What Are CRM Systems and Why Are They Important?

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Does your sales team struggle with lead generation and closing? That can mean disastrous results for your business.

Companies that have CRM systems increase sales by 29%. Any business can thrive with that kind of sales improvement.

What are CRM systems? Keep reading to learn what they are and how to choose one for your business.

What Are CRM Systems?

What is the CRM meaning? Customer relationship management. It’s a singular system that holds information about your leads and customers.

It’s based on the premise that businesses are built on relationships. CRM systems help you and your team stay connected with customers and they don’t let any leads fall through the cracks.

A CRM system is helpful for all types of businesses, whether you’re an enterprise with a full sales team or a solopreneur with an ecommerce store.

You’ll notice that there are many types of CRM systems, such as sales CRM systems and marketing CRMs. These CRMs let you reach customers at various points in the customer journey and manage the sales process.

CRM systems just aren’t for the end of the customer journey where you manage the sales cycle. You can use them to measure engagement at various points of the journey.

That’s the key difference between sales and marketing CRM solutions.

CRM systems are efficient because you have all of the information you need in one database. The information is shared between customer service, sales, marketing, and operations.

You can set tasks in the software system, so you know who to contact on any given day. If you’re a sales manager, you can also view where leads are in the sales process.

It’s possible to see how many active leads you have, how many proposals are out, and the number of contracts waiting to close.

How to Choose a CRM System

Before you decide to invest in a CRM system, you need to know what to look for. Analyze your needs and goals.

That will help you narrow down the type of CRM system you need. Do you want a CRM for your sales team, or do you need something that helps you manage the customer experience?

Set goals for your CRM system. For example, a goal is to improve close rates by 15%.

Integrations

In an ideal world, what would you like to integrate into your CRM system? The top CRMs are supported by a lot of software providers.

You can integrate your system into your email platform, webinar software, calendar, messaging apps, and accounting software.

Look at your current systems and choose a CRM that supports them.

Features

CRM systems come with a lot of bells and whistles. Some of them aren’t necessary now, but they do give you the ability to scale your business down the road.

If you choose a marketing CRM, you’ll want to choose a system with centralized site management. This means that all of your marketing assets are integrated into one platform.

Your website, marketing collateral, CRM, and other marketing assets are under one umbrella. This provides a consistent and superior customer experience.

Costs

Believe it or not, CRM systems are quite affordable. There are basic CRMs that are completely free. That’s the best solution for solopreneurs or very small businesses with a very limited budget.

CRM systems are priced based on the number of users on the platform. The more people that require access, the more it will cost.

You can pay on a monthly basis, though most providers give a discount if you pay for a year in advance.

Make the Most of CRM Systems

The CRM system definition is customer relationship management. You’re supposed to be able to manage your pipeline because you have a system.

When ends up happening is that the software sits unused. Your team is overwhelmed trying to use it and they revert to old habits.

To prevent that from happening, get your sales team involved in the CRM selection process at the very beginning.

You want to understand what their challenges are and learn how a CRM system can help them. Getting them involved also helps you get buy-in.

Employees want to be heard and understood. Making a huge decision like this without their will lead them to rebel against the change. Don’t spring it on them, get their input.

When you do choose a CRM system, you need to have a migration plan. You probably have a ton of customer data in various spreadsheets and documents.

Your IT team has to find a way to bring these data sets into the new CRM system. A migration plan lets you import the data, test it, and fix any issues with minimal disruptions.

The IT team can also help set up automations and integrations. This will allow your teams to work efficiently from the start.

Provide Training

Start training your teams on the CRM system slowly. Let them start to integrate key features into their work routines. Let them build proficiency, then introduce new features.

Continue to build their skills bit by bit. That saves them from getting so overwhelmed that they never learn how to properly use the software.

Analytics and reports are key features that you want to take advantage of. Make sure that you know what your key metrics are. Create automated reports in the CRM system so you don’t have to recreate them every month.

You can use the reports to follow up with your sales team and hold them accountable. Marketing can tell what customers respond to, so they can create more effective campaigns.

Your Complete CRM System

What are CRM systems? They’re software solutions that help you develop stronger relationships with your customers. That’s how you’ll create loyal customers and grow your business.

For more business tips, check out some of the other articles in the Business section today.

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