What is CRM?

‘CRM’ stands for ‘customer relationship management’ and refers to the processes and procedures that organisations use to interact with their current and potential customers in order to better understand and meet their needs. The aim behind CRM is to enhance customer retention and ultimately drive sales growth.

The term ‘CRM’ is also used to describe IT systems and software that organisations use to manage and nurture customer relationships and streamline the day-to-day running of their business. We use the term in this sense.

What can CRM do for your business?

Streamline business processes

On the simplest level, a CRM system is essentially a database that provides you with tools and processes to:

  • Store and update all customer information in a central place
  • Log all customer interactions, including calls, emails and face-to-face meetings
  • Automate tasks such as following up on new enquiries via an email alert
  • Set reminders to stay in touch with key customers
  • Monitor leads and sales

Nurture customer relationships

A CRM system also provides processes and tools that make it easy to:

  • Keep in touch with leads and customers on a regular basis, aided by email prompts or ‘to do’ tasks
  • Follow up on new leads – these are people you’ve not done business with before and may need to build trust with
  • Send automated marketing emails to different groups of leads and customers – it’s important to have the ability to segment your data so you can send relevant messages to them
  • Build up a customer knowledge base, including likes, dislikes, personal information and buying cycles, and use this information to nurture and build rapport

Provide clarity

A CRM system not only gathers and stores customer information, but also helps you make sense of it and use it to build your business. For example, you can use your CRM to:

  • Track which leads convert into customers
  • Measure the value of business in your pipeline (your sales pipeline tracks the value of potential sales you have and what stage they are, for example initial meeting vs quoted work vs won work)
  • Keep your sales team accountable to their targets
  • Draw up reports so you can make decisions wisely, like where to spend your marketing budget – there’s no point in paper-based brochures if most of your new enquiry comes from Google searches, for example
  • Analyse trends in order to make decisions and help your business grow

Automate for efficiency

Once you’ve mastered the basics of your CRM, you can combine (or ‘integrate’) it with your other business systems to automate processes like invoicing and bookings. CRM can be successfully integrated with the following systems to reduce human error and increase efficiency:

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Quoting and proposal
  • Project management tools
  • Calendar
  • Email
  • Lead generation

Not sure where to start? Ask Squirrel

Squirrel Business Solutions specialises in finding the right system for a business, and then getting them set up, trained and up and running as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. If you think your business could benefit from CRM, but are not sure where to start, book a free consult today.

Image credit: Freepik

By | Posted on 24 August 2016 | Business Tools,CRM

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