Customers are at the core of any business. Whether it is a small startup, a student venture, or a large corporation – acquiring and retaining clients is the key to success.
One of the most effective ways to do so is the integration of a CRM system into your workflow. This might be particularly useful for small companies as they have a smaller reach. If you were wondering what to look for in CRM software, this guide is exactly what you need.
What is a CRM and Why Use It?
CRM stands for customer relationship management. It is software designed to acquire, retain, and develop clients. It ensures a personalized experience, a high level of customer satisfaction, and processes automation. It combines the functionality of sales and marketing teams, as well as call center and project management. The exact features, however, depend on a particular product.
CRM is used by all types of companies, whether they are in construction, publishing, or online marketing. It is extremely helpful for small businesses. So if you are starting your endeavor as a college student, it might be a perfect solution.
One of the key benefits is the time such a system will save you. Instead of managing an Excel sheet or document with names, you can streamline all contact management processes, for instance. And time is crucial for students that combine college education with business. They are often overloaded with assignments and tasks and have no spare moments for redundant tasks.
And it is pretty challenging to invest time into developing your business when stuck with endless essays and research papers. Fortunately, platforms like WritePaper offer assistance with that. It is a designated academic writing service that can help with any type of college paper in almost no time. Experienced authors deliver writing, editing, and proofreading when students need a bit of free time or expert advice.
This is a useful platform that makes any paper a breeze. So one can focus on other responsibilities or streamline the workflow. CRM has a similar purpose – it saves one a lot of time while providing excellent results.
The main benefits of using a CRM are:
- Automation of processes and workflow standardization for sales, marketing, and customer support;
- Leads management and recognition;
- Increase in conversions;
- Audience segmentation and provision of individualized services/offers;
- Better customer service based on collected data;
- Usage of customer data for higher sales;
- Cloud-based functionality for easy access from anywhere;
- Reduction of costs when using cloud solutions (no need for hardware investment).
With such a solution, you’ll get insights into your current and potential customers and their preferences.
There are many CRM systems on the market. So the choice of a particular one depends on the goals you want to achieve and business processes. However, it is also crucial to pay attention to core functionality. Here are the main modules a good CRM should have.
Fundamental CRM Software Features
This is the core functionality of any CRM system. It is vital to all other features as it collects and neatly organizes valuable data.
With this tool, the program gathers contacts, creates customer files, and collects the data on where they come from, what they ordered, or what was the question for support. It can also save information on age, location, marital status, etc. This is essential to get a look into your audience and adjust marketing strategies accordingly.
It tracks leads and their progress up to the first purchase. It also saves a history of interactions and communications. For instance, if some clients prefer written communication to oral one, you can section this group and reach out by email or text.
This is a similar tool that deals with companies you are working with. Those could be partners, vendors, or manufacturers. CRM keeps all communication and projects organized.
2. Order Management
The next fundamental feature is the ability of CRM to automate the quote and order management process. When a client decides on a purchase, the system makes the quote, revises it, and processes it. This makes order management fast and error-free.
3. Opportunity Management
This set of functionality serves the purpose of working with leads and increasing conversions. Every lead is an opportunity to gain a loyal customer. So it is important to implement the strategy to work with potential leads.
CRM allows monitoring of the whole sales funnel and communication. It can show the designated salesperson and the actions taken as well as the lead’s response. It gives valuable info to close the deal. For instance, based on birthday information, you can offer a special discount to a person.
4. Automation of Sales Process
From receiving a website order to email confirmations – CRM makes all these workflows streamlined and quick. This saves a tremendous amount of time, particularly for small business owners. The software ensures standard practices and the elimination of any mistakes.
5. Campaign Functionality
This module is designed for better marketing opportunities. Creating a marketing campaign is an excellent opportunity to promote a new product, increase sales, or reach a new audience. To be effective, such a campaign needs to be executed right. CRM automates these processes too. It delivers the analysis data and makes forecasts on the marketing strategies. You’ll get all the insight on how the campaign performs and what can be improved for the next one.
6. Audience Segmentation
Customer segmentation is a key to successful marketing. Whether you are launching a new product or service, it is important to know who you target. For example, if you are offering a discount for residents of one particular city, there is no reason to run a country-wide campaign.
It is a waste of time and money. Segmentation of customers allows for personalizing your services and offers. Clients value individual attention and meaningful communication with businesses.
7. Customer Support
Some programs have call center automation, which is another great feature. It helps agents deliver the best advice right on the spot. When an agent receives the call, they also can see all the data on the customer. This shows the client’s preferences and previous interactions. So an agent knows what product they use and how they can help, for instance.
Advanced systems also have interactive voice response functions as well as virtual agents and automatic call distribution for maximum efficiency.
8. Task Management
This set of features ensures proper organization of employee cooperation. You must be able to set tasks and deadlines for them. You also need to see the progress and automate workflow. The system can create or assign specific tasks based on the role, experience, or availability.
Various reports and dashboards are necessary to see and evaluate the data you’ve gathered. This module gives immense potential. You can create reports based on various metrics, from what product gained the most revenue to the most profitable channel.
Choosing the CRM might seem intimidating. Start with your business needs and goals. Evaluate the offered functionality and how it corresponds to them. Also, think about the flexibility and scalability of the solution. Cloud-based systems are more mobile as you can access data from any device and any location. Keep in mind the third-party integrations with the software you already use. It is always great to create one responsive ecosystem.