The term ‘CRM’ has been thrown around a lot, especially now as the marketing industry is transforming to adapt to new trends. However, what does CRM stand for?
Customer relationship management, also known as CRM, is precisely what it says it is – a process that helps you manage your interactions with customers and clients. Its core belief is just like its acronym: the customer always comes first. To deliver better customer experience in mind, customer relationship management can help you see things through the eyes of your customers, like their needs, their main problems, and their feedback on your business.
How it works is that CRM brings together all your different departments to give each customer a holistic view and experience with your company. True to its name, integrating CRM into your marketing strategy results in having more customers be loyal to your brand. More than a software, it’s a concept – at its core, it’s a solution that can be applied anywhere, from your website to your social media pages and even telephone calls.
There are many CRM tools available for use around the web, but it’s more than just a solution. In this article, let’s divide it into three categories: CRM as a technology, CRM as a strategy, and CRM as a process.
CRM as a technology
Many CRM tools have appeared as CRM continued to get more traction among businesses. In the most basic sense, a CRM software works by consolidating customer information and documents for easier access – when your employees can easily access customer data and insights, they have a better understanding of what your market needs.
Since its development, many CRM software tools have added more features on top of its basic data collection functions – some allow recording phone calls or automating various workflows like emails, calendars, and alerts. This makes it easier for businesses to keep track of their performance in real time.
There are different types of technology for CRM tools, but these are the ones that are offered the most:
• On-premises CRM
• Cloud-based CRM
• Open source CRM
An on-premises CRM software takes control of the administration and security of the company’s database and information. It integrates itself in the company’s servers – a benefit for companies with complex CRM needs. No monthly or yearly subscriptions are needed here as this kind of CRM tool requires the company to buy licenses upfront.
Cloud-based CRM is the most known product, which is also called on-demand CRM or SaaS (software as a service). It operates under a subscription basis and stores all its data on a remote network, making it accessible to employees everywhere that have an internet connection.
The open source CRM system is source code that’s available to the public, including the feature of adding links on social media channels. This is useful for companies who are more focused on their social media CRM processes.
CRM as a strategy
Besides being software, CRM can also serve as a tool to improve your marketing strategy. Not only will it help you manage your data, but it will also allow you to improve across all your departments, especially if you gather customer feedback. Now in a time where everything is powered by data, it’s essential to adopt a good CRM strategy that works for your business.
Having a sound customer relationship management system means that you retain more customers. Using information gathered from interactions with your customers, you’re able to get a deeper understanding of what they need and what kind of problems they’re experiencing. Besides that, personalizing your marketing emails, a trend that’s been taking over the marketing industry recently, is easier to do. Mass emails aren’t enough to catch your customer’s attention – seeing them being addressed in your email personally makes them feel like you take notice of each one of your customers. Properly utilizing a CRM tool can get you their details like their names so that you can use a more personal approach in your mass emails.
You can also use CRM for creating custom or automated alerts. For example, if a user subscribes to your service and has been inactive for a while, you can trigger an email reminding them of their subscription and asking if they want to continue with you. This way, they remember your business, and you can observe their lifetime value, as well, so you know who wants to receive your alerts and who doesn’t.
Aside from providing genuine customer insights, having good CRM in your marketing strategy can help you improve customer engagement. Knowing the type of content your customers want can help you create more engaging and relatable content. Not only that, but they will also be loyal to your brand and might even share your business with their family, friends, and colleagues. Over time, you will begin to see the positive changes in your overall customer engagement.
CRM as a process
Many blogs are going around about which CRM tool to use and why CRM is good for you. Now, let’s discuss what it entails to integrate CRM as part of your marketing process.
As said above, customer relationship management is more of a concept than a tool. It thrives on the belief that customers come first, meaning that human relations matter to the customers just as much as getting the product or service they paid for. This means that you, as a business, must get CRM to nurture your relationships with your customers.
It’s about practicing good customer relations, like keeping your employees informed on any changes in operations, especially if they’re client-facing. It’s about continuous improvement, taking a step back and looking at what can be improved in your current CRM process – how satisfied are customers about your service? How fast does a complaint get resolved? How many times do they come back to get your service? It never hurts to look at what needs to be improved so your company can deliver great customer experience.
How CRM benefits your business
As established earlier, the key to having a sound CRM system is genuinely understanding that customers always come first. Get rid of the mindset that only big businesses need to have a good customer relationship management system - knowing more about your customers in any way possible is vital for any business, no matter what its size is or which industry it comes from.
If you use a CRM tool, you can experience enhanced efficiency. All your workflows are streamlined along with your data being organized to how you want them to be arranged. This can bring about improved collaboration, in which your different departments can all look at the same data and collaborate on different tasks and workflows. Having a solid CRM process ensures that your employees are working effectively and efficiently while yielding best results.
Integrating customer relationship management helps your employees understand their roles more and have better accountability over their tasks. Now that the data is presented clearly, they will be more aware of their roles and what they need to do to accomplish tasks. Utilizing a good CRM tool will help you and your employees identify which areas to improve when it comes to your customer-facing process.
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