CRM is a buzzword that you have probably heard a lot, especially if you are a business owner or salesperson. Both enterprise companies and small businesses use it to manage their sales. In fact, Capterra discovered that 65% of businesses adopt CRM software within their first five years.
Businesses use a customer relationship manager, or CRM, because it takes contact management to a whole new level of sophistication, helping businesses capture more data, organize that data, and make more informed sales decisions based on customer data.
And the reason why so many people are investing in CRM is that it significantly impacts a business. 74% of users said their CRM system gave them improved access to customer data.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and is primarily used to increase sales by improving business relationships. CRM, as a whole, is equally a technology system and business strategy focused on moving prospects through the sales pipeline to become customers, and ultimately, loyal customers.
Why Businesses Need a CRM System
Organizations use a CRM system to enhance customer relationships by managing customer interactions, tracking leads, streamlining processes, and identifying sales opportunities. Some businesses use CRM for project management, as well.
A CRM system solves many everyday business struggles, such as:
- Unorganized customer data
- Wasted time spent doing manual updates to excel sheets or outdated technology
- Inability to determine marketing ROI
- Failure to predict sales or view current pipeline
- Missed follow-ups with prospects or customers
- Trouble finding & retaining valuable customers
- Misalignment of sales and marketing
By capturing data in an organized and manageable system, sales and business owners can be more productive and have meaningful conversations.
Now that you have a background on CRM systems and the problems it solves, what are the advantages of implementing one at your business?
Why is a CRM system important?
A CRM system is crucial because it helps you build better relationships with your customers while also increasing productivity and efficiency in sales.
Let me break that down a bit more.
Ways CRM Can Benefit Your Business
A CRM system can help your business with
- Customer retention
- Managing customer information
- Tracking purchasing histories
- Time tracking for your customer service and sales team
- Gathering information and data for email marketing or social media interaction
Some CRM platforms provide workflow and project management features to enhance your customer’s experience by saving time by getting orders or information from your sales reps to your delivery team.
As mentioned above, CRM is a business strategy that is executed and managed via a CRM system. They work in tandem. To be effective, you have to have a plan in place. This strategy includes how to collect customer data, what data is essential to you, understanding your sales cycle, knowing how to move prospects across the pipeline, and more.
Once you have your strategy in place, a CRM system helps you execute it. By having the right data at your fingertips, you can have better, more informed conversations with prospects and customers.
However, the strategy and needs of every business are different. So, the way each business and industry uses a CRM varies.
Let’s take a look at CRM application examples from 5 different industries to help you better understand why you should use CRM for your business.
1. How Financial Advisors Use CRM
Being a Financial Advisor is all about managing client relationships. Client expectations have become more demanding and increasingly digital. They expect a constant flow of communication regardless of how the markets are performing. They also expect that you are personalized and knowledgeable about their account, status, and goals.
Maintaining consistent communication while still being personalized is nearly impossible to do at scale without a CRM.
By implementing a CRM, Financial Advisors can drastically ease the process of staying in touch with customers. When a CRM includes automation, advisors can create automated communications to clients that keep them up to date on the market and current trends. It is also an easy way to upsell other services. This takes little effort on the end of the Financial Advisor, but it satisfies the client's need to be informed.
Most CRM systems also include tasks. Tasks are reminders that act as a to-do list for an advisor. Advisors use tasks to set reminders to follow up with a client on a specific date. On that date, the advisor is automatically notified that they need to call or email their client.
Without a CRM system, this process is manual and time-consuming, so it often falls to the waste side. However, for advisors that don’t spend the effort in building relationships, it sets the stage for higher client churn rates.
2. How Nonprofits Use CRM
CRMs are incredibly beneficial to mission-driven organizations such as nonprofits. A CRM system helps nonprofits strengthen and grow valuable relationships with donors, prospective donors, and partners.
Donors require a specific amount of personalized care to feel like their contributions are appreciated. To provide them with the experience and treatment they want, nonprofits need very comprehensive donor profiles. However, without a centralized database, storing data in different spreadsheets, managed by different people, can result in incomplete or outdated data, which makes tracking historical data nearly impossible.
CRM allows nonprofits to store all that data in one organized place, which can be easily managed by various team members.
Their contacts are also looking for regular updates on the nonprofit’s accomplishments. A CRM allows nonprofits to segment their contacts into groups based on interests, recent activities, and contributions. Being able to group based on these attributes makes sending targeted emails and communications much easier.
