A Quick Beginner’s Guide to Customer Relationship Management

In his book Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System, Bill Gates wrote that “How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” These very words can also be used to describe what customer relationship management (CRM) entails: collecting information and making sense of it to provide the best service for current and prospective customers.

The end goal of every business is to make a sale. While the customer is certainly the main focus, there are other entities involved in making a sale. A salesperson needs to make a sales pitch that a potential customer “buys” which hopefully turns into a decision to make a purchase or avail of a service.

That transaction alone generated a lot of useful information that businesses can learn from. Inputs from either the customer or the salesperson can be used to improve business strategy, which in turn can help towards achieving the goal of profitability. Where then can you put all that information to make sense of it all? The answer lies in CRM automation, which is essentially making use of a computerized system to handle functions related to customer relationship management. A digital CRM tool gives you a platform to better visualize transactions, generate reports, and forecast future performance.

CRM then is about putting the focus on the relationships your business has with individuals, whether that be your customer or your own employee. While it certainly helps you make a sale, it’s also about thinking beyond that; it’s about considering other factors that could lead to a sale or improve the process of making one.

The importance of CRM

A business needs a strategy that takes the future into account in order to survive. There are a few things constant in this world, and change is one of them. Adapting to change means knowing how to make use of information from different parties.

The business environment of today involves considering information from a wide range of sources, including sales teams, customers, and even social media. How can all that data from varied sources be compiled to provide a cohesive picture?

With the use of a CRM, you can get a clear look at your customers. If they have done business with you in the past, you can see their transaction history. A CRM can also keep track of any complaints that have been filed regarding a product or service. Knowing all of these is important in building a business that customers want to do business with. Keep in mind that the advances in technology these days means you’re going to have to compete with many similar businesses. The key to staying alive is – and always will be – making use of information to your advantage.

Managing customer relationships means learning how to keep track and knowing how to respond. As a business, the last thing you want is to lose a customer to the competition for not being able to take action. Customers want results and it’s your duty to fulfill those. Using a CRM tool makes this task a lot easier.

Benefits of CRM

What can you do with CRM? To answer that question, it helps to look at the reverse: what will happen if you don’t have CRM?

Information is crucial to any organization. Knowing how to make use of it leads to success. A look at modern sports teams that make use of data analysis proves that collecting and using information is important just about anywhere.

If you don’t have a platform to collect all the necessary information from your own salespeople, from competitors, and from your customers, how else would you know how to proceed? In other words, a CRM system can help you.

  • Identity leads. A CRM tool can help you identify a new lead and categorize them accordingly. It helps you create a pitch catered to a particular individual, allowing you to save time which helps you move on to the next possible lead. Knowing who your customers are lets you focus time on customers who actually need your product or service.
  • Get referrals. A happy customer is just like a disgruntled customer: they will willingly spread what they know about you. To make that more clear: if they are satisfied with your service, they won’t hesitate to tell their friends – real or digital. In short, a CRM system can help you achieve customer satisfaction since it helps you understand them better.
  • Enhance products and services. You’re not going to come out with a perfect product or service. And even if it is satisfactory at first release, you still owe it to your customers to keep improving. A CRM system can be of great help for this task since it allows you to spot problematic areas – thanks to collected data – which you can then find solutions for.

Customer relationship management may focus on the customer but it also involves the input of other individuals in order to achieve sales success.

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