Do I need a CRM system? Should I buy actual software? Or should I just use the cloud?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are essential for delivering a quality customer experience, increasing sales and targeting customers. At the core of a successful business is the art of developing and maintaining strong relationships – especially with customers, both current and prospective.
It’s important to first talk about customer relationship management and how it can help a business do more for their customers. CRM is the way a business manages their relationships, interactions and important information with their current and future customers. A CRM tool helps you get the most out of those relationships by organizing and storing data, and then sometimes automating many of the tasks to maintain those quality relationships.
There are both free and paid options for businesses. And there are also many cloud based versions that let you connect to your CRM system from anywhere you have an Internet connection. A quick search will show some of the better known providers like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, ZohoCRM and Insightly. Most include an extensive suite of features and integration into other business software like email, calendars, social media and accounting tools.
Using CRM tools effectively will help you do many things to improve your business. You might not even realize the extent to which they will help you, so here are some of the big hitters:
- More targeted marketing efforts: With in depth customer data, you'll make better use of your marketing dollars. You'll be able to do targeted tasks like determine how many customers are in your market for a new product, extract lists for your Sales team to make follow up calls, and get reports for every email sent to each client. The possibilities are extensive.
- Have more intelligent conversations with your customers: Since you will have a history of your interactions with your customers, every conversation with them will be a valuable one. Imagine it like a photographic memory of every interaction you have with your customer.
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- Integrated systems: You can keep track of your interactions including social media, invoicing and marketing contact all in the same place. By using the right tool you'll end up getting a 360 degree view of your customer in a way that would never have been possible in the past.
- Better internal coordination: You will deliver a better experience to your customers when all of your team has the identical information about them. That translates into your staff doing less running around looking for answers and instead they'll be able to spend more time answering customer questions and nurturing relationships.
There is no doubt CRM tools are helpful for businesses of all types and sizes. To implement a system into your business, first come up with a list of objectives that you want to accomplish with customer relationship management. Then determine the various tools or systems you may have as options. The tool that can meet the most objectives should be the right one for you. Implement it, maintain it and use it to its fullest potential in order to get more out of those strong relationships you’ve done so well to develop.
Tell us your experience with managing vast amounts of information in your business. Have you implemented a CRM tool to manage your client data?
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