The Complete Guide to Customer Relationship Management

If you have heard about customer relationship management but are not familiar with it yet, you are on the right page. This article compiled everything you need to know about customer relationship management, the associated software, the benefits, and the key features you should look for.

What is customer relationship management?

Customer relationship management (CRM) manages interactions with existing and prospective customers during the sales process. Any strategy or approach that uses data to build, enhance, and manage customer relationships can fall within the description of 'CRM'. 

What is CRM software and what does it do?

CRM software (or a CRM system) is a platform that helps businesses collect, organize, and analyze customer information data to better manage customer relationships. It connects your different departments, from marketing to sales to customer service, and organizes their notes, activities, and metrics into one cohesive system.

With a CRM system, you can easily track information across every touchpoint in a customer's journey (e.g. their details, engagement with marketing campaigns, interactions with your sales reps, their buying patterns, etc.).

A CRM system can work differently across departments. For example, it can:

• help sales reps quickly see customers’ past interactions and purchases before making phone calls,

• provide your support team with the background and contact information needed to deliver excellent customer service, or

•  give your marketing team quick access to customers’ details that will help them target campaigns.

Any customer-facing role within a company is responsible for organizing and understanding CRM data insights. However, it is difficult to a 360-degree customer view when your customer data gets siloed in different tools. 

That's why businesses of all sizes and across all industries are switching to CRM tools to create a central hub for organizing and making sense of valuable customer data and insights.

Most common CRM terms you should know

Before diving into the nuts and bolts of a CRM system, you should be familiar with several key terms.

1. Contact

Any individual whose contact information is in your database is a contact. They can be a potential customer, existing customer, business partner, supplier, etc. Most CRM systems allow you to keep details of an individual such as their name, email address, job title, company name, annual company revenue, and more. 

2. Conversion

A conversion can occur when a website visitor fills out a form or clicks a CTA to marketers. To sales reps, a conversion can only occur when a prospect has been qualified. Either way, a conversion is when an object in your database converts to something else, e.g. a prospect or lead becomes a customer. 

3. Conversion Rate

A conversion rate is the percentage of leads that convert into customers, calculated by the ratio of the number of leads that become customers to the total number of leads that interact with your sales reps.

4. Deal

Also known as an opportunity, a deal is a potential revenue-generating transaction with a person or organization that has expressed an interest in your product or service.

5. Lead

A lead is a contact who has shown interest in your business. Leads in your CRM system will most likely be converted to your customers or clients at some point in time, thus providing you with their contact information.

6. Pipeline

Sales stages are organized into pipelines. Every salesperson should have their own pipeline in a CRM system so they can keep track of which deals are in progress. As the deal gets closer to closing, it usually moves from left to right.

7. Source

Your leads can come from different sources. That may include digital advertisements, referrals, forms on your website, your company’s webinars, etc. Tracking conversions by source allows you to hone in on the most effective prospecting channels.

What are the benefits of CRM software?

Here are a few major benefits you can bring to your organization or company by incorporating a CRM system.

1. Centralized & organized database

CRM software provides a centralized database with all the information about your customers, making it easily accessible to anyone in your company who needs it. The system helps sales reps avoid spending time rummaging through files and records to find the information they need about leads to follow up and close deals.

In fact, with CRM software, sales reps can see if a contact has visited your company website, downloaded content from the site, or has spoken to other members of your sales team. Furthermore, they can log records of calls or email interactions with their contacts and leads.

2. Improved customer relationships

CRM software manages all your contacts and collects important customer information, such as demographics, purchase records, and previous messages across all channels. This ensures that your sales reps have everything they need to know about customers at their fingertips and can provide a better customer experience, which is likely to increase customer satisfaction.

With a CRM system, you can also anticipate and handle issues quickly. CRM software like ScaleOcean CRM provides your sales reps with sentiment analysis, automated ticketing, customer support automation, and user behavior tracking to help them pinpoint problems and quickly resolve them with customers.

3. Better communication with leads

Nurturing leads can be complicated when done manually. A CRM system automatically manages processes, sends alerts to your sales reps when they need to reach their leads, and tracks every interaction, from emails to phone calls. It will also help your reps remember whether or not they have sent the leads the resources they requested.

