Ambitious businesses are always looking for new tools, methods and processes to help them grow. This leads many of them to turn to new software, helping them achieve new objectives and boost efficiency across the board. In turn, this facilitates growth and supports larger profits - helping secure a bright future for the business and its stakeholders.
As businesses grow, one common tool they turn to is a CRM system.
But what is a CRM? What does a CRM do? Would your business benefit from one?
We answer all these questions - and more - in this article.
What Does CRM Stand For?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. This is an entire business area, however, the term ‘CRM’ is often used to describe a CRM system - a piece of software designed specifically to help businesses better manage their customer relationships.
What Does a CRM Do?
The overarching goal of a CRM is to help organisations build better customer relationships and streamline the processes associated with this. This helps businesses create a higher volume of high-quality relationships with customers, opening up a broader range of opportunities to sell and generate profit.
To achieve this, CRM systems offer a suite of tools to business users. Most CRMs will differ slightly in the tools they offer and exactly how they work. However, a typical CRM system will include:
- Simple customer data input and output
- Workflow automation (such as connecting with your email system to record conversations with customers)
- Customer service tools
- Workflow delegation tools
- Third-party integrations
- Data analysis and reporting
- Social media management (for customer conversations)
- Sales forecasting tools
- Lead capture, monitoring and analysis
Although CRMs will typically have these standardised tools, many also offer specialist tools. For example, a CRM aimed at manufacturing businesses may include specialist tools for dealing with supplier communication.
Benefits of Using a CRM System
When you look at the functionality that a CRM can offer your business it isn't difficult to see how one could be beneficial. At the top level, a CRM is going to help in three key ways.
Firstly, it is going to help you drastically speed up the key processes that keep your businesses running and profitable. This is primarily achieved through workflow automation and integration with other business tools.
Secondly, it helps you centralise all data. This will support better data quality and ensure that all stakeholders are aware of real-time progress throughout the business. Finally, it is going to help you identify areas of improvement through a single view of truth on several key business areas.
What Can't a CRM Help With?
Although CRMs can do a lot, they typically focus on business relationships with their customers. Therefore, they don’t include tools for processes such as shipping, finance, warehousing and production. For this level of functionality, you would need to turn to an ERP system.
Almost any business could benefit from adopting a CRM system. This is especially true for businesses that have multiple teams or people dealing with customer interaction. Investing in a CRM is likely to provide a considerable ROI through the benefits it provides.