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What CRM is best for your business?

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Customers are the single most valuable asset of your organization, and as such, their satisfaction should be the number-one focus. Building positive, meaningful relationships with current and prospective customers, clients, and other contacts is one of the keys to the success of any business. This means more than simply appreciating them; it means understanding them.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is used in businesses to keep customer information organized and managed as they pass along the sales funnel because the importance of customer data doesn’t end once it’s been collected; keeping accurate and accessible records of all your customer’s information—from preferences and needs to sales and transactions—can mean the difference between a relationship that is profitable and one that is not.

CRM suites provide immense value to large and small B2B businesses alike, improving conversions, strengthening relationships with customers, and increasing revenues. As a result, investments in CRM solutions are only going to increase. In fact, the global customer relationship management market is expected to reach USD 81.9 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc. Truly, there has never been a better time to invest in a cloud-based CRM. 

The facts and figures are compelling reasons for CRM use: 

  • According to CSO Insights, 48% of sales teams heavily use CRM systems to improve their operations.
  • Salesforce reports CRM software can boost forecast accuracy, productivity, and sales by double digits.

What are the benefits to a business of a CRM?

For many growing businesses, CRM software is one of the most vital tools in their technology stack. From customer service and email marketing to personalization, CRMs provide accurate customer data in real-time.

We’ve identified 6 of the top benefits of implementing a CRM in your business 

  1. Improved organization of customer information

    Are you wading through hundreds of spreadsheets or switching from one document or system to another to try and find your lead or customer data? Worse still, do you have hundreds of disorganized filing cabinets overflowing with client information? Are you losing sales opportunities too often and you’re not sure why? If you’re not currently using a CRM, it could be the problem. 

    A good CRM will offer your business a number of advantages to make it easier to identify, understand, and engage your customers so that you’ll never have to worry about losing revenue as a result of incomplete data.

    CRMs are built using advanced organizational technology that can not only accurately quantify and categorize data for easy future reference but also make that data available across departments which means you will be able to organize your leads and customers in a way that makes sense for your business. For example, you could group people based on their behavior, such as their engagement with your last campaign or their purchase history. Many CRMs allow you to apply customized tags to your audience. Tags are unique identifiers that can help you add extra insights for certain audience members that might not have otherwise appeared within your data. The more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to provide them with the kind of positive experience that really pays off.

  2. Save time with automation and integrations

    Many CRMs can integrate with other apps such as email, calling, accounting, SMS, eCommerce, and marketing platforms, all of which play an important role in the sales process after the customer has said yes! From forms that must be filled out to legal issues to address, CRMs can streamline the process, ensuring every step is completed and everyone is accountable to their task thanks to automation. Automating tasks will leave your sales team to focus more of their efforts on closing leads and resolving customer pain points, rather than dealing with administrative issues. In addition, cloud-based CRM solutions allow remote employees to access the software anywhere they are via the internet, as well as on the go on their smartphones, increasing employee productivity. In fact, Forester reports that 50% of teams improved their productivity by using mobile CRM.

  3. Improved communication between teams

    Within the CRM, sales, marketing, and customer service teams can share valuable information about clients to continue to move them through the funnel and towards making a purchase. Every department can work together to get the right information to the right individual at the right time. With this new found ease, teams can seamlessly work together to improve the bottom line.

  4. Personalized marketing

    With a CRM you will be able to use the data collected about your customers to create unique, personalized marketing campaigns for them, beyond just using their name. You will be able to send them content specifically tailored to their interests, such as personalized product recommendations based on each customer’s purchase history which is more likely to make them convert into paying customers. 

  5. Build strong relationships with your leads and customers

    Managing relationships is a key part of any business. CRM software gives your salesforce a 360-degree view of each person they are connecting with, keeping track of all the interactions that customers have with your business, from signing up to the newsletter to making an online purchase. Each touchpoint the customer has in their online journey is tracked, ensuring the marketing and salespeople can have meaningful conversations with customers, ultimately leading to the sale of more products and services. Plus it doesn’t matter who in the company is currently assisting the client, they’ll be working from the same information so will be able to retrieve all available activity concerning past purchases, preferences, and anything else that might assist them in providing excellent customer service every time. 

  6. Increased customer satisfaction

    It’s just as important to build relationships with existing customers as it is with new customers. It’s been proven time and again that finding new customers can be significantly more expensive than keeping existing customers, so while it’s always important to reach new audiences, you should aim to keep your current customers active and engaged, too. With the right CRM, your sales team will be able to keep track of who’s buying from you, who’s interacting and engaging with your business, and who might need a nudge or two to get them back on track. Building strong relationships will ultimately lead to an increase in customer satisfaction, therefore investing in a high-quality CRM is a must for any business that wants to take customer satisfaction to the next level. Satisfied customers keep coming back for more. 

What is the best CRM for your business?

There are a whole host of CRM vendors to choose from, and it can be overwhelming trying to decide which is the right one for your business. There is no “one-size-fits-all” CRM software.

