Have you wondered why some brands grow at a faster pace than others? It totally means there are secrets that many brands leave untapped. One of these secrets is the power of Customer relationship management systems.

Before the release of CRM in 1987, business owners had to deal with a one-time sales process. There was no system for proper lead management, sales analytics, and customer contact management. This issue led to the decrease of sales and productivity in brands incapable of handling customers’ information manually.

Customer relationship management started as database marketing where a collection of customer’s data like names, contact information and emails were the utmost priority. Evolving into CRM, this data collection became more relational with the additional features in place.

While database marketing helped many brands increase productivity, CRM escalated the increase in sales and productivity by 30% and sales forecast accuracy by 40%. As CRM keeps evolving, more features are added to increase performance. This article highlights CRM platform features that are important in your sales and marketing strategies.

But let’s begin with the basics!

What is CRM?

CRM in full means customer relationship management. It is a software that has equipped businesses with the great advantage of gathering, storing and automating customer’s data for proper business interactions. The growth of CRM has helped businesses best interact with prospects and customers having their journey and satisfaction in mind.

CRM is the perfect addition to every sales team management. It helps nurture every sales forecast into a result-yielding strategy as well as creates efficient marketing automation for busy sales and marketing teams.

With both sales efforts and marketing results all synced by CRM tools, businesses can now compile sales results and optimize each marketing promotion strategically to improve subsequent results.

Is Getting a CRM Software Solution Worth It?

All global businesses keep a CRM at the center of their operations. Effective people management makes great leaders, a good CRM makes great businesses. Having proper dashboards containing every important information needed to make you relate best with your customers is what CRM does.

Saying, ‘I don’t have time for CRM’ is like saying, ‘I don’t have time to look at my GPS app because I am too busy trying to figure out the best way to get from here to there. – Bobby Darnell, Author of Time for Dervin.

Not only are there dashboards to display numbers and trends, CRMs can be used to inform and automate marketing processes. With the right CRM tool, you can figure out what your customers have in common. This will help you refine your customer persona and target your marketing ads more precisely.

There are several advanced functionalities that the ideal CRM is known for, including sales and marketing automation. Despite all these, you can find more ways that CRM software can help transform your business and below are some of the reasons you should consider getting one for your business.

1.  Effective customer reporting:

Serving several customers will put you at the risk of losing track of who your customers are, what they like doing, and how much business they bring into your shop. A CRM will ensure that none of these vital pieces of information never slips through the crack.

A good CRM software collects, stores, and presents customer data for easy analysis and reporting. With this, you can have access to all customer information, including their names, position on the sales funnel, number of purchases made, and lifetime value.

The relevance of these reports, made available through CRM tools, cannot be overemphasized. They help you stay accountable for your clients journey, improve business-client relationships, and inform marketing and sales strategies.

2.  Better marketing automation:

At first, marketing targets can be grossly inaccurate. As time goes on, you start identifying the type of people that are actually making purchases. Sometimes, these paying customers can be different from those you targeted at first. However, there could be some subtlety in the difference between your target audience and the paying customers. Identifying these subtle differences is near impossible without a CRM tool.

With a good CRM tool collecting customer data, you will better understand what sets your paying customers apart from the non-paying ones. With this data, you could refocus your marketing target to reach people that share the attributes of your paying customers since the ultimate goal is sales.

However, sales and marketing management are not always black and white. There are gray areas. For instance, you could have multiple products designed to serve the same type of clients. Eventually, you might find that your clientele is divided, with some buying a product and some buying the other. A CRM tool will help you identify the factors behind the clients’ decisions to take one product over another. Then, you can leverage these factors to segment your clientele and improve your marketing offers for each segment.

3.  Monitor business performance:

Every business was set up with a customer in mind. The more engaging the customer journey and higher the customer satisfaction, the better. With proper information, CRM solutions help businesses track and review these parameters.

Here’s an example of how this happens.

When a customer reports an issue to the customer support team of a business or orders a product, feedback is collected to assess how satisfied the customer is with the service provided or product sold. The feedback given by various clients is stored, routinely reviewed, and used to assess business performance and improve processes.

8 CRM Platform Features You Didn’t Know You Needed

CRM tools have several features. Some are unique to certain brands while others are generic, offered by almost all CRM software providers. Among these features, a few are often neglected by small business owners as mildly important (or completely unuseful).

