighter-knit group. Plus, it prevents colleagues from stepping on each others' toes.
A modern CRM will help you and your team give more personalized management to your clients. With access to key information, you can easily personalize your interactions, business plans, and approaches. For instance, if you jotted down a client’s birthday into your CRM, you could send them a card on that day every year. If you set a notification, the CRM will even remind you to do it.
Or, if you are going to a consultation with a client, you can check your CRM first to look over their history. This will help you figure out their potential needs and pain points that you can bring up in the meeting. That way, you aren't racking your brain to remember why they signed with you in the first place.
A CRM can improve scalability by giving you a more standardized method of tracking your client and prospect information. So, if you double the size of your client list in a year, you won't be struggling to keep track of all of your new clients and their preferences, priorities, and needs. Also, managers and sales leaders can use a CRM to spot areas to improve marketing and sales methods, thereby improving scalability.
With the saved data, they can analyze processes and figure out what they are lacking. Perhaps you notice that most of your lost deals often fizzle out during the pricing stage. Then you know you need to improve your value positioning or change the price.
Forecasting enables you and your team to make data-backed decisions and create strategies that work. A CRM database helps you create these accurate sales forecasts by saving sales data and creating reports that inform you on metrics like average deal size, monthly recurring revenue, sales velocity, and much more. With these metrics, you can make better sales forecasts. Accurate forecasts help you develop more effective sales quotas or business goals for your team.
Plus, CRMs help you discern which lead generation tactics are most productive and which are time-sinks, making it easier to fine-tune your selling strategy.
Any business that wants to build long-term relationships with clients should consider using a CRM system. Most service-related businesses use CRM systems because they take in a lot of information about their clients and prospects, and therefore need a place to save and access it. Businesses that commonly rely on CRM tools include:
Which CRMs you choose will depend on your business needs and your target client. There are many types of CRMs. Some specialize in operational analysis, some in increasing sales, and others in improving team communication. To choose the right one for your business, ask yourself a few questions:
After asking yourself these questions, you can start to narrow down your search. Find the CRM software companies that you think would be a good fit and reach out to them to schedule an online demo. Then come up with more questions to ask the sales rep during your meeting. Research shows that buyers value ease-of-use the most when choosing a CRM, so pay close attention to this during demos.
Remember, there is no need to rush the process. Make sure you feel perfectly comfortable with the user interface, functionality, and support offered by a CRM before you make up your mind. You’ll want to read up on the subject, starting with this white paper on the cost of today's poor time-tracking habits.
For help deciding whether or not a CRM is right for you, try out Accelo's free trial. Accelo is an integrated platform that helps small and medium-sized service businesses streamline internal processes and manage client work so that you can spend more time doing the work you love.