In the ever-evolving world of technology, experiencing changes more often is inevitable. Businesses, with their growing complexities in processes and practices, need to embrace technology to stay competitive. Well, when we talk of businesses, the first thing that comes to mind is - customers. Yes, for any business to sustain and grow, they are the driving force.
That said, whether your intent is to build your brand or run your business profitably, you don't need just satisfied - but happy customers. Technology comes to the rescue. Enter CRM!
Research suggests that CRM technology is set to reach a value of $128.97 billion in 2028, which represents a CAGR of 12.1% in the next 7 years.
This article delves into Customer Relationship Management (CRM), its benefits, types of CRM software, on-premise Vs. cloud CRM and a lot more.
Let’s get started.
CRM expands to Customer Relationship Management. Essentially, it is software that helps customers keep track of their correspondence and other sales and marketing activities, enabling them to nurture relationships with prospects and clients.
In essence, customer relationship management (CRM) includes two aspects:
That said, with regard to businesses, the second aspect stays relevant.
CRM systems relieve small businesses of maintaining huge volumes of spreadsheets, apps, records, and databases, as all data relevant to customers is stored in one place. As a result, these systems ensure enhanced organization and efficiency, effective time management, and happy clients. CRM is a one-stop shop for all information that your sales and marketing teams need.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) emphasizes lead nurturing to convert them into customers. Lead nurturing refers to establishing ongoing relationships with potential customers or buyers depending on where they are in the sales funnel. The objective is to know and understand what they need, serve them better, and turn them into customers.
Some of the ways of nurturing and converting leads to drive quick sales include:
Understand how your leads interact in various stages of the sales funnel - the questions they ask, the options they seek, and what actions they take. This can help you gain a deeper insight into their mindsets, which will help you plan your strategies appropriately.
Most businesses consider sales and marketing as completely separate departments. However, in reality, they must work in tandem to achieve the desired outcomes. The sales team can offer inputs on issues or queries in tickets, reasons for leads not converting, major pain points, etc. The marketing team can provide information on top demographics, best-performing products during the life cycle, and more. CRM tools let your sales and marketing teams coordinate and collaborate.
CRM tools offer the feature of lead segmentation or lead scoring, where high-quality leads are segmented from others. These high lead scoring are those who have interacted with your company or taken some actions. Lead scoring is highly effective in nurturing and converting leads to close the sales deal.
With automated email campaigns supported in CRMs, you can nurture your leads efficiently as the tool sends out follow-up emails to them based on the contact details you gathered. These are leads who joined your event or interacted with your brand but haven’t made a purchase. CRM tools let you enable automated sequences of emails like a welcome message, customer education email, competitor differentiation information, etc., to take your lead journey ahead.
Lead nurturing and conversion don’t happen overnight. You need to spend sufficient time and effort to understand the lead behaviors and patterns. Set realistic goals and focus on achieving them within the timelines. CRM tools offer highly resourceful analytics options to gain insights into your lead preferences, activities, and more. You must track, measure and thoroughly analyze them to draw useful conclusions.
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While CRM systems offer a plethora of benefits, some of the primary ones include:
CRM software allows businesses to store and maintain all data pertaining to leads and customers from one central location, which is accessible to anyone with the granted privileges. It consolidates all information - documents, invoices, quotes, emails, text messages, calls, meetings, notes, sales data, etc. - so that any member of your team can access it to close a sales deal or respond to customer queries.
As the CRM software keeps you informed of all the previous actions taken on a lead, it lets your sales reps personalize their conversations and accordingly initiate the next course of action.
Customer Relationship Management systems, in conjunction with sales and marketing automation tools, allow sending emails automatically based on customers’ past purchase history, the elapsed time since they made the last purchase, interests, preferences, etc. This kind of personalized message goes a long way in converting a lead to a customer or establishing long-lasting customer relationships.
