Bill Gates was quoted as saying- “How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”
If we relate to his words with regards to customer information, then it can be rightly said that a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is the key to win or lose a customer.
Customer Relation Management is a technological approach to managing a business’s relationships and interactions with potential as well as existing customers. No matter if it’s a large enterprise or an SME, a CRM serves one single goal and that is- improving business relationships.
A CRM solution basically helps businesses to automate and manage customer lifecycle for the sales and marketing departments. By consolidating the customer information in a single repository, it allows the businesses to automate common processes, monitor the performance & productivity of their accounts, and improve sales.
Referring to the significance of Customer Relationship Management Software, the Harvard Business Review magazine stated: “On average, sales and marketing costs are approximately 15%-35% of total corporate costs. So the effort to automate sales efficiency is absolutely essential. In cases reviewed, sales increases due to advanced CRM technology have ranged from 10% to more than 30%.”
The benefits of CRM software for business are unavoidable. We had an overview of some high-end advantages of CRM in the section above. Let’s discuss them in detail.
1. Reliable Reporting of Leads
One of the prime benefits of CRM is it collects & refines data and then converts it into actionable information. For example, the marketing and sales teams can keep a track of lead source, their personal details, their requirements, point of contact with the business, conversion status, etc. This information can be collected, tabulated, and reported for as many customers as the business have. CRMs are usually available with a dashboard that gives a birds-eye view of the customers, irrespective of their count and status in the lead cycle.
2. Create Informed Campaigns
The CRM dashboard continuously provides insights to the customer which helps the sales reps to create relevant, personalized messages for their campaigns. For example, if a customer had purchased formal clothing in the last 6-month, then instead of sending them emails about all new arrivals, the emails could be smartly designed with a pitch for new arrivals in the formals category. Personalized outreach to customers increases the chances of conversion from campaigns.
3. Sales Task Automation
Completing a sale cycle is a long process. Apart from the details of the customer and their requirements, there are several other tasks involved that need thorough attention from the sales rep. This includes filling forms, addressing legal issues, sending emails and reports, etc. CRM can help automate these tasks, enabling sales reps to focus on their core tasks, close more leads, resolve customers’ pain points.
4. Tasks and Reminders
CRMs are a great way to keep marketing and sales reps alarmed about upcoming events or planned tasks. For example, a CRM can notify reps about customers who have birthdays in the current month so that customized messages, coupons, or gifts can be sent to them.
Now that we had a look at some of the exceptional benefits of a customer relationship management solution, let’s understand what are the must-haves of a CRM solution and if your business should build or buy a CRM.
Essential Features of a CRM Software:
1. Contact Management
The Customer Relationship Management solution should store contact information of the customer, which may include info such as personal details, address, social media accounts, business details, etc. Almost all CRMs have the option for contact management but what should be the look and feel of CRM for your business and what kind of usability would work for your reps. What fields should be there and how they should be organized. All of this must be smarty managed in order to create a convenient experience for reps.
2. Lead Management
The CRM software should be able to manage the lead status. Usually, businesses have unique criteria for identifying leads, scoring them, and moving them to the sales pipeline. Here, it is important to define the flow and transition of the leads according to business.
3. Tracking Interactions
The CRM should be able to track the history of communication with specific contacts. The software can have multiple modes of interaction with the customer and thus it should be ensured that the most recent conversation is securely saved. Such an option not only helps in tracking the status of communication between the sales rep & customers but also creates a log which further helps in maintaining the audit trail.
4. Document Management
Software for customer relationship management should have the option to collect, upload, store, and share documents. Having a centralized, access-based repository of documents enables the team to offer a convenient experience to the customers.
5. Workflow Automation
CRM should be able to automate repetitive tasks. This can be achieved by creating workflows that either triggers actions or send a follow-up notification for the next events.
6. Multilingual Solution
A multilingual CRM solution can be advantageous. Depending upon a store location, the CRM can be utilized by switching the language to English, French, Japanese, German, Arabic, and so on.
7. Predictive Abilities
CRM can be prepared for predictions. By using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, customer relationship management software can be trained to provide future sales figures, project revenue on the basis of past and present sales, discover industry trends, etc. If this sounds interesting to you, talk to our experts to know how AI for CRM development can help to improve sales and relationships with customers.
8. Multiple Communication Channels
Apart from emails and SMS that serves as a medium for formal communication, the CRM should be integrated with options like audio/video calls, real-time chat for a recorded interaction between the reps and the customers.
These are some of the essentials that a CRM must-have. Depending upon business type, its scale, and requirements of the sales team, more features can be shortlisted for the CRM after brainstorming sessions.
Now, the question is- how to have a CRM for a business? Whether to build or buy a CRM solution? The latter segment discusses this in detail, which will definitely help you to make an informed decision.
Build or Buy a CRM Software: What’s your Choice?
There are two ways to have a CRM for your business- you can either buy it or you can build it. But, what to opt for completely depends upon business requirements and budget.
Buy it: There are several off-the-shelf CRM software that can be purchased and implemented at a certain cost. There is a recurring cost to it. The benefit is, it proves to be an instant solution to your requirement.
However, there is a catch. Off-the-shelf solutions are usually developed for businesses, irrespective of their industry. So, your CRM vendor might take some time to mould it for your business. Also, there are some integrations that need to be done with the CRM in order to make it function according to the business set-up.
As mentioned, the off-the-shelf CRMs are developed for a wider user base, it might have a lot of features. While you may be willing to use certain useful features only, the structure of licenses might force you to pay for features that your business doesn’t even need.
Despite some of these exceptions, buying a CRM can be a go-to option as it saves development time and offers support for technical & functional glitches. If this works for you, start your research for a well-grounded CRM software for business!
Build it: One of the biggest advantages of building a CRM is you can customize it according to business requirements. If we take a look at some of the essential features that a CRM should have, all of them require a certain type of customization.
A custom-built solution has benefits such as you can have a simplified CRM with features that your business requires. A custom-built solution is a one-time investment (however, there may be some recurring cost if the product needs an update).
Customization also offers the advantage of easy integrations which is the key to building an employee-friendly solution. Such a solution requires very less (or almost no-training sessions) for employees.
The ball is in your court now. Depending upon business requirements, budget, and timeline, any of the above options to have a customer relationship management software can be chosen.
Building a Custom CRM for your Business: Getting Started
Certainly, there is a lot that can be added to the scope of a CRM. But, you need to know what exactly your reps need to maintain an efficient sales cycle. Understand the working of your business and create a list of features that you think are the must-haves for your business.
On the other side, you can take expert guidance on what kind of CRM your business needs. In that case, you can have a 30-minute free consultation session with our tech-experts who will guide your way to CRM planning to development, and deployment phase.