If you do, feel free to skip over this paragraph. If not, or if it’s a spreadsheet, here’s a quick overview of CRM, and why it’s a hugely valuable asset for your business:
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it’s one of the most vital tools in your sales team’s arsenal. Some businesses use a spreadsheet, some use software, and some use cloud solutions (but we’ll get onto those in a moment).
Your CRM is there to keep track of vital data about your customers, leads, and contacts. At its most basic, it should have name, email, company, and phone number. That really is the minimum though.
Beyond that, your CRM should also track customer interactions - who contacted them and why, when they last called, when they last purchased something, when their contract might be coming up for renewal, even if they mentioned you on social media.
Using dynamic solutions
If you’re using a spreadsheet to capture this information, you probably don’t have the time or space to store every piece of information about a customer and their interactions. There’s rarely enough room to log everything without making the sheet unusable, and it can be difficult to add new fields when you find a new topic to track.
Using CRM software helps you keep everything neat and tidy. It’s easy to update, and you don’t need a central gatekeeper for information - everyone can add to it, making it more likely that tentative leads will be captured.
A solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows you to share information about your customers across your entire organisation. Sales can see when a customer has been in touch with support, your teams can collaborate on pitches, marketing can see trends and customer insights based on real data.
In fact, the Marketing CRM solution allows your marketing and sales teams to work more closely together, to align their priorities and provide visibility into marketing activities and their impact on sales.
Cloud hosted CRM
Hosting your CRM in the cloud ensures that everyone who access it gets the most up to date information possible. One single, centralised system makes it simple to stay in touch with customers, their needs, and their issues. And because it’s in the cloud, your sales teams can access it on the road.
After a meeting with a lead or customer, they can log in straight away and log the information before they get back to the office, while the information is fresh, before the daily distractions of phone calls and emails.
Having an online CRM allows you to track things like social media mentions, so you can see if your happy customers are promoting you online, or if an unhappy customer has taken to twitter to vent a frustration. Everyone from sales to marketing to customer service can keep an eye on the situation and provide better customer care as a result.
An integrated CRM on the cloud can go even further. You can create campaigns that send emails to your contacts, based on information stored about them in the database. You can trigger emails to send when certain actions are done, or after a defined time period. Information about what each contact did with that email will be stored in their entry on the CRM.
The Dynamics CRM includes lead management and scoring, allowing you to nurture leads with personalised content and offers.
Integrating these activities streamlines your sales processes - sales teams can focus on leads that are ready to buy, while the system keeps nurturing those who may be interested in the future.