Quite often, a less-stated benefit of CRM systems is their ability to offer an extremely gratifying customer experience. With all information in a central place, it becomes easier for your sales and marketing teams to address customer concerns promptly. This builds stronger relationships with customers fostering customer retention, enhancing customer lifetime value, and increasing the possibility of referrals.
Follow-up with leads or clients is crucial in customer relationship management. Forgetting to respond in time could lose track of communication and prove detrimental to your sales and marketing strategies.
With CRM supported with sales and marketing automation, your leads and clients will be promptly intimated automatically. It obviates the need to spend your time drafting introductory emails for leads or follow-up emails to customers. Lead, and customer actions trigger email messages for follow-up are integral touch points in the customer relationship management cycle.
Data-driven decisions play a significant role in achieving the desired business outcomes. CRM software helps track conversion trends and buying behavior of customers. Studying and understanding these patterns could help in formulating more effective marketing strategies. For example, you could focus on the factors that drive high conversion and explore the customer purchase patterns to cater to them better, thereby increasing your ROI.
Operational CRMs focus on streamlining day-to-day tasks and processes, thereby improving operational efficiency. These systems handle contact and customer data, sales pipelines, and interactions with your business. They use the customer and process data to manage the sales pipeline, improve lead management, and automate sales, marketing, and customer service tasks.
Automated functions in these CRM systems eliminate the need for users to perform repetitive tasks and focus on other core issues.
Some of the primary features in Operational CRMs include:
To sum it up, Operational CRM systems increase efficiency through automation, structure the processes for sales, customer service, etc. and keep all customer data organized.
Analytical CRMs use data collection and analysis to glean insights into customer behavior and preferences. With extensive visualization and reporting tools and dashboards, analytical CRMs help businesses understand customer behavior. Analytical CRMs apply techniques like predictive modeling and data mining, besides analytical methods like revenue forecasting and others.
In essence, these CRM systems help you manage customer data and KPIs using storage and analysis.
Some of the key features of Analytical CRMs are:
In short, it facilitates improved decision-making, enhanced forecasting, and effective customer relationship management.
Collaborative CRM software makes communication among the various sales team stakeholders, including sales reps, marketers, senior leaders, and others involved in growing the business, much easier.
Collaborative CRMs use tools to obtain meaningful and actionable insights on customer preferences, interests, and buying patterns to keep all sales and marketing department team members on the same page.
These CRM systems use features like shared calendars, task communication portlets, 360-degree customer data, and document libraries. Besides, they offer scope for seamless integration with productivity tools to increase efficiency.
Some of the key features of these CRM systems include:
In essence, they offer improved team communications, enhanced customer service, and efficient team management.
No. It depends on the business goals. Operational CRM systems are useful for increasing business efficiency, team cohesiveness, and customer satisfaction. However, they need you to ensure accurate data entry, which could be more time-consuming for SMBs. They are appropriate when you want to enhance team collaboration and make your customers more informed about your company.
Analytical CRM systems focus on gleaning insights into customer and lead data using analytics and data mining. While extracting insights is a benefit, they call for highly skilled staff to perform rigorous analysis. Furthermore, data must be correct and consistent to offer reliable insights. They are primarily used in mid and large enterprises, which consume huge volumes of data.
Collaborative CRM systems facilitate collaboration and keep the sales, marketing, and customer service teams on the same page. This helps break down the siloes in cases where these departments exist separately, with minimal interactions. However, if this system is not properly used, it will adversely impact the customer experience. That said, you can use these systems to make the communication between these three departments more effective.
Traditional CRM systems were mostly on-premise models wherein the application was hosted locally on the desktop server. It also required a hefty amount to be spent hardware and software installation. In addition, there were extra costs that were needed to be borne on regular maintenance, apart from licenses.
Cloud-based CRMs are the need of the hour. With these models, your CRM application is hosted and managed by third-party vendors who take care of hardware, software, and maintenance. Often referred to as the pay-as-you-go model, cloud-based CRMs let you pay the subscription fee per user, which is flexible based on your number of licenses, plan taken, and more.