3. How Commercial Insurance Agents Use CRM
The Small Commercial Insurance market is in a state of transformation, driving the additional need for CRM. The industry is facing increased competition from Fintech companies as customers continue to look online first. In fact, 70% of Small commercial insurance customers gather information through non-agent channels, including online.
This shift in the industry has increased pressure on agents to build stronger relationships with customers and prospects. However, this is a challenge for agents to maintain at scale while still trying to generate new business.
That is why they have an increased reliance on CRM. Agents use a CRM to solve their biggest challenges: managing their sales pipeline, staying in touch with customers and leads, nurturing prospects at scale, and building a trusted relationship with clients.
Managing their sales pipeline
A sales pipeline shows an agent all the potential, current, and completed deals with clients in a single view. This view keeps agents organized and updated on their potential revenue.
Staying in touch with contacts
Insurance agents have a lot going on every day. They need to be top of mind with their customers and prospects continually. It is relatively easy for a customer to switch their insurance, so an agent must regularly contact and foster that relationship. However, with many clients and a busy schedule, these follow-ups can get lost.
CRM helps to organize your to-do list with tasks. Agents will set reminders to call, email, visit, or send a quote to contact on a specific date.
Nurturing prospects at scale
Commercial Insurance customers have a regular renewal date on their insurance. The time before their renewal date is when agents from other companies will reach out. With a CRM, you can automate this communication based on date and alleviate pressure for agents to reach out to uninterested prospects.
Building a trusted relationship
Lastly, the relationship is one of the most critical parts of an agent’s business. A CRM facilitates relationship building at scale. When a CRM includes automation, agents can create automated communications to clients that keep them up to date on the market and current trends. It is also an easy way to upsell other services.
4. How Consulting Firms Use CRM
Currently, many smaller consulting firms face challenges that prevent their organizations from seeing their pipeline and client information. They use a lot of manual sales processes that can be easily shifted to a CRM, making an immediate impact on their business and saving a lot of time.
It’s not uncommon for consulting firms to manage their clients in large excel sheets. But these excel sheets are cumbersome and very hard to manage when shared with multiple people, plus client information can get lost in the shuffle.
A CRM helps keep one, centralized location for all client information. It also shows more data, like email activity, tasks, and calls in their record. This type of data helps manage and personalize conversations, but it is nearly impossible to get in an excel sheet.
Consulting firms tend to do little marketing and rely on word of mouth and sales for their business. When the focus is on sales relationships, it's important to have a view into your pipeline. The pipeline will show all leaders and salespeople what deals are in motion, how probable they are to win the contract, and how much revenue is in the pipeline. This is easily managed in a CRM and accessed by key stakeholders.
A CRM gives more visibility into the business allowing you to identify trends and increase sales revenue.
5. How Education Uses CRM
Educational service organizations such as private schools, colleges, universities, preschools, and daycares don’t usually think about using a CRM; however, it makes running their business easier and more efficient.
Education is more competitive than ever before. These organizations need to engage, cultivate, and manage relationships with their donors, alumni, parents, and students.
With many different groups to reach, a CRM helps to consistently and effectively communicate at every stage of the lifecycle, ensuring a connected experience for everyone.
With contact segmentation, every person within the CRM database will receive the information relevant and timely for them. This increases the effectiveness of the communications as well as keeping schools top of mind.
What businesses can benefit from CRM?
As you can see, just about any company that serves a customer of any kind can benefit from a CRM system in some way or another. A robust CRM solution, like ours at DirectLync, can help you to modernize, streamline, and transform your business to meet the shaping needs of your clientele.
How Much Does CRM Cost?
CRM systems vary in cost depending on multiple factors – number of users, features, support, file storage, and number of contacts. For a small business CRM System, for example, you can expect to pay anywhere from $12 per user/per month to $100 per user/per month, and the most expensive enterprise versions are around $300 per user/per month.
DirectLync's CRM cost is $25 per user/per month, with additional marketing features available to add on. You can check out our cost calculator to build the right package for you. With our CRM, you receive a dedicated specialist to get you onboarded in no time.
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Start Building More Robust Relationships Today
Hopefully, this article gave you a deeper understanding of CRM and highlighted how to use it at your organization. A CRM system is a powerful tool for your business when customized to solve your specific challenges. Start by identifying your strategy and finding the right solution to execute it.
See DirectLync’s CRM in action. Request a demo