How to get the most out of CRM software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software isn’t just about sales and service automation. It’s also how to engage with customers, anticipate their journey, and exceed their needs.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed researching the best CRM solution to implement, here are a few tips and tools to help you find the best software for you, your customers, and your business.
What is CRM software?
CRM is a category of software solutions that spans different customer management systems—such as sales, service, and marketing—and allows them to work together. It streamlines your business processes and connects customer data to help you build relationships, increase productivity, and improve customer engagement.
After you’ve done a little research, you’ll have a good idea what your customers are looking for as well as the tools you should provide to your agents to help them do their jobs better.
Is a customer relationship management solution right for your business?
CRM solutions help streamline workflows, increase collaboration, improve communication, and deliver a better customer experience for businesses of every size. CRM systems are no longer just a tool for large corporations—smaller businesses can find solutions that fit their needs and grow with them. A customer relationship management solution could be a great fit if your business could benefit from a single, centralized way to:
- Get a holistic view of customers.
- Connect sales and marketing.
- Close more deals.
Know how CRM software works together
An effective customer relationship management tool assists with the automation of tasks, offers insights, and improves customer service. It should cover the basic tasks your company requires, while ensuring each component integrates and collaborates with one another. Here are three scenarios of how a modern CRM system can help you optimize and connect your sales, marketing, and service organizations.
Align sales and marketing
Sales and marketing components can work together to help you better understand a customer’s needs and address those needs through the right marketing channels. Some of the ways these two functions can work together to help you are:
- Connecting with buyers at the right time and through their preferred channels.
- Determining what types of messages to send to customers and when to deliver them.
- Prioritizing and nurturing the right leads, ensuring a smooth hand-off from marketing to sales.
Increase sales productivity
The right CRM software allows your sales team to find and prioritize the right leads and deliver insights when and where your sales teams engage with customers. These systems can work together to:
- Predict future sales and budgets so you can plan accordingly.
- Help your agents streamline the sales process—from initial contact to closing the deal.
- Have client data centralized so that agents have access to real-time information and can deliver solutions quicker.
- Offer your sales staff mobility options that work across browsers and devices.
Build better customer relationships
Bringing customer service and sales together helps you determine and predict your customers’ preferences and makes it easier for your buyers to interact and trust doing business with you. When these two solutions combine, they can help you:
- Get insights into your customers’ journey so you can meet their expectations.
- Provide mobile applications for your clients and staff no matter what device they’re using.
- Offer customers an easy-to-use, self-service portal so they can be in control of their data and quickly find answers to their questions.
Learn about additional CRM software benefits
Get an end-to-end view of your customers
Turn data into insights to keep your current customers happy or connect with new prospects. Other benefits include the ability to:
- Track past customer sales and purchase history.
- Offer benefits to loyal customers.
- Identify future leads.
Use a common platform
CRM takes disparate customer relationship software functions and brings them all together for seamless management. Other common platform benefits are:
- Customizable dashboards that offer up-to-date business intelligence.
- Centralized customer data, whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud.
- Options that enable growth into other global markets.
- Easy integration with other software solutions.
Get visibility into customers
The more you know your customer’s preferences, the more likely you are to gain their trust and, eventually, their loyalty. Giving your team visibility into what makes customers tick will give you the inside edge over the competition. Put the customer at the center of your business with CRM software that helps you:
- Create customized messages for customers according to their needs.
- Set up prompts so agents (in the office and field) know how often a customer has been contacted and what information they have received.
- Learn about how customers prefer to be contacted: social, email, text, or phone.
Offer customer portals
Online self-service portals put customers in control of their data, help them learn about product information, and let them track account activity. Companies have grown to realize that as vital as it is to provide their staff with an online company portal, offering it to clients makes it easier to engage with them as well. Here are three other reasons why customer portals for clients make sense:
- Clients can create and review requests. Whether it’s a request for support or order information, you can set up your client portal so your customers get quick and easy answers. It also cuts down on the number of times that they have to reach out to you to troubleshoot issues.
- Your customers take charge of their data. Put your customers in charge of updating their own information. Not only will their data be more accurate, you’ll also be able to take client data management off your staff’s to-do list.
- Automated contact. Contact form information used to be dumped into a database, waiting to be accessed by staff when they needed it. You can now automate contact forms for quick customer response, and to kick off nurture campaigns and workflows, too.
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