Chapter #1

What is CRM? CRM 101 Basics

In this chapter, we explain everything you need to know about customer relationship management (CRM) and why a lot of businesses rely on these software as an essential part of their day-to-day operation.

what is crm

There are many different tools and software that help your company to grow and improve operations. However, the CRM system is on top of the list of most important systems used by companies small and large across the globe.

For many businesses, CRM system is an essential part of their day-to-day operation that cannot be replaced. Now, before you start choosing your CRM system, it’s good to understand the basics, what is CRM, why businesses need CRM, and how it works. And in this chapter, we explain just that!

The Meaning of CRM

CRM is an acronym that stands for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which is a technology used by companies to manage front-end activities such as sales, customer service, marketing, and field service operations. CRM system helps centralize, collect, manage, and analyze individual customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle.

It also refers to all strategies and techniques used by businesses to effectively manage leads and customers to maximize business outcomes. The software helps companies standardize the data and processes, so everybody follows company standards.

Modern CRM system also provides AI and Machine learning capabilities helping you and your employees to transform data into insights to make smarter and faster decisions. Also, many CRM systems provide automation capabilities as well.

Why CRM System is Important for Your Business? [7 Reasons]

CRM system is a powerful tool that can help your organization to boost productivity, improve customer experiences and drive better sales and marketing outcomes.

It’s at the core of your front-end activities to help you attract customers, build relationships, and foster those relationships to drive more revenue for your business.

CRM system is one of the essential tools since day one your company is getting ready for its first leads and customers due to the functions CRM system brings to an organization.

However, because of the CRM system-wide range of capabilities, there could be many reasons why you should implement a CRM system for your business.

It all comes down to who will be using the system in the first place in your company. The reasons why you should use CRM for sales, CRM for marketing, or CRM for customer service will differ.

However, in this article we want to give you an overview and 7 reasons why you should use CRM system in general for your company:

1. Complete Customer Data

Perhaps your marketing is using some form of email marketing automation, then switch to Google Ads and Facebooks Ads to optimize running ads, and lastly, check out website analytics how your SEO strategy performs.

Your sales are most likely using different softwares as well to manage their day-to-day tasks and that same applies to your customer service that needs to manage customer interactions across different channels.

All these results in siloed information across departments and even individuals.

CRM system provides a wide range of capabilities which helps reduce the number of applications that need to be used so your employees can complete their day-to-day tasks. It also helps you to integrate second-and third-party applications to automatically flow data into your CRM.

This enables you and all your team to have access to data across marketing, sales, and customer service and gain a 360-degree view of your customers.

2. Improves Understanding of Your Leads & Customers

Having a complete view of your leads and customers in one centralized system enables you to better understand how your business is doing in terms of customer acquisition and customer experience.

CRM system gives you information on what channels are the most effective for lead generation, what leads convert the best, what customer segments drive the most value for your business and so much more.

All this information gives you information that helps you to continuously optimize your strategies and drive the highest quality leads for your business.

With that, you can also see the entire customer journey, therefore understand what type of customers are the most valuable for your business, what industries are particularly effective, and furthermore, segment your customers to really understand who your customers are.

It also helps you to keep track of common issues and difficulties your customers are facing and anticipate those before they happen. CRM system gives you the information you need about your leads and customers that helps you keep growing your business.

3. Create and Manage Customer Profiles

CRM system lets you collect data about your prospects and customers and segregate each individual customer into different segments based on numerous factors that are important to you like, company size, location, age, job role, products they bought, etc.

This gives you information on what group of people are most likely to buy your products or services and creates customer profiles out of them. Thus you’ll have a better understanding of your B2C or B2B target audience.

It enables you to truly understand your customers and create customer profiles that convert the best for your business and focus only on what works the best for you.

Like this, you can improve your conversion rates, increase average sales per customer and generate more business.

If you are not creating customer profiles, you are not optimizing your marketing and sales effort towards the best results.

4. Improve Sales Outcomes

CRM system helps streamline the entire sales cycle whether it is in B2B or B2C. Since a lead is entered into the CRM system, qualified, and passed over to the sales team, the sales team have already better visibility of the lead by looking at the history and touchpoints of the lead.

This results in a more personalized approach from sales right from the beginning by providing the right information prospects are looking for.

CRM system also helps the sales team to have a better view of the sales pipeline, sending intelligent notifications to salespeople to help them manage their targets, focus on the best opportunities, and in every other way CRM software helps everyone in the team to reach their goals and close more sales.

CRM is the best friend of sales.

