A Beginner’s Guide To Customer Relationship Management Software: Part 1
What is CRM Software, where did it come from, how does it benefit businesses and are there different types of CRM Software - find the answers in part one of our Introduction to CRM Software series.
We feel J.A.R.V.I.S. is not given enough credit; in fact, we could go as far as to say that Iron Man would just be a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist that couldn't fly around saving the world, if it wasn't for the awesome Artificial Intelligence system. J.A.R.V.I.S. who manages everything for Tony Stark, including his business, house and even his relationships (personal and professional). What a life, isn't it? Pssst! Are you also daydreaming about having your own J.A.R.V.I.S. to help you with all the chaos of running a business, especially customer relationships? Well, we have good news for you, introducing the J.A.R.V.I.S. of managing customer relationships (sort of), the one and only Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software!
Question: How did we go from J.A.R.V.I.S. to Customer Relationship Management Software?
Answer: It's called a segue and we used J.A.R.V.I.S. as a metaphor to explain CRM, are you impressed yet?
The real question is...
What Is A Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)?
CRM Software is your business' J.A.R.V.I.S, designed to ease your work and give you a holistic picture of all your customer relationships; right from the getting to know your audience at the top of the funnel to your customers who bought your product at the bottom of the funnel and a lot more. It helps you understand your customers' exact needs and wants as well as offering a unique and seamless customer experience. As a result, you build a better relationship with your customer and that is THE SECRET to building your business, isn't it?
When we say CRM will help you with everything in your business, we mean it. The feature-rich software will keep track of all your sales processes, identify and prioritize hot and cold leads, collaborate with internal teams, record every pre and post-sale interaction, automate a bunch of other tasks, etc. Not to forget about the assortment of different reports you can pull to analyze your performance. All this in a seamlessly connected centralized database! Can Tony Stark ask for more? Before we explain more, let's go back in time and see where it all started.
Rewind The Clock!
Sweet Child O Mine, Living on a Prayer, Beat It... The 1980s was a great time for music! It was also the time when businesses took the first step towards creating the modern CRM Software when we moved from direct marketing to database marketing using what is known as database marketing software. People got the first taste of a larger-than-life marketing campaign and personalized marketing messages thanks to the power of an easily accessible and efficiently organized customer contact database. At this time, businesses started using customer behavior insights derived from data and statistics collected by the database systems to connect with their consumers.
In the 1990s, along with movies like The Matrix and Independence Day, the world welcomed the craze of Personal Computers, server/client architecture and more similar technological advancements. What came next changed the course of customer management forever- Sales Force Automation (S.F.A.). This meant companies now had to put less time, money and effort into their database marketing campaigns while yielding better results, opening the gateway to marketing automation in other business fields such as sales, accounts, service and much more. The modern CRM Software has begun to take shape.
By the end of the century (the 1990s), we already had e-CRM vendors optimizing the up-and-coming technology to usher collaboration within the organization using the internet, intranet and extranet.
Then came the 2000s with the burst of the infamous dot-com bubble. Did it affect the business? For sure. Did it stop CRM Software from innovating further? Not so much because the technological advancements in terms of cloud-based and mobile CRMs saved the day. The modern CRM Software, just like its predecessor, is quick in integrating with the latest technological developments to help you serve your clients better. J.A.R.V.I.S. always rises to the occasion!
Hmm, interesting! So, what is the secret of CRM Software?
How Does A CRM Software Actually Operate?
Relationships are hard! That's not a far-fetched cliche. Defying all odds, CRM Software helps you manage not one, not two, not hundreds but thousands of customer relationships with ease. The secret is communication, achieved through a centralized database of all customer and lead information, reports, marketing collaterals and much more, that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device. There are some specific areas of your business where your CRM Software will be mighty useful, including:
Not being able to track the sales cycle of leads is one of the biggest challenges that any business's sales department faces. Coming to your rescue, CRM Software will quickly assign leads to your sales representative with all the information about that lead including where the lead is in their buying journey, what they are looking for and much more. Wait, it gets better; you will also get information about the customer's entire journey (once the sale is complete), which will help in upselling and cross-selling other products and services.
Relationships are stronger when there is transparency and clarity between the client and seller. CRM, being the relationship expert, keeps things crystal by maintaining a clear track record of the sales, accounts and any other customer service incidents.
Managing is a different story, sometimes even initiating a relationship can be tough, especially customer relations. They require a little bit of wooing and convincing before they sign the cheque for you and that wooing is known as marketing. CRM Software can not only help you manage your email marketing campaigns but it can also completely automate the task for you. Send as many targeted emails as you like to woo your leads.
J.A.R.V.I.S was nothing if not efficient and analytical, enabling him to make some quick and wise decisions. Your CRM system is not so different; it will analyze trends, integrate them into your business workflow and build customized reports for you also to make informed business decisions.
Tony Stark has more than one type of Artificial Intelligence system like J.A.R.V.I.S.; he also has F.R.I.D.A.Y. and E.D.I.T.H. (given to Spiderman). With that logic, obviously, there is more than one type of CRM as well. In fact, CRM Software has a few siblings. Let's talk a bit about them!
Types Of CRM Software
If you are looking for a CRM solution that will help you decode the customer data you collect to serve them better and streamline all business processes, Operational CRM is the tool for you. HubSpot and Salesforce CRM are great examples of Operational CRM tools.
J.A.R.V.I.S is analytical; we know that. Any CRM Software that analyzes customer data using functions of business intelligence (BI) is known as Analytical CRM. It gains insights into customer behavior by filtering out key facts and predicting future possibilities, such as identifying your best potential customer and prospects quickly and efficiently. Good examples of analytical CRMs are Zoho CRM, Salesforce CRM, HubSpot CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Sharing is caring; nothing internalized this quote more than a Collaborative CRM solution. This tool allows businesses to gather, organize and share customer data such as marketing interaction, sales journey, customer care interaction, customer satisfaction, customer retention and much more between multiple teams. This empowers all your teams with all the information related to their leads and customers, ushering to a seamless multi-channel customer experience that syncs with your day-to-day operations. Pipedrive or Copper CRM are couple of popular collaborative CRM.
Combining the features of analytical CRM and operational CRM- you can use a Campaign
Management CRM strategy to run sales pipeline and marketing campaigns. Some known campaign-based CRMs include Adobe Campaign and Mailchimp.
Tony needs J.A.R.V.I.S, no doubt about it but what is the need for CRM for my business? Fair question let's discuss.
Do I Really Need A CRM Software?
Yes, you need CRM tool unless you enjoy getting caught on a call, not being able to find the order status of one of your highest paying clients. Em-bar-ras-sing!
Regardless, if you are running a small paper company in Scranton or a giant corporation like Stark Industries, all your customer data in a centralized location will make your life easier and business more efficient. You and your business need CRM Software to manage customers, because:
There's no way that one human being can remember all the leads and all the customers' details. CRM technology will keep track of all the customer information, including a timeline of your interactions with them, the full history of your relationship, etc.
You have more than one person/ channel for your customers to connect with any small business. CRM platform will collate all customer interaction in one place for all teams to be on the same page.
Your gut feeling can turn out to be biased and you must make all your business decisions based on CRM data and analysis.
You need to monitor what your sales team or representatives and customer support services executives are telling your customers.
Phew! That was a lot of information about Customer Relationship Management Software. Although, we are not done yet, head on to Customer Relationship Management Software: Part 2 where we talk more about the different features, benefits and the future of CRM Software. See you on the other side.
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