A system that helps you stay in touch with customers, streamline processes and improve profitability.Here I explain exactly what CRM means, how it works and what benefits you can enjoy if you decide to use it in your business.
Organize and understand the data and information is a key responsibility for any role within your company.
The problem is that the amount of detail you need to keep track of is considerable-with the many online channels and the different ways customers can interact on each of them, the data is often broken down into multiple tools, making it difficult to get a complete picture of your audience and target them in a meaningful way.
As your business grows, relying on spreadsheets and notes scattered all over the place becomes almost impossible.
Not only does this type of system take time and energy to manage well, but you also risk overlooking important details that could prevent you from providing people with a certain type of shopping experience.
You don't want that to happen, do you?
Of course not.
Yes, I know what you're thinking, "Okay, it's like using a spreadsheet. What does a CRM do that a spreadsheet can't do?"
You'll find out the answer by reading the article, in the meantime, suffice it to know that only through a CRM would you be able to track more complex and dynamic information (such as which e-mail opened a contact, what pages he or she visited on your website, or the date of his or her last purchase) and, most importantly, that they update automatically as your leads and customers take action.
CRM can be of great help to you in a variety of areas, including in marketing: it can support you in understanding your audience better and developing campaigns more effectively and intelligently.
That said, let's go into detail: in this article I explain what exactly CRM is, how it works, and why you should definitely use it to support your business development.
CRM meaning: what is it all about?
CRM is an acronym that stands for Customer Relationship Management (literally translated as "customer relationship management") and is the combination of practices, strategies and technologies useful for collecting, analyzing and managing your customers' data throughout their entire lifecycle.
The purpose of this approach allows you to build, improve and manage relationships with each of them, using them to your advantage.
A CRM can thus refer to:
- A strategy;
- a process;
- A technology.
CRM as a strategy indicates the philosophy general with which you manage relationships, which generally includes goals to increase the loyalty, sales, and profitability. The CRM strategy focuses on putting customers' needs first and providing a better, more personalized experience.
CRM as a process is consequently the system you adopt to cultivate and manage such interactions.
Finally, CRM as technology is the product that analyzes them: it is software that helps you collect, organize, and analyze data from lead and customers, to better manage all exchanges and communications, so as to optimize business processes.
To summarize, we can therefore say that CRM includes all the aspects that define how you interact with customers, but more commonly it refers to the technology used to manage those relationships, with the overall goal of offering value propositions more engaging and foster business growth.
CRM meaning: how does it work?
So when we talk about CRM, we usually refer to a tool used for contact or sales management, with a very simple goal: to improve business relationships to grow your business.
When data from current and potential customers are collected and stored in such a system, in fact, tracking information at each touch point in the customer journey (details shared through forms, marketing campaigns, customer service, purchasing templates) can help you meet their needs and do marketing smarter.
With a CRM platform, a customer's details and preferences are recorded and their activity is tracked-this allows you to offer them a fully personalized and consistent experience every time.
But how exactly does a CRM system work and what does it do?
In short, CRM systems act as a hub for organizing and making sense of valuable data and information, providing all the tools you need to relate to the people important to your business.
This function can look very different among departments. For example, a CRM can:
- help sales representatives quickly see past interactions and purchases before making a phone call;
- Provide support teams with the basic and contact information needed to provide excellent customer service;
- give marketers access to details that will help them better target campaigns.
Of CRMs there are several and each has its own functionality; in general these may include:
- Reporting and dashboards: a CRM offers the ability to visualize important trends and business metrics;
- Sales management: with CRM software, you can monitor the sales process from the initial lead stage to the final conversion stage;
- Marketing campaign management: a CRM software allows you to manage campaigns from start to finish using automated workflows where necessary;
- Service management: CRM software manages service delivery from pre-purchase to delivery and contract renewal.
In addition, a CRM also helps you to:
- Increase revenue by providing you with information and insights that you can use to identify more sales opportunities;
- Easily segment customers based on purchase indicators such as history, demographics, engagement and interest level, etc;
- Aligning departments, including marketing, customer service and sales teams, creating collaboration and harmony within the workforce and increasing productivity.
CRM and Inbound Marketing: a practical example
A good CRM does not stop at information gathering.
It helps you leverage all this data to:
- Send the right messages at the right time to leads and customers;
- Focus sales efforts on the most attractive potential customers;
- Shortening the sales cycle;
- Monitor, analyze and improve results.
A CRM absorbs as much information as possible about leads before guiding them, or helping to guide them, through a planned journey toward purchase.
Let's take a practical example.
Suppose you are a real estate agent and you are trying to expand your contact list by offering a free training course on buying a home.
Launch a Facebook ad campaign that links to a course registration page with questions about desired location, property type, price range, and timing.
The responses of each lead will trigger different automated follow-up communications From you.
A lead who would like to purchase a home within two months in your service area would be labeled a "hot lead" and would enter an accelerated communication sequence.
A lead whose purchase period is six months would be labeled "long-term" and receive a series of e-mails containing various resources in order to keep you in pole position until the lead is ready to purchase. The CRM could also create a follow-up activity to contact the lead tot months later.
Leads whose target purchase location is outside your area will be marked as such and will receive only course-related communications.
What are the different types of CRM systems?
CRMs can be divided into several categories based on the type of function they perform: operation, analysis, and collaboration.
Operational CRM systems collect and leverage data to automate marketing, sales, and customer service activities.
Some examples of operational CRM processes include scheduling emails and meetings, setting up chatbots, and creating a customer service ticketing system.
You should consider this type of CRM if your sales process is fairly straightforward or if eliminating recurring tasks would allow employees to focus on improving the customer experience.