4. Shorter sales cycle

By shortening your sales cycle, you will be able to meet more leads, and with the right conditions, they may just be able to generate more sales in less time. CRM software enables you to shorten your sales cycle by automating and accelerating processes, helping you identify qualified leads faster, encouraging you to take actions such as sending quotes, making follow-up calls or emails, etc. 

5. Optimized marketing campaigns

CRM software helps marketing teams improve their campaign performance by enabling them to:

• Segment leads and customers to help identify which demographic profiles are most likely to buy a particular product.

• Evaluate and rank how closely leads fit into the ideal buyer profile to prioritize profitable opportunities and minimize wasted effort.

• Deliver personalized content to customers based on their individual data, thus increasing marketing campaign conversion rates.

• Analyze the success of marketing efforts to replicate high-performing campaigns and avoid repeating futile campaigns.

6. Real-time sales reports

CRM allows your team to collect and organize data about leads and opportunities using its reporting tool. With this feature, you can evaluate your reps’ performance, track their quotas and goals, and check their progress on each project at a glance. You can also monitor the amount of revenue that has been generated in real-time.

7. Accurate sales forecasts

With any business operation, you should be able to review your past performance and plan for the future strategically. By using automated CRM reports, you can identify key trends and get an idea of ​​what to expect from your future sales cycle performance, while adjusting your goals and metrics to match those projections.

8. Increased internal collaboration

Apart from facilitating communication between your business and your customers, CRM makes it easier for your employees to communicate with each other. Solid internal communication is essential for maintaining your brand image and ensuring your reps learn from each other and work together to achieve quotas.

With CRM, your team can do this by tagging, alerting, and sending notes to each other. Sales managers can also use the system to reassign specific leads with a few clicks. Lastly, your reps don’t have to leave the system to compose and email team members to discuss since all communication is facilitated easily in the CRM.

Key features of CRM software you should look for

A CRM system should contain key features that help you build more efficient processes, make better use of your time, and achieve more desirable business results. 

CRM does more than just organize your contacts. Here are several other important features to look for in CRM software regardless of your business size:

1. Lead scoring

Not all leads are created equal. Good CRM software can help you identify the most qualified leads easily through the lead scoring feature. It ranks leads based on interaction and engagement with your communications, allowing you to focus and follow up with leads who are ready to become customers.

2. Pipeline management

Advanced CRM software provides you with a customizable sales pipeline management feature. It allows your reps to manage your leads and track them along with existing clients throughout your sales process. With this feature, you can easily track the progress of each opportunity. 

3. Real-time reporting

Most CRM systems include some analytics and real-time reporting capability. The most up-to-date ones allow you to:

• generate customized reports,

• track sales reps’ performance, 

• forecast revenues, 

• and break down tabular data by variables such as salesperson, month, service or product, location, etc.

4. Calendar scheduling

Calendar scheduling is an important consideration as it allows your sales team to:

• associate contacts with tasks that need to be performed, such as follow-up sales calls,

• categorize tasks to report performance,

• schedule tasks on individual and team calendars,

• and assign repetitive tasks to streamline routine activities.

5. Quotation & sales order creation

To help your sales reps work faster, you should look for this feature in CRM software. It allows your sales reps to automatically generate quotations with different prices and convert them into sales orders with a single click. 

6. Email Integration 

Managing leads and closing deals in separate systems, such as email apps, can cause confusion and duplication. However, instead of completely leaving your inbox as a funnel, look for a CRM system that connects with Gmail or Outlook to automatically update contact records with every email message sent or received. Better yet, look for the ability to add notes or trigger follow-up actions.

7. System Integration

One of the most important functions that you should look for in CRM is the ability to seamlessly integrate with other systems. Your CRM system should be able to connect with your e-commerce website, accounting system, inventory management system, and any other system that you currently use. In this way, you will gain optimum benefits that help you maximize your business profitability. 

Final thoughts

Customer relationship management provides you with deeper insights, improves customer satisfaction, and helps you sell more. This guide has only scratched the surface of what you can achieve with CRM. And the sooner you get started, the better.

Learn more about how an all-in-one CRM system like ScaleOcean can make your life easier and more productive. Book a meeting with us today to discuss your needs.

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