What is a CRM
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management system. It helps manage data about your customers, supporting your sales and marketing efforts as well as potentially integrating with your other office systems.
Why you need one
Are all of your customer contact details up to date? Can all of your staff who have contact with customers access details about your customers quickly, easily, accurately and reliably? Are you able to keep track of every contact your business has with each customer so you know who said what to them and when? Do you collect information about your customers in one place so you can make the customer feel valued when they contact you?
A CRM essentially takes customer data and turns it into useful management information to help you run your business more effectively and efficiently.
What a CRM does
A CRM can track every interaction you have with your customers. Every phone call, email, meeting can be recorded. You can add notes, schedule follow-up actions and organise any next steps you need to take. By building up the profile of activity and information about your customers, you can ensure that every interaction with them is personal, relevant and up-to-date.
- Contact management: recording every contact made with your customers
- Lead management: track all your sales activities from first point of contact to conversion
- Sales forecasting: how are sales going against your forecasts? Where does additional resource need to be allocated in order to achieve your targets?
- Email tracking: synchronising email and CRM helps manage activities and schedules
Types of systems
There are basically 3 types of CRM, dependent on the number of users you have and the amount of access the users will require:
- Single computer systems for one user
- Client/server systems, with central database, stored on a server
- Cloud-based systems enabling remote access from any member of staff connecting via their device
Some key points
- If you currently hold all your customer information in paper format or on spreadsheets, a CRM is worth exploring
- The more customers you have, the more valuable a CRM can be to your business
- It is worth investing time in setting the system up properly in the first place
- Choose a system that can scale up as your business grows
- Make sure your GDPR policies include any new systems you introduce