CRM software is like the cool kid on the block. It’s flashy, gets loads of attention and has a promising future. So, why all the hype? Investing in a CRM solution may seem like an obvious choice, but does it make sense for your company? We’ll look at some advantages of CRM to help answer that question.
Today’s business environment is fiercely competitive. Companies fight for the same customers. And those customers have come to expect fast service, personalized interactions and a seamless journey — all with shrinking attention spans and tenuous loyalty.
Enter CRM solutions. CRM is an essential tool if you want your business to flourish. The catalyst for growth, if you will. It lets you connect with customers across every major touchpoint: marketing, sales and service.
Let’s go over some specific benefits of CRM systems to find out what the right one can do for your company.
7 Advantages of CRM Software
Since every company is unique, each one will see different benefits and varying levels of impact. That said, the list below represents some of the most common benefits of CRM software. So it’s a safe bet these apply to your situation.
1. Retain More Customers
It’s easy to think attracting new customers is the most important thing you can do for your business.
In truth, customer retention is where you’ll find the greatest impact.
Plenty of statistics have shown the value of customer retention (see the article linked above for some examples). It’s even the central player in overall growth, says Shantanu Narayen, Adobe’s CEO.
How does CRM make a difference? It’s simple: it helps you manage your customer relationships at every stage and touchpoint.
A lot of the CRM advantages we’ll look at below contribute in some way to driving customer retention. You’re able to provide better service, streamline processes and so on.
However, here are a couple specific ways CRM helps keep those customers coming back:
- Loyalty programs, which let you reward your most committed customers with special offers and content
- Customer insights, which show you the customers most likely to leave so you can re-engage them to reduce churn rates
- Surveys for gathering customer sentiment and measuring satisfaction
- Multi-channel support, so you can offer personalized content whether customers are on their phone, at a physical store, or surfing the internet on their laptop or desktop
These features all contribute to the goal of giving your customers the best experience possible. When you invest in your customers, they’re more likely to invest in you by buying more and staying loyal for longer.
That’s what every business wants — satisfied, reliable customers.
2. Communicate and Collaborate Across Teams
When a business is large enough to establish separate departments, proper coordination often becomes difficult. CRM software is designed to improve collaboration throughout the entire internal process.
This prevents sales, marketing and service teams from operating in silos. Here’s an illustration of the difference:
A lead enters the system. Marketing tries to nurture the lead down the funnel but isn’t quite sure what he’s after. They try some campaigns without much result.
Eventually, he reaches the sales-ready stage. But without any context, the rep’s calls aren’t relevant and start to become annoying. The lead persists and becomes a customer anyway.
Now it’s up to the service team to keep the new customer happy and engaged. When a problem crops up and the customer creates a ticket, the service team doesn’t have any historical context based on his interactions with marketing and sales. They spend 15 minutes searching for info and asking questions they should already know the answer to. He’s so frustrated with the slow service that he walks out the figurative door — a victim of the dreaded customer churn.
That scenario isn’t the status quo, but you get the point. It’s a fragmented, confusing process. Imagine how that makes the customer feel.
A lead sees a business intelligence product on social media and clicks through to the website. The marketing team adds him to a segmented list based on his interest and then sends targeted campaigns that answer questions and draw him down the funnel. He’s able to engage on several different channels.
When the handoff from marketing to sales happens, the lead’s account gets passed along, complete with all the information about his journey so far.
Because the sales reps have this insight, they’re able to tailor their calls to be helpful and informative. The lead grows warmer and purchases the product.
A few months later when a platform update goes awry, he submits a ticket. It gets categorized as a critical issue and prioritized. The help center agent assigned to the customer pulls up his profile to see which version of the product he installed, along with his history of interactions. It takes a call, but they’re able to resolve the issue in a few minutes and the customer leaves happy.
Bottom line: better collaboration and coordination help eliminate redundant efforts, poor communication and missed opportunities.
3. Drill Deep Into Data Insights
Data is everywhere you look. Social media interactions, customer reviews, e-commerce transactions website visits — it’s an endless list.
But do you know what any of that data means for your business?
Raw data is worthless if you can’t access and properly format it. And let’s be honest: spreadsheets are too cumbersome with so many data points to consider.
CRM systems have analytics and reporting capabilities to help with that. Visualizations, often compiled into dashboards for at-a-glance summaries, provide deep insight into practically any metric you could want to track. Here’s a taste:
- Sales performance
- Revenue by territory
- Value of a lead or account
- Number of open tickets
- Marketing campaign click-through rates (CTR)
You can identify potential bottlenecks before they affect product or service delivery, find out where to prioritize sales efforts to see the greatest ROI and generate reports without manually sifting through countless data streams.
This ability to crack the hood on your business is invaluable. It centralizes key KPIs in a user-friendly format so you get a 360-degree view of your company’s health.