However, they are not as dismissable as you think. These features discussed below are underrated and you’d probably need them more than you know.

1.   Contact Management

Contact management is a feature originally offered by email marketing providers. While email marketing has its limitations regarding customer contact, CRM systems contain more comprehensive contact data, including full names, emails, phone numbers, and even shipping addresses.

CRM tools provide a centric database where all this information is stored and organized. With the magnitude of identifiable information contained in a CRM’s contact management system, businesses could utilize CRM tools as an integrated approach to database marketing.

2.   Lead Management:

Marketing initiates the customer’s journey. As marketers collect leads, they can be stored in a CRM tool as raw leads and the quality of each lead will be improved upon as customers provide more information or interact with the business.

The various stages of these leads can be hard to track manually. With a CRM tool, you can categorize leads according to their quality and position in the sales funnel. This is particularly important when you are trying to retarget ads, offer discounts, and develop a customer retention strategy.

3.   Business Opportunity Management:

Business opportunity management is a powerful CRM feature that changes how businesses achieve their growth plans. It is a streamlined process for tracking all potential sales opportunities and converting them into actual sales.

Complimenting the regular lead management feature, this opportunity management feature helps you identify the customers that are 95% ready to make a purchase. They just need a few questions answered and a little nudge to get there.

Business opportunity management also helps you identify cross-selling opportunities. By assessing customers’ behaviors, this feature will identify groups of customers with similar buying patterns and help you create the right recommendation for them.

4.   Unified Client Interface:

For many years, CRM has been about customer management and not much about user interaction. However, one of the new features being offered leading CRM providers is the unified client interface. It presents dashboards and charts that put everything about your business and customers in one single page. Interestingly, this page is responsive, allowing you to view it with relative ease in both mobile and desktop devices.

5.   LinkedIn Sales Navigator:

While Linkedin Sales Navigator is an independent sales software offered by LinkedIn Corporation, many CRM providers are beginning to incorporate it into their software to help businesses easily find the data of collected leads and fill them out easily.

Data collected via the Sales Navigator can be used to improve the business opportunity management feature since more information about the customers/leads will be revealed in the process.

Also, from a marketing perspective, you can expand your ad targets using data provided by the LinkedIn Sales Navigator and gain more leads.

6.   Activity Timeline:

As earlier mentioned, it’s hard to keep track of all your customers. You might have customers that haven’t made any purchase in a year or more. You could have customers stuck at a stage in the sales funnel and be completely clueless. With the CRM Activity Timeline feature, you will be able to segment your customers based on their latest activities with your business.

This way, you can easily reach out to customers that haven’t bought any product from you in weeks, redesign your offer for them, and turn them into returning clients. In the same vein, you can follow up on leads that are showing interest in your product.

7.   Sales Forecasting:

Sales Forecasting in CRM is a system that calculates future revenue by predicting the amount of sales of a product or service that will be sold out by a business in a given period.

For sales teams, this feature calculates the estimated amount of sales that will be closed if the present efforts are maintained. This feature provides a standard that sales teams need to beat to maintain consistent growth.

8.   Workflow automation:

Workflow automation is a project management feature that was incorporated into CRM tools. It’s not hard to wonder why it is included in CRM softwares. For many small businesses, a project starts when a customer makes a purchase and that makes it a CRM issue.

The workflow automation feature is designed to automatically create and track tasks based on a customer’s interaction with your business. For instance, you can automate your CRM to create a new task whenever a customer orders a product/service and this new task will be assigned to the appropriate staff on your team.

Also, customer service queries can be added to your company’s workflow structure to ensure that every issue gets to the right expert at the right time.

Always remember you are there to help your potential customers and to make their lives better. Not the other way around. – David Ferguson

Conclusion

The importance of getting a CRM tool is underrated in many businesses but global brands are known to take big leaps in their respective industries by using these features that most CRM packages offer.

For a growing business, you can build your way to the top of the food chain by gaining a better understanding of your customers and offering the right product to meet their needs. The features highlighted in this article are being included in the traditional CRM tools to ensure that these needs can be met.

Nevertheless, there are lots of features and benefits in the typical CRM, but a growing business could use a lot more than “traditional” offerings. Our top recommended CRM tools are well positioned to integrate high-performance, next-generation features to help your business grow to the next level. You should give it a quick glance.