CRM software or customer relationship management software refers to the suite of applications that helps organizations in managing all their CRM efforts and channeling them in the right direction. The software helps organizations generate leads faster and more effectively and help them nurture these leads through the different steps in the sales funnel. It comes with a variety of modules and add-on applications designed to make CRM streamlined and efficient. As this post states, the software helps organizations target more accurately and generate leads through social channels; but that is not all it could do. In this post, we will discuss more about the solution and how it can be useful for organizations.
The other major task that CRM software helps with is the sales funnel/pipeline management. The sales funnel is the series of steps that a potential customer is put through till he or she becomes a paying customer. Sales funnels are particularly useful when the sales cycles are long, and the prospects need to be serviced differently at different points in time. Some of the usual levels that prospects go through in the funnel are a prospect, lead, qualified lead, opportunity, and customer.
At each step of the funnel, different kind of actions are needed – the prospects might need to be given a certain amount of information, the lead should be given a chance to offer his or her contact details, the lead should be qualified according to some parameters, the opportunity be offered proposals and discounts, and so on. As such, different people will be managing different parts of the process, and all of them should collaborate with one another for the steps to move on without any hitches.
With the CRM software, you can closely monitor the process across its various steps, and remedy any situation to ensure that the funnel is being implemented smoothly.
Social Media Promotions
Social media promotions or campaigns are one of the most important drivers of leads for businesses. If your social media efforts were good before, CRM software will make them better. You can integrate all your social channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on with your CRM system and monitor your work. You can track all your efforts easily from one place, which saves a lot of time and allows users to generate insights more effectively. Often, the results of social media campaigns can be difficult to understand – the CRM solution will help quantify and operationally them. As more and more companies look to step up their Social CRM efforts, an online CRM tool is a must to get the best results from them.
Also integrated can be the survey application, which allows marketers and customer service reps to gather better insights into customer behavior and understand customer satisfaction levels. Surveys can be launched, and results collected and analyzed from within the software itself.
Email Campaigns & Newsletters
Email campaigns and newsletters are an important part of marketing plans in organizations around the world. When you don’t have a CRM solution, running an email campaign would require you to use multiple tools and systems. You need the email addresses from the contact management application, a mass mailing application, and analytics to analyze the responses. However, the CRM software is all of that rolled into one. From the same place, you can manage all your contacts, run email and newsletter campaigns, and analyze the responses to see how effective your campaigns have been, and which aspects are to be changed to make it better. Also, the software will automatically handle subscriptions and allow respondents to unsubscribe if they feel like it.
You can run these campaigns in multiple ways – you can use a coded HTML page or build the campaigns from the scratch in the application.
CRM is one process where lots of decisions need to be taken. Some of the routine questions which demand answers are – what is that segment that I should target, what are the discounts, if any, that I should offer, how should I qualify my leads, which kind of marketing medium gives me the best results, and so on. In the absence of effective data management and analysis techniques, these questions are answered, and decisions are taken, based on gut feelings and trial and error mechanisms.
However, with CRM software, this need not be the case anymore. The software equips CRM specialists with the tools they need to be able to answer these questions after a thorough analysis of the data so that their decisions will be data-driven, and more effective. Since data is already collected and made available for any kind of analysis, all your CRM specialists need to do is click a few buttons to become information experts. Also, sharing these insights and analyses with peers becomes much easier with the CRM solution – reports can be automatically compiled and shared in a matter of minutes.
Say you want to segment your customers based on a parameter like location or the average lifetime value they bring to you. You simply use the analytics tool to query the software to provide you with a list of all those who come under that particular segment. You can then save this segment and tailor strategies for them going forward.
One of the greatest advantages that CRM software offers is mobility. A mobile app gives users the flexibility to organize themselves anywhere, anytime. In preparing themselves to pitch to a customer or in figuring out information that a prospective client wants, mobility is of great help.
Ideally, the different departments involved in CRM must work together and collaborate closely. Each department has different parts of the puzzle, and unless they all share, they will not be able to come up with the complete picture. This kind of close collaboration is very rare in organizations. What is more common is territorial warfare and blame game. Each team blames the others for not doing enough – the sales reps say that they do not have enough leads to work with, and the marketers say that the sales reps are not able to close the leads they generated for them. In the end, the organization suffers.
This also happens due to different teams using different systems to manage their operations without pooling their efforts. This is where the CRM solution is very helpful. It brings all these different departments onto a single platform and allows them to work closely. Since data is collected and stored centrally, it can be called on demand. If marketers collected any data that can help salespeople close deals more easily, they will now automatically have access to this data.
The same way, if salespeople come up with some unique insights, they can automatically share these with the marketers and customer service reps so that they can target and serve customers better. Using in-built communication tools, users can communicate with one another easily. There is also the scope to create groups and workspaces for better teamwork. A CRM solution offers unmatched collaboration opportunities for all the CRM specialists.
Online CRM solutions are not closed systems – they offer integration capabilities that make organizations’ operations seamless and well-coordinated. Also, integrated solutions allow for an automated transfer of data, which saves a lot of time. And since the systems are integrated, there is no problem of incompatibility among systems, which is a big concern when multiple systems are used to manage different parts of the process.
There are many add-on solutions that are good candidates for integration with such as the single sign-on application, which allows people to log into multiple solutions at once and analytics tools for advanced analysis. If you need any capability from your CRM solution that is not already present – you can always integrate a solution and get it.
In CRM, data plays a huge role and is often the line that separates successful and unsuccessful transactions. Data allows CRM specialists to prepare themselves better, and when they are prepared, their efforts will be that much more effective. CRM software helps organizations store and manage all their CRM data from a central interface. With an online CRM solution, employees can access this data from anywhere, equipping them with the capability to work from anywhere, and complete their tasks anytime.
Salespeople, marketers, and customer service reps – all of them will find the software very helpful in managing the data. Since data is digitized and stored on the cloud, it can be accessed on demand. Also, there is a great need for collaboration among these divisions – after all, they all will be working with the customer at different points of time, and if they are to make these interactions more fruitful, they should be aware, and this happens through sharing.
The software offers a centralized secure database and makes data entry easier. There is a lot of automation built into the software – from data entry to storage and retrieval of documents, automation is present everywhere. All in all, you can get rid of all your data management woes if you use CRM software.
Another feature of the software that makes life much easier for CRM specialists is automation. Automation is present in almost all of the tasks in CRM. From data entry to analysis to lead qualification to pipeline management, many tasks can be automated using the software. Say you want to qualify your leads. From the data you collect from your prospects, you can automatically sort them based on their requirements. You can also assign leads automatically – the software can be programmed to route certain kinds of leads to certain people.
This automation makes it very convenient for CRM specialists – they need not worry anymore about the mundane tasks taking up most of their time. They can focus their energies on the tasks that matter most such as closing deals and coming up with better ways to target prospects and turning them into leads.
CRM solutions are a big help to all the stakeholders involved. While the benefits to CRM specialists are obvious, the software also helps senior management keep a close on happenings. Senior management can be automatically kept apprised of all the developments – as soon as a lead is generated or a deal is closed, reports can be sent regarding the same to the pertinent stakeholders.
Online solutions have made business productivity software available to organizations of all sizes – no more does one need huge initial investments or the resources to maintain the software. Online solutions can be deployed in minutes, and organizations can start using them immediately. There are numerous options available in the market today, and all kinds of organizations can get a solution with the exact specifications they need.