CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a strategy for managing an organisation’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system helps organisations improve processes such as sales management, contact management and reporting, in order to increase productivity and profitability.
The benefits of CRM include increased sales, greater customer retention, improved service levels and better customer experience.
1. Connect with Customers
The main purpose of a CRM system is to support a business in engaging its customers.
The title “Customer” includes people who buy goods or services but also encompasses partners, beneficiaries, donors, students, members and any other groups who do business with an organisation.
CRM systems help companies understand their customers better. With a clear and complete understanding of both the history and current needs of a customer, staff can meet and even exceed customer’s needs.
“The Dynamics CRM system is vital in supporting our sales and marketing activity with business; I cannot imagine building the relationships we have and achieving the increases in revenue that we have seen without this CRM”
A good CRM system like Dynamics 365 means that staff can access full customer data either in their office or on the go via mobile. CRM systems will integrate a company’s processes and workflow, replacing databases and apps, spreadsheets and paper files that often operate in silos and have incomplete or overlapping information.
CRM can be connected to other systems including accounting systems and websites. In this way an organisation can capture customer interactions across every touch point. With great information comes great customer service which results in soaring customer retention figures.
2. Increase Sales
CRM increases sales in a number of important ways. As shown above, it increases the satisfaction of existing customers thereby increasing retention and upsell rates. However, it also increases sales in other ways. They include:
- Enabling staff to interrogate relationship and order detail to discover new upsell and cross sell opportunities.
- Helping sales individuals connect with the right prospects at the right time by providing structured workflows and easy access to full information, even on the go.
- Providing access to reports that identify the most valuable accounts and work to maximise those relationships.
- Connecting personally with customers. Increase lead generation by using segmented lists and personalised messages that resonate with individuals.
- Make selling fun! Dynamics CRM uses gamification to increase healthy competition and encourage sellers to work harder.
- Enabling integrated campaigns that nurture customers and alert teams when individuals respond.
3. Grow Efficiently
By streamlining people and business processes, CRM systems help organisations reduce admin overload and grow efficiently and profitably.
Some examples of this include:
- A single interface.
CRM manages all workflows in a single interface, saving staff time moving from one system to another. Workflows can be customised to your business. Some examples include service cases, contracts, projects, events and application requests.
- Structured workflows which enforce “best practice”.
CRM enables the application of business rules, methodology and best practice to CRM workflows enabling users within or across teams to follow a specific set of steps to reach a successful outcome. Business rules can be applied to any area including sales leads, service issues and other business processes.
- Automated workflows.
CRM replaces repetitive manual tasks with smart automated workflows that complete actions and send automated emails. Slashes administration time and eliminates duplication of effort.
- A positive, collaborative company culture.
CRM improves company-wide communication as individuals share information, work together effectively and gain a better understanding of other areas of the organisation.
- Improved productivity through better time management.
CRM saves admin time and prompts users when important events occur, or if key actions are missed.
- Integration with key systems.
Organisations gain more value from integrating with existing technologies. Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates with well-known solutions including Outlook, Office 365 and Sharepoint.
4. Excellent business reports
Once data is organised and centralised in a consistent way, the speed at which a company can produce valuable reports increases dramatically.
Reports on all aspects of your organisation will become the foundation for learning new insights which can be translated into more profit. Leaders will be able to see which areas of the business are ripe for growth and which could be performing better. Timely, informed, data-driven decisions can be made enabling organisations to operate with greater agility.
For a sales team this might mean trusted pipeline reports that are used as the basis for reliable sales forecasts to manage cash flow. Sales team achievers are also clearly identifiable and can be rewarded, motivating individuals to work harder.
In a marketing scenario, teams can analyse how responsive their audience is, enabling them to convert prospects or make changes to campaigns in order to engage contacts who aren’t responsive.
Service managers can will be analyse the number of cases logged within a week/ month/ year so that they can accurately forecast volume trend. Service achievers can be identified and rewarded and training of service staff can be focused on the types of call being received.
Modern technology can include artificial intelligence providing further insight and driving a proactive response. Social listening is becoming more important and enables you to identify sentiment regarding your company – are social media posts generally positive or negative. Responding to these posts can create a favourable upward trend.
5. Do Business Anywhere
Through mobile apps, web interfaces and offline access, CRM technology helps people get work done anywhere.
Whether you are working in your office, at home or on the go, you have a set of tools to work on the business relationships that need your attention now. Staff can immediately respond to client requests, react to leads, and manage existing accounts. No time is wasted.
- Creating a new contact record when meeting a potential customer at an event.
- Referencing a contract when meeting a customer regarding future sales.
- Calling the customer between sales visits when an email arrives with further product questions.
- Creating an opportunity for the back office to process when completing a sales visit.
6. Safeguarding Business
Customer and business information is valuable and sensitive. Via CRM, a company can securely store data in the cloud. With advanced security and automatic back-up, this data is protected from hacking, database failure or other unexpected events.
CRM security settings make sure that teams have the right permissions to access records appropriate to their role. With structured data held in the cloud, CRM offers far greater protection than on-premise spreadsheets or databases.
AS an example, with CRM you can make sure Account Management teams within your organisation can only view their own records. Within a team greater privileges can be given to Managers, for example
- only a manager would be able to delete records whilst subordinate could not.
- only a manager would be able to view pay grades whilst a subordinate could not
If you lose mobile devices, access can be removed so that customer data cannot be accessed.