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What is CRM?

Manage, track, and store information related to potential customers using a centralised, data-driven software solution.

Defining CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a set of integrated, data-driven software solutions that help manage, track, and store information related to your company’s current and potential customers. By keeping this information in a centralised system, business teams have access to the insights they need, the moment they need them.

Without the support of an integrated CRM solution, your company may miss growth opportunities and lose potential revenue because it’s not optimising operating processes or making the most of customer relationships and sales leads.

What does a CRM do?

Not too long ago, companies tracked customer-related data with spreadsheets, email, address books, and other siloed, often paper-based CRM solutions. A lack of integration and automation prevented people within and across teams from quickly finding and sharing up-to-date information, slowing their ability to create marketing campaigns, pursue new sales leads, and service customers.

Fast forward to today. CRM systems automatically collect a wealth of information about existing and prospective customers. This data includes email addresses, phone numbers, company websites, social media posts, purchase histories, and service and support tickets. The system next integrates the data and generates consolidated profiles to be shared with appropriate teams.

CRM systems also connect with other business tools, including online chat and document sharing apps. In addition, they have built-in business intelligence and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that accelerate administrative tasks and provide actionable insights.

In other words, modern CRM tools give sales, marketing, commerce, field service, and customer service teams immediate visibility into—and access to—everything crucial to developing, improving, and retaining customer relationships.

Some ways you can use CRM capabilities to benefit your company are to:

  1. Monitor each opportunity through the sales funnel for better sales. CRM solutions help track lead-related data, accompanied with insights, so sales and marketing teams can stay organised, understand where each lead is in the sales process, and know who has worked on each opportunity.
  2. Use sales monitoring to get real-time performance data. Link sales data into your CRM solution to provide an immediate, accurate picture of sales. With a real-time view of your pipeline, you’ll be aware of any slowdowns and bottlenecks—or if your team won a major deal.
  3. Plan your next step with insight generation. Focus on what matters most using AI and built-in intelligence to identify the top priorities and how your team can make the most of their time and efforts. For example, sales teams can identify which leads are ready to hand off and which need follow-up.
  4. Optimise workflows with automation. Build sales quotes, gather customer feedback, and send email campaigns with task automation, which helps streamline marketing, sales, and customer service. Thus, helping eliminate repetitive tasks so your team can focus on high-impact activities.
  5. Track customer interactions for greater impact. CRM solutions include features that tap into customer behaviour and surface opportunities for optimisation to help you better understand engagement across various customer touchpoints.
  6. Connect across multiple platforms for superior customer engagement. Whether through live chat, calls, email, or social interactions, CRM solutions help you connect with customers where they are, helping build the trust and loyalty that keeps your customers coming back.
  7. Grow with agility and gain a competitive advantage. A scalable, integrated CRM solution built on a security-rich platform helps meet the ever-changing needs of your business and the marketplace. Quickly launch new marketing, e-commerce, and other initiatives and deliver rapid responses to consumer demands and marketplace conditions.

Why implement a CRM solution?

As you define your CRM strategy and evaluate customer relationship management solutions, look for one that provides a complete view of each customer relationship. You also need a solution that collects relevant data at every customer touchpoint, analyses it, and surfaces the insights intelligently.

Learn how to choose the right CRM for your needs in The CRM Buyer’s Guide for Today’s Business. With the right CRM system, your company helps enhance communications and ensure excellent experiences at each stage of the customer journey, as outlined below:

  • Identify and engage the right customers. Predictive insight and data-driven buyer behaviour helps you learn how to identify, target, and attract the right leads—and then turn them into customers.
  • Improve customer interaction. With a complete view of the customer, every member of the sales team will know a customer’s history, purchasing patterns, and any specific data that’ll help your team provide the most attentive service to each individual customer.
  • Track progress across the customer journey. Knowing where a customer is in your overall sales lifecycle helps you target campaigns and opportunities for the highest engagement.
  • Increase team productivity. Improved visibility and streamlined processes help increase productivity, helping your team focus on what matters most.

How can a CRM help your company?

Companies of all sizes benefit from CRM software. For small businesses seeking to grow, CRM helps automate business processes, freeing employees to focus on higher-value activities. For enterprises, CRM helps simplify and improve even the most complex customer engagements.

Take a closer look at how a CRM system helps benefit your individual business teams.

Marketing teams

Improve your customers’ journey. With the ability to generate multichannel marketing campaigns, nurture sales-ready leads with targeted buyer experiences, and align your teams with planning and real-time tracking tools, you’re able to present curated marketing strategies that’ll resonate with your customers.

As you gain insights into your brand reputation and market through customised dashboards of data analysis, you’re able to prioritise the leads that matter most to your business and adapt quickly with insights and business decisions fuelled by the results of targeted, automated processes.

Sales teams

Empower sellers to engage with customers to truly understand their needs, and effectively win more deals. As the business grows, finding the right prospects and customers with targeted sales strategies becomes easier, resulting in a successful plan of action for the next step in your pipeline.

Building a smarter selling strategy with embedded insights helps foster relationships, boost productivity, accelerate sales performances, and innovate with a modern and adaptable platform. And by using AI capabilities that can measure past and present leading indicators, you can track customer relationships from start to finish and automate sales execution with contextual prompts that delivers a personalised experience and aligns with the buyer’s journey anytime, anywhere.

Customer service teams

Provide customers with an effortless omnichannel experience. With the use of service bots, your customer service teams will have the tools to be able to deliver value and improve engagement with every interaction. Offering personalised services, agents can upsell or cross-sell using relevant, contextual data, and based on feedback, surveys, and social listening, optimise their resources based on real-time service trends.

In delivering a guided, intelligent service supported on all channels, customers can connect with agents easily and quickly resolve their issues, resulting in a first-class customer experience.

Field service teams

Empower your agents to create a better in-person experience. By implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) into your operations, you’re able to detect problems faster—automate work orders, schedule, and dispatch technicians in just a few clicks. By streamlining scheduling and stock management, you can boost onsite efficiency, deliver a more personalised service, and reduce costs.

By providing transparent communications with real-time technician location tracking, appointment reminders, quotes, contracts, and scheduling information, customers stay connected to your field agents and build trust with your business.

Project service automation teams

Improve your profitability with integrated planning tools and analytics that help build your customer-centric delivery model. By gaining transparency into costs and revenue using robust project planning capabilities and intuitive dashboards, you’re able to anticipate demands, determine resources capacity, and forecast project profitability.

And with the ability to measure utilisation with real-time dashboards, you can empower your service professionals to apply those insights to their own workflows and optimise resources at any given time. With visibility into those insights, teams are more likely to simplify processes internally, seamlessly collaborate, and increase productivity.

Why use Dynamics 365 for your CRM solution?

With Dynamics 365, you get a flexible and customisable solution suited to your business requirements. Choose a standalone application to meet the needs of a specific line of business or use multiple CRM applications that work together as a powerful, comprehensive solution.