CRM 101 and the top signs I should consider using one for my business

A guide to what a CRM is and does, the benefits it can bring and the signs your business might need one to improve the customer experience


CRM basics

Lets start with some basics around what a CRM is. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM is a piece of software that allows companies to manage their relationships with new business leads and existing customers.

It’s a repository for all a business’s customer contacts and data, - a single customer view - which gets used by the sales and marketing departments to target their marketing, speed up the sales process and land more deals. Most CRMs also cover support and customer service delivery (such as ticketing or case management functionality) in order to manage all aspects of a customers interaction with your business.

Who uses a CRM?

  • Sales team: build pipeline, team, reporting, manage
  • Marketing team: Segment audience, send targeting marketing content, align with sales team, automate content access, nurture leads
  • Customer Support / service delivery: store and find every detail of customer interaction and track follows ups and actions, provide self service
  • Strategic planning and c-suite: using customer data to make more informed decisions about business strategy, product development, new markets, customer segmentation and analysis

Using customer insight to build better relationships

There are a number of ways in which you can build better relationships and a better customer experience using a CRM and the insight they can help bring.

  • Tracking customer history - by storing an entire history of communication with leads and customers, any member of your business can pick up the latest conversation with that customer and understand where they are in their journey with you
  • Customer satisfaction - doesn’t just allow you to capture overall measures of customer satisfaction like Net Promoter Score (NPS), but also to track and improve the quality of customer support by measuring and monitoring KPIs about customer service delivery
  • Ongoing dialogue - Automated workflows, self service content, and better visibility of all your customers touch points and interactions with your business, so you never leave a customer unattended, being there for them at the right time with the right message and making it easier to do business with you
  • Turn customers into advocates - referrals can often be a leading sales growth strategy, especially for B2B businesses, so leveraging your most enthusiastic and positive customers can play a huge part in maximising referrals

How can a CRM enable growth?

  • It does so by letting you establish a repeatable, predictable sales process
  • By measuring and monitoring sales KPIs you can baseline and continuously improve your sales process
  • Identify and add new leads easily and quickly
  • Categorise leads accurately and deliver more targeted marketing and sales collateral at them
  • Focusing on the right leads, and quickly getting them to the right expertise in your team
  • Visibility of all opportunities and deals to ensure you never lose focus and drive them through to close
  • Make cross selling easier by providing cross-team / cross-divisional visibility of your entire customer base, their profiles, and what they do and don't buy from you
  • Improve customer retention by systematically improving the end to end customer experience

What are the top signs that you could benefit from a CRM?

  1. Prospects, opportunities and deals are not consistently followed up, and closed in a timely fashion
  2. Your sales pipeline is unknown, unpredicatable, or your sales suffer from 'feast and famine' too often
  3. Over reliance on spreadsheets or personal note books to track prospect targeting and customer interactions
  4. Customer data is siloed across different systems, teams, divisions and there is no central accountability for customer satisfaction
  5. KPIs which measure customer experience such as SLAs, or On Time In Full (OTIF) delivery, or Net Promoter Scores (NPS), are difficult or impossible to access or measure
  6. Customers often have to repeat themselves and their journey with each new interaction, and handoffs between your teams are rarely smooth or problem free
  7. Too many simple requests for information or help such as account balance, service manuals, or placing new orders, have to be handballed by someone in your team rather than self serve
  8. When key people leave your business, there is a high risk that the customer relationship,  knowledge and history leaves the business with them

A final word of caution

At Fluid we understand that a new system is never a panacea that will solve your problems in and of itself. A new system can help. But only in the context of good processes, good leadership, a good vision & well defined business outcomes for what you want the system to help you achieve.

And finally, recognising you could benefit from a CRM is one thing, but choosing the right one for your business can be very difficult. Read about why it can be so difficult in our blog here and see our 'how to' guide to choosing the right CRM system here.

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