If you are running your own business with a heavy online presence, customer relationship management (CRM) is probably a phrase you have heard before… if you haven’t, then it is something that you need to pay close attention to.
CRM is a technology used to manage interactions with your customers and potential customers. Most of the time, when referring to CRM, people are talking about CRM software, tools that are used for contact management, sales management, productivity monitoring, and more. When investing in one of the many CRM tools or CRM platforms available, timing is everything. Begin too early and the program could seem overwhelming to you and your staff. Begin too late and you may experience loss of customers and even potentially a bad reputation for poor customer service!
To help you on your way, we have put together this quick guide about when (and why) you should use CRM in your business.
When You Should Use CRM
While there is no ‘rule’ that dictates exactly when you should be considering and possibly using CRM within your business, there are many factors that could be a sign that it is time to use a CRM solution.
Some of these sings include:
• Customers taking longer, sometimes more than week, to make a buying decision; • You have lots of emails that you send to lots of different customers;
• It is taking you longer to create and analyse your marketing campaigns;
• Analytics do not provide you with detailed data on your campaigns anymore; and • You are targeting different demographics and/or target markets.
Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of some of the signs that may signal a need for CRM to be used within your commercial operations.
Generally speaking, most companies begin to use CRM tools as they grow from small start-ups into established businesses. During this period of growth, companies begin to lose their overview of relations with existing and potential customers. As soon as this begins to happen, and your staff begin asking themselves “Who is this person?” or “What was said last time they contacted us?”, companies will either i) make expensive mistakes or ii) invest extra time and energy to keep everything in order… time and energy that can be used elsewhere.
This is where CRM tools come in—they put many aspects of customer retention on ‘autopilot’ and reduce the burden on your staff to remember who all your customers are and keep track of everything to do with them.
Why You Should Use CRM
Now you understand when to use CRM, it is also useful to know why you should. It is all well and good telling you that CRM is important, but you also need to understand why.
1. It helps optimize marketing strategies
Companies like yours are always performing market research looking to target the ideal customer profile, and CRMs help them understand customers’ behaviour and tackle their specific needs. CRM tools help you identify the best time to promote your product or present your services to these customers and use the results that you record to drive further decision making and expand your list of prospects.
2. It makes workloads more efficient
The information delivered by CRM solutions also helps save valuable time that businesses lose when attempting to evaluate customer behaviour. CRM software solutions consolidate the many different methods, practices, and tools required to track customer activity. This gives you and your employees more time to focus on your customers with a more personalised approach that fosters better relationships.
3. It creates better customer relations
Customer-focused businesses are only successful when customers are satisfied, and a great product or service can only go so far in doing this— you need great CRM to get to the next level. CRM will help you organise all your customer-related operations and let you understand what they like, what they dislike, what they expect from you, and how they feel. With this information, you can make more optimised decisions that lead to happy customers.
4. It manages social media activity
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are potential goldmines for businesses that use them properly; they are the ideal places to find your ideal customers and increase sales. Maintaining an active presence alone is hard, though. However, most cloud-based CRM solutions are closely integrated with social platforms and allow automatic posting and easy management of all your profiles from a single platform.
5. It improves cross and upselling
The core goal of CRM is to close deals and lead to more sales, and this is why the best-in-class CRM systems support cross and upselling. In the case of upselling, CRM tools draw intelligence from customers’ buying history to bring similar products to their attention whereas cross-selling suggests potentially complimentary products that a customer may wish to purchase to support their original one.