There are multiple benefits of cloud-based CRM. First, you don’t need to worry about software or hardware upgrades or maintenance. Second, you can optimize your CRM spending depending on the usage; there are no upfront costs. Finally, the most important aspect is that they are highly scalable and let you add, remove or modify features easily, unlike the on-premise CRM, wherein it is difficult and expensive as well.
Companies across industry verticals use CRM software to leverage various benefits. Research suggests that 91% of companies with 10 or more employees use CRM tool. Some of these include:
Real estate businesses need perfect communication and collaboration to ensure they address the challenges of their customers and prospects while not missing out on lucrative opportunities. CRM helps the real estate industry in many ways.
CRM offers various benefits to accounting businesses, some of which are:
E-commerce is a dynamic industry and highly competitive as customers have various options to choose from. A robust, AI-powered CRM software could support it in multiple ways.
In the manufacturing sector, you need to forecast sales correctly, maintain all product information and cater to your customers’ and distributors’ lists of requirements. A CRM helps you do a lot of functions effectively like:
CRM software offers various remarkable features that add great value to your business. Let’s take a look at some of these.
The primary aspect of CRMs that makes the life of any business easy is the collection and storage of all the information on customers and leads. Besides their names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc., you can maintain all other important details of contacts like their position in the company, birth dates, etc.
CRM software ensures that you respond to your customers promptly through various features like sales methods, marketing campaigns, business analytics, and more which lets the businesses organize their data and processes, which are integrated into the CRM tool and accessible at any time.
Once your employees understand the worth of CRM, the system will be effectively used to render amazing sales results. If you have a CRM sales team, they can send messages to customers and prospects through the system. The CRM software reduces the exchange time and improves process efficiency.
With CRM, you get a holistic picture of your sales and marketing activities. It provides awesome analytics tools that help you create insightful reports and dashboards on customer data, letting you formulate data-driven marketing strategies. In addition, if you use third-party email platforms or help desk systems, integrating them with CRM will make the work more productive and faster.
You can analyze, understand and serve your customer needs much better, thereby imparting a marvelous customer experience. This would add value to your business as it boosts customer retention, which in turn might bring in referrals.
Generally, CRM software offers a well-structured, easy-to-use design with a convenient user interface. The objective of CRM is to make your sales and marketing processes seem like an absolute breeze. That said, you can organize CRM workflows to complete a series of business projects.
Some examples of projects are: increasing your conversions on the website, enhancing customer support, working on customer feedback, and such.
CRM workflows are trigger-based, which are certain actions or touch points in the entire journey. An example could be someone checking out a product on your website and adding it to the cart. Before leaving the website, they are prompted to enter their email address which they do. Next, the CRM workflow might involve a trigger that sends out a mail to them with recommendations of similar yet unique products.
Different CRMs have nuances in their working, though the fundamental premise may be the same. ConvergeHub, a cloud-based CRM, brings along a plethora of features that serve multiple business purposes.
It lets your sales reps close deals in a short time with a minimum number of clicks, in addition to workflow automation and effective pipeline management.
It allows you to make intelligent decisions through reliable and accurate data on leads and customers. Besides, you can run campaigns on various channels like mail, emails, social media, etc., and track their results to zero in on the best medium.
It lets businesses impart a more personalized customer service by offering a variety of customer support activities enabled by robust helpdesk automation functionalities.
Its billing software includes all aspects of creating and fulfilling invoices for regular day-to-day purposes and any chargeable events, with its user-friendly and convenient workflow.
It lets you collaborate easily with your stakeholders - partners, customers, and employees - on lead generation, marketing campaigns, sales quotes, and more. It provides various online tools, including Library, Partner, and Referral to identify new ideas and seek suggestions.
CRMs are becoming a mandate for small and medium businesses to streamline sales processes and optimize operational efficiency. That said, technology keeps evolving, with the future being digital. Therefore, it is imperative that SMBs are future-proof with CRM integration.
