If you feel like it’s getting increasingly difficult to keep up with evolving customer demands, you’re certainly not alone.
From email marketing and targeted ads, to social media and everything in between, there are more options than ever for reaching out to your target consumer base.
On the other hand, you’re competing for attention with a myriad of other brands, small and large, in a vast digital space where audiences have grown weary of marketing messages.
It’s not only a challenge to rise above the overwhelming marketing noise and actually get your brand’s voice heard, but once you’re in on a promising lead, you can’t drop the ball.
Modern-day consumers are savvy. They know all too well that if you fail to meet their expectations at any point in the buyer’s journey, they can find better options in just a couple of clicks.
And trust me, they won’t hesitate to do that.
The customer is in the driver’s seat, and the success of your enterprise depends on how well you’re able to anticipate your prospects’ needs and how you manage customer relationships.
That’s where customer relationship management (CRM) technology comes in.
Read on to find out what CRM is exactly, which businesses need it most, and all the ways you can use a CRM system to boost your sales and spur growth.
A Customer-relationship management system, or just CRM for short, refers to business software for managing customer interactions.
The software is designed to consolidate all your customer data in one location.
This data includes:
- Customer contact information (website, social media accounts, email, phone, address, etc.)
- Communication history with each prospect or customer – records of your interactions on any given channel. This includes phone conversations, emails, online chat, customer support tickets, etc.
- Details of the customer relationship: information on how the customer discovered your business, length of the relationship, buying history, and anything else regarding their journey with your company.
These systems are intended for sales teams, who analyze the stored data and utilize it to improve their communication with each customer, develop an effective sales strategy, encourage repeat business, and more.
Although the software is rarely accessed by marketing teams, its benefits extend to marketing strategy as well, which is something we’ll also talk about in this article.
Which types of businesses use CRM technology?
A CRM system is a necessary tool for businesses with a long sales cycle, which are mainly B2B and SaaS enterprises.
A long sales cycle entails extensive communication between the prospect and the salesperson before a purchase is made.
Because the process of communication in a long sales cycle is direct and requires the salesperson to be on top of everything in order to close the deal, tracking customer interactions throughout is crucial.
That’s manageable without a CRM when a business has just set out and has only a few clients to manage.
However, even if the customer list doesn’t grow significantly in the meantime, the amount of customer information builds up at an incredible pace.
Soon enough, as the amount of data multiplies, managing customer relationships with spreadsheets and notes becomes impossible.
That’s why a CRM system is one of the first technologies B2B and SaaS enterprises implement to manage growth and maximize their strategy.
That being said, let’s move on to utilizing CRM to maximize sales and growth.
1. No more wasting time on bad leads
As you can see, a CRM system is far more than a contacts list.
By encompassing valuable customer information, it provides salespeople with crucial insight to improve sales effectiveness.
When your CRM system is integrated with marketing automation software, your email marketing campaign, social media, and other business tools you use, you’ll have a 360 view of updated information on all leads and customers.
You’ll be able to determine which leads have the most potential of becoming customers and target them at the right time.
This not only saves a great deal of time and frustration for salespeople, but it boosts the productivity of your entire enterprise to directly affect growth.
2. Maximize the sales potential of existing relationships
CRM software is there to help salespeople identify and seize the best opportunities – and this extends beyond generating new customers.
With the available information on customer history and details of interactions, salespeople have valuable insights to help them:
- Build rapport with each customer and boost customer engagement, thus closing deals faster
- communicate consistently across a stretched period of time
- anticipate their customers’ needs and personalize the buying journey
- determine opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell
- craft well-timed referral plans
Remember, research shows that customer retention is multiple times cheaper than customer acquisition, which is why retaining customers is crucial to driving growth.
Essentially, with the right CRM system, businesses have at their fingertips the data that helps them not only boost conversion rates but also minimize the cost of sales.
3. Build a standardized sales process
You can use a CRM system to build a step-by-step roadmap for closing deals that your team can rely on.
Again, it’s all geared towards reducing the length of your sales cycles and maximizing the potential of each deal.
With a sales process, you’ll have all the data at hand to review your efforts and determine which sales methods work best and which ones need improvement.
It’s much easier to identify the root cause of inefficient sales, find the best way to address the problems, and direct sales teams to do the best job possible.
Not only that, but standardization helps increase the accuracy of sales predictions.
It gives sales managers a better sense of their team’s win rate so that they can forecast how many deals are likely to be closed from a given number of leads.
What this means for your entire operation is that you’ll be able to set more realistic revenue goals and plan knowledgeably.
Lastly, a standardized sales process makes it significantly easier to train new sales reps and help them achieve impactful results promptly.
4. Improve customer support
Harnessing the power of all that customer data translates to improving the customer experience.
Your business can stay ideally organized while managing customer relationships in a way that makes each customer’s journey personalized, well-timed, and relieved of various friction points.
This clearly extends to the customer support team, who’ll be able to rely on all the available information to deliver efficient and personal customer service.
A CRM system links all the important information to customer support tickets, including the details of each purchase and customer interactions, so that customer service reps can identify issues and solve problems swiftly.
5. Evaluate your marketing strategy and improve campaigns
As we’ve mentioned towards the top of this post, part of the data you’ll find on a CRM platform is information about how prospects discovered your business.
With all that crucial data in one place, you’ll be able to determine and track which marketing methods are bringing you the biggest return on investment.
Furthermore, having access to customer history and sales interactions helps your marketing team develop a better understanding of your prospects major concerns and frequently asked questions.
Having insight into this kind of customer information will help them create more relevant content and craft campaigns with better insight.
6. Synchronize teams and improve collaboration
All in all, a CRM doesn’t help only the sales team but extends to marketing and customer service as well.
When the available data is harnessed to its full potential, you’ll have the key link to providing a seamless customer experience – which starts with discovering your business as a result of successful marketing campaigns and develops into brand loyalty.
By having it all in one place and automatically updated, the different teams will be working within a much more efficient organizational structure.
Essentially, a CRM system can be utilized as a powerful tool for optimizing team performance, but that’s not all.
The consolidated data is also crucial for business leaders to track the growth of their organization and plan strategically.
You can use it to identify the best market opportunities, evaluate your strategy, and measure growth.
Now that you’ve learned the many ways CRM can contribute to the growth of your enterprise, the question is – Are you ready for it?
If you’re in an industry which entails a long sales cycle and your customer communications just got messy, you most certainly are.
In this case, it’s best to get CRM software ASAP, before you lose more sales opportunities and slip further into harmful disorganization.
However, the best advice you’ll get is not to let it get that far.
Your enterprise may be in its infancy and generating leads is your main focus now. But if all goes well and you’re successful in your current endeavours, soon enough you’ll have a lot of customer data to deal with.
With a CRM in place, you won’t be missing out on valuable opportunities – and you’ll be able to keep up with the demands of growth.