4. Bolster Revenue
When it comes to your business, the proof is in the numbers. Strong revenue means you’re doing something (or a lot of things) right. Scanty revenue points to the fact that things need fixing.
As a business, there are any number of ways you can boost your revenue. Offering discounts, running promotions and the like. But with a CRM, you can go a lot deeper. Here’s how:
- Improve closure rates. CRM tools like lead scoring help your sales team prioritize the hottest accounts and eliminate wasted effort on people less likely to buy.
- Enhance cross-selling and upselling. The data insights we talked about can also include helping your sales reps see the best upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
- View the most profitable regions. You can track revenue by geographic area so you know where your efforts will be best spent.
- See which customers buy the most. Same idea as above, except on the customer level. You can sort customers using a range of criteria, such as age, location, gender or even average spending amount. This lets you maximize revenue potential.
- Track sales rep performance. CRMs show you how your sales reps perform. By documenting what your top performers do, you can apply those learnings across your sales team so everyone’s performance rises.
CRM software can also integrate with complementary financial systems. This presents a panoramic view of revenue-related data and provides insight into areas you should modify or improve.
5. Work Efficiently
As illustrated before, the interactions a customer has are often choppy and disjointed when viewed as a single journey. It’s hard to create a seamless flow without having a CRM in place.
One of the major advantages of CRM is the ability to streamline these critical areas of customer interaction. This usually includes setting appointments, managing contacts, addressing customer service and evaluating marketing campaigns.
Modern CRMs are visual, so it’s easy to track the flow of leads through the sales pipeline or quickly view key information on a dashboard. That’s a far cry from manually tracking down information every time you need it.
Task automation is another helpful feature. Rather than completing each action manually, you can assign rules and build workflows to automate your processes. For example:
- Transferring a contact from one stage of the pipeline to the next
- Sending a meeting reminder
- Syncing data between systems
- Sending marketing content
- Adding contacts to a list in bulk
CRM systems take on much of the tedious, repetitive work so you don’t have to. That frees you up to work more efficiently.
6. Rock That Customer Service
Once your customers come through the door, one of the biggest factors in whether they’ll stay or leave is your level of customer service.
We’ve all had bad — even horrible — customer service experiences. You don’t want that to be the story for your customers. CRMs bring a few critical features to the table to help you out.
This CRM module has tools that enable you to build and manage a ticketing system.
Dashboards provide a central view of all cases so no issue goes unsolved. They also provide a comprehensive view into the activity for each case, such as offers, orders and contracts.
You can assign statutes based on the type of issue so the service team addresses the most urgent cases first.
Help Desk Integrations
Some CRMs have help desk capabilities rolled in, but they can also integrate with standalone solutions like Zendesk.
The benefit here is providing a consistent experience. Integrating your CRM and help desk ensures a smooth flow of data. The information stored in your CRM can seamlessly flow into your help desk solution without complicated workarounds or manual methods.
The result? Your service agents can view the most accurate, updated information. And that leads to quicker response times, more personalized interactions and a better overall experience for your customers.
7. Improve Your Marketing Game
Last, but certainly not least, CRMs enable you to do a better job with your marketing. This is accomplished by integrating with marketing automation software or via built-in marketing capabilities.
Here’s a quick hit list of some of the tools and what they do:
- Segmentation. You can split your contacts into groups based on shared characteristics, which provides targeting when sending campaigns.
- Workflows. This lets you create email sequences ranging from simple to complex.
- Automation. When you’re sending email campaigns to hundreds or thousands of people, automating the process will save you hours of time. The system uses rules that you configure to automatically trigger emails or other messages.
- Social media marketing. Integrating with networks like LinkedIn and Facebook lets you closely monitor every aspect of your social media campaigns. You have the ability to track each network to determine where your traffic is originating and follow customer engagements with your brand.
- Campaign management. This feature lets you oversee marketing campaigns across multiple channels and mediums. Analysis tools make it easy to track how each campaign performs.
- Metrics. You can view and report on all critical KPIs. The only thing worse than having no marketing is doing it blind, without any idea of what’s working and what needs improvement.
A CRM will provide full control over your marketing efforts while making them easier to accomplish. More importantly, it will give you a clear idea of where and how you can optimize your campaigns.
At the end of the day, many benefits of a CRM system revolve around your customers. When you have the ability to offer prompt customer service and deliver fabulous experiences that keep people coming back, it will feed into enhanced business performance.
Additional advantages of of CRM systems are the features they provide to help your sales, marketing and service teams run like a well-oiled machine.
If you’re intimidated by the range of options or don’t know where to start, we have you covered. Our free comparison report lets you quickly compare top solutions. And if you need to build your requirements, we have an easy-to-use template that can help.
What are the top advantages of customer relationship management for your company? Let us know in the comments!