No business – large or small – survives without its customers. Businesses that do well know their customers inside out.
Customer Relationship Management or CRM systems have developed to help you do just that. The systems are based on software designed to manage your contacts with customers, assist in sales management, help to define and monitor sales productivity, and more.
The digitised CRM system automates these processes so that you end up with a more effective, efficient, and cost-effective customer relationship management.
CRM … and more
An article in the Belfast Telegraph argues that early CRM systems helped to build your relationship with your existing and potential customers, striving to make that relationship as strong as could be.
The system was effectively a store of customer and prospect data. It tracked your interactions with customers and shared that data with members of your workforce. By helping you to manage customer relationships, CRM systems helped your business to grow.
Currently available CRM systems, however, go much further. For sure, they continue to track, monitor, and constantly update reporting on your interactions with customers, but this aspect has become just one part of their ever-expanding role. They have become much more than glorified customer databases.
The importance of CRM systems today relies not just on the gathering and storage of data, but on the analysis of that data in a way that reveals the dynamics of your customer behaviour. It helps to explain not simply what your customers may do, but why they are doing it and what is likely to shape that behaviour in future.
By achieving a deeper understanding of customer preferences, choices, and behaviour, you may tailor any other business tools and systems you are using to respond appropriately. Working together in that way, you are in a stronger position from which to grow your business.
If that makes your choice of CRM software appear straight forward, just take a look at the wide range of packages available – there are many.
To help home in on a system that is suitable for your particular business, therefore, you might want to look out for the following features and capabilities:
Is it user-friendly?
- unless the system is straight forward, easy to use and readily taught to your work team, it is not going to be used to its fullest potential – in other words, choose a system that is user-friendly;
- since you are almost certainly already using a host of other business tools, ensure that any CRM system is compatible and may work alongside those other essential tools;
- closely related to the ease with which the software is compatible with existing systems is your ability to customise it to suit your particular business needs and circumstances;
- you are already collecting and storing data relating to your customer relationships – what additional, meaningful, and critical analysis is any CRM system likely to bring;
Call to action
- on the back of that analysis, does your chosen CRM system generate clear and decisive calls to action.
CRM systems play a vital role in helping you get to know your customers inside out. Those systems to which you might want to pay especially close attention are those that are more than any glorified database, however, and instead lead to a deeper understanding of your customer behaviour in a way that may help to grow your business.