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is getting caught up in all the bells and whistles that are offered by some CRM systems, rather than concentrating on their business priorities and what they really need in a CRM. What you need can usually be determined by analysing the issues you’re experiencing within the business, for example:

  • Difficulty in finding customer data
  • Poor client communication
  • Inability to retain loyal customers
  • Excessively long sales cycle
  • Low sales volumes
  • Poor visibility into sales team performance

Once you are fully aware of the challenges your business is facing, you'll be in a better position to analyse the different CRM options that are available. For example, a basic CRM system will provide a single set of customer data that your sales, marketing, and support units can work on, addressing the issue of being able to find customer data when it is needed. Operational, analytical and collaborative CRMs, however, are far more advanced, all-around solutions.

  • Operational CRMs centralize data and capabilities to manage the sales, marketing and customer service processes.
  • Analytical CRMs are designed for processing and analyzing customer data to give the user deep insights into customer buying behavior and purchasing trends.
  • Collaborative CRMs facilitate communication and sharing of vital customer information between both internal and external stakeholders.

8 factors to consider when choosing a CRM

Here we cover 8 factors to consider before you decide on the right CRM for your business.

  1. Functionality

    As mentioned above, it’s important to know exactly what you want in a CRM in terms of functionality. For example, lead management, contact management, systems for automating lead and sales tasks, processes, and workflows, campaign management for creating and delivering campaigns and measuring their effectiveness, email tracking, social media management, collaborative functions, ability to integrate with other business software, versions of the software for mobile devices, etc. 

  2. Ability to customize

    Every business works a little differently and it’s incredibly important to carefully evaluate what your specific business needs are and try to match them to the functionality offered by the vendor. It’s rare that one vendor would be able to meet all of your business’ needs, therefore the ability to customize should be there.

  3. Cost

    Many cloud-based CRMs offered as SaaS with subscription plans have become quite affordable. Obviously, the further you move away from a basic solution to the more complex systems, the more expensive it is going to be. Look out for a system that you can add features onto as they become increasingly necessary for your business. Some of the big names in CRM are Salesforce, HubSpot, Freshsales, Pipedrive, and Zoho, but there are other, less well-known options that may be equally as suitable for your company at a lower cost. In most cases you can start with a free option and upgrade to a paid solution as operations grow. 

  4. Scalability

    Some CRMs are well suited to small businesses, while others are better for enterprises. Be cognizant of your future plans for growth. Find a CRM that can meet your desired needs now, but also grow with you as your database, sales team and revenues grow

  5. Easy to use

    Most CRMs have been built with functionality that is easy to use. Ultimately, however, the best CRM tool for your business is the one you and your team are actually going to use. Most of the leading CRM vendors offer free full-featured trials of their software. Take your preferred vendor’s platform for a spin and see if it’s easy to use as well as functional.

  6. Business value

    Your business requirements will dictate the kind of CRM tool and features you will need. The “best CRM” on the market might not actually be the right one for your business and you may end up paying for features you will never use. Endeavor to find the CRM that is the best value for your business, equipped with features you actually need at a price you can afford.

  7. Robust reporting

    It’s no use having all the functionality of a CRM system without robust reporting to help analyze the data. Afterall, you want to know if your current efforts are working, or if you need to be trying a little harder.Automatically generated reports are essential to maximize your time, and personalized dashboard views means you can quickly locate critical information needed to keep a watchful eye on your marketing and sales team’s efforts. Solid reporting means you can make informed decisions to drive customer loyalty and long run profitability. For example, by tracking the status of your existing contacts and monitoring your overall churn, you’ll be able to determine if your retention efforts are up to speed.

  8. Customer service and support

    This can often be as important as the platform itself, especially if it’s your company’s first venture into using a CRM. Make sure the vendor you choose is reliable and dependable. Ask for testimonials, or names of current clients you can contact to get a good idea of the level of support that is available. Ideally you’re looking for a vendor that offers customer service and help desk teams that can be reached at all times from all available channels and means—tickets, phone, email, social media, live chat, mobile, etc. Ask if any training is included in the price as this can prove invaluable. Is there an online knowledge-base to answer common questions?  

Conclusion

At the end of the day, there is no best CRM, only the best CRM for your business. If you commit to the best-in-class CRM tool that money can buy but if it doesn’t fit into your requirements, then your investment ends up useless. It’s not a quick decision as it will be a big investment of time and resources, so we’ve outlined the top factors to take into consideration when making your evaluation. Once you’ve found the right vendor, however, your sales processes will streamline, your team can work together with ease, and ultimately, your business will be more successful.

At Amaxra we would love to help your business ensure you are getting maximum value from the CRM you invest in. You may only need a usable, lighter tool like Nimble or you may require a fully capable product such as Microsoft’s Dynamics 365. There are pros and cons to whichever solution you consider so let us help you make sure this investment works for your business and your users.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Contact me at Rosalyn.arntzen@amaxra.com or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.

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