So, how do you do that? Let’s first understand what is CRM integration and the ways to accomplish the same. CRM integration involves connecting third-party software with your primary CRM system to combine their functionalities into one platform. As an SMB, you would be using various software applications like email clients, accounting software, and social media tools. Now, with all these tools existing as disparate sources, your data is siloed, and this leads to fragmented customer profiles, making tracking of the customer cycle cumbersome.
CRM offers the feature to integrate all these platforms into one system and use them effectively. Let’s now understand the various CRM integrations which are must-haves for SMBs.
Most Email platforms like Gmail and MS Outlook as in-built features which help coordinate appointments and manage conversations with your network. Integration of the email platform into your CRM software offers a unified calendar that automatically updates once an appointment is scheduled in the core CRM hub.
Similar to emails and calendars, instant messaging can be effectively handled by merging the instant messaging platform with the corporate directory to improve communication.
It’s quite obvious that sales team members spend much of their time on the phone and sometimes on video calls. An integrated phone network ensures that calls are auto-recorded and the information is tagged to the customer ID in the CRM system, which is always accessible.
Maintaining accounting software as a separate system would add to the tasks of making manual entries of financial transactions multiple times. On the flip side, if your accounting system is integrated into the CRM software, updates to the relevant accounts will take place in real-time, indicating current balances. This would reduce the effort, time, and chances of committing errors, otherwise possible in manual entry.
In the event of closing a deal, you would certainly not wish to waste your valuable time on searching for documents to complete the required paperwork. By integrating file-sharing systems like DropBox in your CRM, you keep your necessary documents and contracts attached to the appropriate customer file.
In any business, time is money. The sales team plays a crucial role in the growth of a business. That said, you need to keep track of how much time is spent by the various team members on different activities to evaluate their exact capacity. Attendance is yet another aspect that’s vital to make sure everyone is contributing their part.
With time and attendance integrated into CRM software, tracking these details becomes much more straightforward.
There could be data distortion impacting a marketing campaign when email creation software and your CRM systems are separate. Integrating your email creation tools with the CRM would make the marketing campaigns smooth and save considerable time and effort.
Combining your company schedule with a social media dashboard and installing social media integrations with each network is a great way to leverage social media for customer relationships. The platform would provide the details of how customers engage on different channels, and this gives a heads-up to take further steps.
Sales activity deals with having the knowledge of what content needs to be shared with leads at various stages of the sales funnel. However, with the huge volume of data to use, it may not be possible for the sales team to handle it alone. This is where marketing automation comes into the picture, which manages the lead data and ensures automated delivery of marketing content in a timely manner.
In addition to sales and marketing, customer service is also a key component in the customer journey. Quite often, you lose esteemed customers due to a lack of proper service and support. Support agents may not be able to cater well if they have to switch between platforms to check the tickets.
Integrating your help desk solutions with CRM software ensures that all issues are in one place. This makes management and handling of support tickets faster and easier, thereby providing a better experience to customers.
Live chat is gaining a lot of momentum as it gives instant information from the customer. It makes sense to integrate Live Chat into your CRM tool as they provide the details of interactions with customers. This helps the sales team to get all the facts and communicate with customers accordingly.
Most integrations between any two systems happen via an Application Programming Interface (API). In simple parlance, APIs are like language translators. Your CRM and third-party applications like Facebook or Helpdesk solutions speak different languages. In other words, they use different programming language codes.
The API acts as a translator and helps combine the data when you link these two applications. The good news is that most CRM software platforms follow this approach and provide a list of third-party applications they can be integrated with.
It's now time to quickly revisit the features of ConvergeHub CRM and see how much time it takes for you to reap the benefits. As mentioned, you can leverage its powerful workflow automation and exceptional pipeline management features to close deals in a matter of time, with just a few clicks. In addition, it lets you make smart decisions with its CRM + Marketing automation relying only on accurate customer or lead data. Another remarkable feature is its array of tools that let you create your one-of-its-kind marketing campaigns on - emails, social media, mails, and more.
With easy implementation using a set of in-built templates, reports, and dashboards, get started with it in just a few minutes! Most importantly, you can impart a world-class customer service experience to your esteemed clients with ConvergeHub’s customer-centric helpdesk automation features.