Analytical CRM systems allow you to use data such as customer interaction history, preferences, and contact information to better understand their behavior and modify business processes in order to achieve desired results.
You should consider this type of CRM if your business is service-oriented or account-based.
Collaborative CRM systems help marketing, sales and service teams break out of their boundaries by comparing data on customer interactions. This provides a more complete picture of each individual's wants and needs, as well as how they prefer to interact with the company.
Examples of collaborative CRM processes include interaction management, which tracks communications across multiple channels, and channel management itself, which uses this data to help you decide how to engage users.
You should consider this type of CRM if your employees are located in different geographic locations or if your customers' interactions with your company are primarily digital.
Why CRM is important: 5 benefits
We've said it: a CRM system helps you streamline processes, build relationships, improve customer service, and increase sales and profitability.
This is because of the ability to manage interactions with customers throughout their entire lifecycle, in every marketing, sales, e-commerce and service interaction.
CRM software also helps you streamline processes and workflows so that every part of the company is on the same page. Sales and marketing teams, in particular, rely on CRM to create collaboration and improve their productivity.
That said, let's summarize the main advantages of using a CRM:
#1 Improved customer experience
In the modern technological world, a customer expects more from your company than just a reasonably priced, high-quality product or service. They want to feel understood and want an engaging and personalized experience every time they come in contact with you.
It is much easier to offer a positive buying experience when you know a lot about your potential customer. Seeing at a glance every blog post, email and ebook they have opened and/or read, for example, gives you a major advantage.
#2 Loyalty and lasting relationships.
A company's customer base is one of its greatest resources, if not THE greatest. Therefore, this resource deserves rigorous management and supervision.
A CRM captures and archives each customer's journey from start to finish: By knowing their preferences, you can understand their needs, and ultimately, by giving them what they need, you can gain their loyalty in return, as well as establish lasting relationships.
Satisfied and engaged customers are more likely to return to your business for further purchases and Recommend your products or services to their friends and family members.
#3 Increased productivity
With a CRM you can automate various activities and, as a result, focus your efforts there where it is smarter to do so.
Whether it's planning follow-up activities, sending email campaigns or assigning contacts to a new sales representative, you can ensure that all members of your team follow the same process from start to finish and eliminate the need for repetitive manual labor.
The result? You save time and promote consistency.
#4 Increased collaboration
Typically, the marketing team, sales representatives, customer service managers, and other departments involving user relations are separate units within a company (sometimes even geographically).
To simplify the customer experience, it is important to be able to share information within the organization in real time: integrating data from different functions through a CRM allows you to maximize effectiveness through collaboration.
Collaborative CRM systems ensure that marketing, sales, and service data are combined so that all departments are up-to-date, providing a smoother and more seamless customer experience.
#5 Targeted messages
By leveraging the capabilities of a CRM, you can get a clearer picture of the people you are talking to and keep track of any changes as your business continues to grow and evolve.
This means you can personalize your messages and provide more value from the start.
By using the data to create the targeted messages, it is easier to send contents that turn out to be important to recipients, making it more likely that they will continue to pay attention to you. Especially for small businesses that rely heavily on marketing to positioning one's brand, tailoring communication to specific segments is critical to ensure you don't overload your audience.
How to choose the right CRM for you
The specific CRM needs you may have will vary depending on how your company operates and sells to customers; therefore, you should always take the time to understand what your strategy will look like based on your goals.
Here are four key questions to ask yourself in evaluating the best CRM for you:
What will you use it for (marketing, sales, etc.)? Consider everyone in your organization who could benefit from access to customer information (whether just for visibility or to use the data for a specific purpose) to find a tool that meets what you need.
How much complexity do you need to get started? Keep in mind that you probably won't be able to create a complex CRM strategy overnight. Find a tool that allows a simplified approach, so you can adapt your strategy and gradually add complexity as you learn new things.
What marketing channels do you use to talk to your audience? Find a tool that integrates directly with the channels you use most, so that you can quickly turn information into action and avoid losing it.
Will CRM be able to accompany you as you grow? As time goes on, you will find new ways to use audience reports and automate processes, so it is important to find a tool that allows you to add this functionality as soon as you want to do so.
An excellent choice: Kajabi
Kajabi is an all-in-one marketing platform, a robust system with all the tools needed to start and grow a digital business.
Kajabi is well known among creators selling online courses, but it is also, and more importantly, a powerful platform designed to help entrepreneurs build a full-fledged web business without having to have any special technical skills.
Why am I telling you about it here?
Because one of its many features is "People," which essentially makes it a CRM, allowing you to create and manage a productive customer list. You can in fact launch marketing campaigns, make customized offers, and ultimately increase conversion levels.
Kajabi's CRM basically helps you view, access, and manage your contact information; it allows you to perform various actions, including segmenting and filtering your customer list. You can also perform collective actions, such as subscribing to an email sequence, deleting, and so on, on multiple contacts at once.
In particular, with the tag feature you can add tags to your filters and segments: this allows you to organize and categorize your list more efficiently-which is especially useful when running email marketing campaigns and setting up automations .
Ultimately, Kajabi's CRM offers many advanced features to help you get to know your customers better and maximize your revenue by providing customized products and services.
So it seems clear to me: CRM is important because it enables you to create more meaningful and profitable relationships with customers, users, colleagues, partners and suppliers.
CRM improves sales forecasting and productivity, increases customer retention, enables accurate sales reporting, maximizes the ROI Of marketing and improves service.
Although traditionally seen as a sales tool, it can offer significant benefits throughout the organization, from human resources to customer service.
What about you, are you already using it?
Let me know in the comments!