5. Drastically Improve Customer Experiences

Customer experiences are becoming vital for many businesses and customer experience is becoming the top priority in the next five years.

customer experience becomes top priority for businesses

CRM System helps your company to drastically improve your customer experiences in several ways. Just by having all your data in one place, accessible by those that need it, gives your customer agents information and history about your customers such as their first interactions with a brand, what products they bought, what was their last issue, and if it is still resolved, are the VIP customer, and even information about current issues the customer is facing.

All this information elevates your customer experiences and creates personalized communication. For example, after helping your customer your customer agent can also follow up on any unresolved issues, provide more information or pass on brochures of the latest products your customer previously bought.

And lastly, CRM software helps keep customer experience consistent across different channels and agents and makes it much easier to train customer representatives to keep your company standards high at all times.

6. Enable Collaboration Between Sales, Marketing & Customer Service

When your teams across departments collaborate everything becomes much smoother and they can focus on the most important tasks instead of chasing colleagues for data they need.

Collaboration is a big part of your productivity and the CRM system helps your teams across sales, marketing, and customer service to collaborate at a much faster pace.

You know that feeling when suddenly somebody sends you an email, they’ll need something by lunch which is in half an hour…

Often, sharing something takes seconds, instead of minutes or even hours, the data is already in a form that another team can understand and use immediately.

And that’s because all your data are centralized and standardized in one platform, enabling your employees to spend less time sharing data and more time getting back to their original tasks.

crm system helps with collaboration by centralizing data and processes across teams

For example, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM applications are seamlessly connected with Microsoft 365 products such as Microsoft Teams, Outlook, or Excel.

This means, all the data can be quickly exported and important from CRM to Excel and likewise from Excel to CRM.

You can also share information with your colleagues using Microsoft Teams by pasting a link and it will expand into a compact card to share with coworkers.

CRM system dynamics 365 crm integrated with microsoft teams

7. Accurate Forecasting and Reporting

And lastly why CRM system is important for your business is because it helps provide accurate forecasting and reporting.

If your teams still extract data from numerous sources, manually combine it and then create charts and dashboards to create forecasts and reports they are using too much of their valuable time, and perhaps it’s still inaccurate and incomplete.

Having data transferred in insights in real-time enables you to make informed and faster decisions every time.

CRM system helps you to remove any duplicates, clean and standardize your data so that you know what you see in your dashboard is not only in real-time, but also accurate.

This also helps your sales to save time on tedious administrative tasks and focus on your prospects and closing deals.

Many activities across sales, marketing, and customer service can be automated which helps your business be more productive and efficient and your employees focus on what’s important.

On top of that, directors and leaders have the information they need to make the right decision to propel their company into a profitable future.

How Does CRM Works?

CRM system works on the simple principle of storing your customer data from the first point of contact to the end of the customer lifecycle whether it is entered by your employee or pulled out from the second and third-party app. Thus, this involves multiple departments such as marketing, sales, field, and customer service.

However, as the technology is getting better, the CRM system also helps automate, simplify, standardize, and streamline processes to make your employees more efficient and productive.

The usual processes that CRM covers in Marketing are:

  • Generating brand awareness
  • Creating and managing marketing campaigns
  • Creating leads
  • Email automation and marketing
  • And many more…

The usual processes that CRM covers in Sales are:

  • Creating and managing leads
  • Qualifying leads and sending information
  • Follows up
  • Prospecting
  • And many more…

And the usual processes that CRM covers in Customer Service are:

  • Help, support, and guide new customers
  • Manage tickets and support
  • Log in customer interactions
  • Providing tier-level support
  • And many more…

CRM system also helps to analyze your data and transform it into actionable insights so everybody in your company has the needed information to make smarter and faster decisions. Of course, the information provided by the system differs based on department, role, and level of access.

A good CRM system will help you to introduce new processes, adapt to your internal processes and simplify operations, so your workers can focus on what’s important.

Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Applications

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Applications are standalone business apps developed to help companies manage customer data, attract new customers, retain current customers, and improve business efficiencies. Microsoft CRM applications cover business processes including Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, and Field Service. Together with AI, you will get a 360-degree view in real-time of your customers and prospects.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales - sales management solution

Is Sales Management & Sales Force Automation CRM system that enables salespeople to build strong relationships with their customers, take actions based on insights, and close sales faster with actionable insights and a personalized approach.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing

Is a marketing-automation application that helps manage multi-channel campaigns and turn prospects into business relationships. The app is easy to use, works seamlessly with Dynamics 365 Sales, and has built-in business intelligence.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service

Is Customer Automation and Customer Management system. Differentiate your brand by taking advantage of built-in intelligence to deliver faster, more personalized service and add value to every customer interaction.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service

Provides complete field Service Management including service agreements, predictive maintenance, preventative maintenance, work order management, resource management, product inventory, scheduling and dispatch, mobility, collaboration, customer billing, and analytics.

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