Enjoy value add from Day 1, boost your sales, serve your customers best, and create an ever-lasting impression!
It’s time to get going with a cloud-based CRM solution if you haven’t yet. Try ConvergeHub CRM - the ideal choice for modern sales and marketing teams.
Empower your teams, collaborate with your customers, and grow your sales like never before. If you are looking for a user-friendly and best-in-class CRM ( with a free trial of x days), we are here.
CRM systems play a major role in streamlining sales processes, optimizing marketing campaigns, collaborating better with sales and marketing teams, and more. A CRM obviates the effort of storing and maintaining data in multiple spreadsheets, records, or apps, which requires each to be manually updated every time. It stores all customer data in one location, making it easier to access and manage.
CRM provides email automation which relieves your sales team members of the task of sending out follow-up emails as these, once customized, are automatically triggered at relevant touch points in the customer journey.
Most importantly, CRMs are supported with robust analytics, which help glean insights on customer data and derive meaningful business outcomes.
Customer Relationship Management or CRM system lets you store and access all data pertaining to leads and customers from one central place, making it easier for your sales and marketing teams to function. It consolidates emails, texts, calls, meetings, quotes, sales data, and documents - all customer data - to ensure your sales and marketing team can refer to them and take timely steps.
Some of the key features of CRM systems are Email automation, analytics, contact management, workflow management, and personalized communication - all directed toward customer retention and improved customer service.
When you don’t use a CRM, you stand the risk of losing many benefits. First, your manual work and administrative load will increase, resulting in a waste of time and effort. Second, all your customer and prospect data may reside in different locations, and you may not have a seamless update. This means you must maintain the same information in multiple places. However, this might not be the ideal approach as it could increase the chances of human error or losing valuable customer data.
Third, you lose the benefits of email automation, integration with third-party applications, and great customer service. Fourth, you are deprived of the useful insights you can glean on customer data using a CRM’s powerful analytics segment.
Well, these are just some risks or losses of not using a CRM tool. However, if you still feel that you don’t want to use CRM, the other less robust options would be using spreadsheets, databases, etc - which can be cumbersome.
Yes. CRM software greatly contributes to improving the efficiency and productivity of sales, marketing, and customer service processes.
Faster Sales: It lets your sales reps close deals in a short time with a minimum number of clicks.
CRM plus Marketing Automation: It allows you to make intelligent decisions through reliable and accurate data on leads and customers.
Excellent Customer Service: It lets businesses impart more personalized customer service by offering a variety of customer support activities.
Dynamic Billing: Its billing software includes all aspects essential for creating and fulfilling invoices for regular day-to-day purposes with a convenient workflow.
Extensive Collaboration: It lets you collaborate easily with your stakeholders - partners, customers, and employees - on lead generation, marketing campaigns, sales quotes, and more.
CRM contributes to sales in multiple ways. First, it lets the sales team access all documents, sales activities, scheduled plans, etc., from a central location with information from multiple databases. Second, it allows salespeople to optimize their daily schedules and sort tasks so that they respond to customers and prospects on time.
Third, CRM supports the features of shared calendars, document templates, and email integration, thereby bringing together all team members and helping them stay up-to-date. Fourth, CRM relieves the sales team of a lot of repetitive mundane tasks that don’t contribute to profitability.
Finally, as it captures all sales activities and processes, you get a transparent picture from the weekly and monthly reports or dashboards that it supports.
CRM is vital for marketing. It helps in multiple ways. First, it lets you store all your marketing data on prospects, campaigns, etc., in a unified location, making it easily accessible. Second, you would need to categorize your customers based on certain criteria, as you would not be sending out the same messages to all. In this regard, CRM tools help you in segmenting your customers into dedicated categories depending on your needs.
Finally, it lets you optimize your marketing campaigns by offering insight into which channels are performing well and how the customers are interacting.
CRM plays a key role in enriching customer experience. Integrating your Help desk ticketing tool with your CRM helps organize customer issues, ensuring that they are resolved promptly. Managers can assign accounts to team members who can offer better customer service through a common platform for all tickets and queries.
Cloud CRM: This model is hosted and managed by various vendors who offer you the services on a pay-as-you-go approach. The best aspect is that you need to pay upfront costs per user, but you don’t need to shell out for any hardware or software installation costs.
The CRM application can be easily accessed over the internet with the help of a web browser or a mobile app. The model allows you to change plans to add or remove certain features, and the charges would vary accordingly.
On-Premise CRM: This model hosts the CRM software locally on your business server and can be accessed through a local network. You need to pay for software and hardware installation, maintenance, and regular license costs. In addition, a major drawback is the lack of flexibility in scaling up or down. It is quite expensive to enhance or remove any features, and in some CRMs, it’s not possible.
CRM helps companies regardless of the customer base. In the case of businesses with a smaller customer base, it becomes more important as (1) you need to retain the existing customers (2) focus on increasing the number of customers. In both scenarios, CRM helps as it manages and tracks your team's interactions with customers and prospects, letting you respond to their queries and concerns promptly.
In addition, CRM software provides excellent analytics, which allows drawing actionable insights on customer interests, preferences, etc, and accordingly planning strategies to retain them or target new customers.
Most CRM software allows a basic level of customization like keywords and picklists, which your administrator can do. In addition, it lets general users make personal profile changes like adding widgets, enabling dashboards, etc.
Next, there are some vendors who offer a mid-level customization option that lets you add new forms, create custom workflows, or do some minor coding.
Finally, if you need advanced-level customization, you would need to take the help of professionals wherein developers might be writing complex code snippets to enhance or include a functionality. They would need to test in various ways before deployment.
In general, the core areas for customization to focus on are workflow automation, third-party custom integrations, and having a customized application on the CRM mobile app.
CRM is the acronym for Customer Relationship Management.
Yes. One of the key features of CRM software is the extensive collaboration and communication that it offers. As all customer and prospect data is residing at one location, the sales and marketing teams can access it conveniently, thereby making their work easier. In addition, through its email automation, the emails, text, and other follow-ups are customized, which allows them to be sent out automatically to customers or prospects on time.
Besides, if you have third-party tools for phone calls or email platforms, these can be integrated into the CRM, thereby enabling a seamless experience. On the customer support side, by integrating the help desk ticketing tools or Live Chat software into the CRM, the support team can leverage the benefits and offer a rewarding customer service experience.
CRM has a significant role in the real estate space. First, it lets real estate agents gain a competitive edge over their competitors and build long-lasting relationships with clients. Second, it helps manage all the real-estate data in one location while enabling other features like contact management, monitoring lead generation campaigns, uploading documents and contracts, managing your calendars, and more.
Third, it makes engaging with partners, landlords, and vendors easier and lets small business owners conduct marketing campaigns on social media, emails, newsletters, etc. Fourth, CRM systems allow you to upload your listings to various real-estate portals, create brochures and manage Vendor Paid Advertising (VPA), generate vendor reports, etc.
Finally, a robust CRM system helps you store data of previous, prospective, and present clients, info on property sites, the number of people who visited the property, and more.
CRM offers multiple advantages in the accounting space. First, it lets you keep all client data in one place as a centralized dashboard, refer to any previous interactions and establish a better connection with them. Second, it allows you to collaborate with team members, customers, and departments easily. Third, you can automate several repetitive tasks that reduce time and effort, like creating tickets for actions such as the client filling up a form, etc.
Fourth, it lets you streamline client onboarding and perform various tasks like signing documents, scheduling appointments, and performing administrative tasks. Finally, it offers many useful insights through analytics reports and dashboards.
Depending on the company size and business requirements, several CRM platforms are available. CRM tools offer a great means to streamline your sales processes, manage your marketing campaigns effectively and optimize your sales, marketing, and customer service business processes. In case of any queries on this, reach us here.