CRM Software: exploring the 5 core strengths of CRM

What does CRM mean? By definition, CRM software is a business tool designed to boost sales and enhance customer relationship management.

By using the right tool, you can monitor the entire customer lifecycle through a dashboard that consolidates data from various contact acquisition channels.

In the highly dynamic and competitive digital market, which demands data-driven decision-making processes, companies increasingly aim to understand their customer’s characteristics, how they interact with the brand, the emotional triggers that drive them to make purchases, and the factors that lead to their loyalty to the product and brand.

CRM software for e-commerce (e-CRM) focuses on online business and, through marketing automation, generates upselling actions, potentially increasing revenue.

In general, thanks to CRM technology, you can:

  • Create a unified view of analytical information about customers and suppliers in the database;
  • track every interaction the user has with the brand;
  • profile customers and segment the audience into homogeneous groups (clusters);
  • enable dedicated and specific communications to defined targets.

So, what does someone who works with CRM do? As I’ll elaborate below, this tool is useful to many roles within a company. Primarily, it assists the sales department in organizing information and tasks related to customer relationships and helps plan future actions based on data acquisition.

If you are planning a strategy for Business Innovation, continue reading, and I will explain how and to what extent the potential of the best CRM Software can be valuable support to boost your business.

What does CRM mean

What is CRM? An acronym for Customer Relationship Management, it is a tool that allows you to archive and integrate user data, both demographic and transactional, often fragmented and from various sources, into a single database.

In today’s context of digital innovation, it is an essential tool for managing customer relationships throughout the sales pipeline, from the first interaction with the brand to when the purchase occurs, and even after-sales support.

CRM software represents an essential investment for companies that need to manage a multitude of contacts, be they end customers or businesses (thus B2C or B2B), online or offline.

Over the years, these tools have evolved significantly and have received further impetus from the growth of online businesses.

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Archiving, customer lifecycle management, and automation translate into user loyalty and streamlined processes.

In summary, those using CRM will be able to maximize profits through targeted and timely actions, offering prospects and existing customers a completely personalized experience.

Knowing how to use CRM software and all the potential of the high degree of automation that follows is essential for companies that are already, or are setting up a Digital Strategy to use digital marketing channels to expand their audience and generate leads.

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CRM Software: 5 main functions

What is it for and why use a CRM? It’s easy to say. Stopping the perception of the progressive depersonalization of commercial relationships, typical of the digital revolution, and managing the customer lifecycle in a customized way is beneficial for the buyer persona as well as for the business.

The best CRM software includes specific advanced features, like the one for the mentioned e-commerce. Additionally, there are B2B CRM implementations supporting account-based marketing specifically designed for business-to-business.

Through automated actions like lead scoring, these implementations increase engagement for sales.

In Customer Relationship Management software, qualified commercial information is collected, such as:

  • Personal Information: It is possible to store name, surname, address, and shipping details in the case of an online purchase.
  • Marketing Attributes: Email address, phone number, date of birth, and occupation, are usable information, with prior consent for data processing for direct marketing purposes, especially in business to consumer.
  • Psychographic Information: Thanks to the integration between CRM Software and e-commerce, behavioral models of users are identified based on personal interests, opinions, and emotions: from website visits to clicks on product cards or items added to the shopping cart, it becomes possible to manage customer preferences and any emotional blocks.
  • Transactional Information: Any CRM software can track conversions that occur on e-commerce, allowing for the analysis of the average cart trend and the loyalty of high-spending customers. It also makes sense to plan targeted marketing actions for a low-spending audience.

For a company, having qualified data like these is a true asset, and that’s why using a CRM is an excellent investment: from marketing automation to the integration between ERP and CRM, platforms like these effectively support digital transformation.

It’s essential to emphasize that the meaning of CRM goes beyond the simple definition in the commercial field: its relevance extends to many business sectors. Let’s now see the main functions of a CRM.

Here are some of the best CRM software for small, medium, and large businesses currently available in the market:

  • Sap
  • Salesforce
  • Zoho
  • Team System

I advise you to be cautious of free solutions since they will never provide you with the functionalities of the software I mentioned above.

By paying a monthly fee, you can access tools truly suitable for managing your clients. The cost varies depending on the type of functionalities you need to unlock.

 

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1. CRM and Marketing Funnel

In any business, consumers want to know who is selling them a product and become aware that they won’t be disappointed with the purchase.

Therefore, sales funnels are created to guide users through the various stages of approaching the company.

  • Awareness: The initial contact phase, during which those showing interest in a particular product, reacting to an advertisement, become aware of the brand.
  • Consideration: After careful analysis of different competitors, the user starts to believe that our company can meet their purchasing needs. It’s important in this phase to be ready when there is an intention to leave a contract.
  • Acquisition: This is the lead generation phase. The user requests to be contacted, by leaving an email or a phone number.
  • Conversion: Finally, the purchase happens. We have proven to be the company that can fulfill the user’s search intent, guiding the initially unknown visitor of our website to conversion.

Just to give some examples of CRM applications in marketing, in the consideration phase, it’s not appropriate to send promotions to encourage conversion because we must first make the reader trust us, and get to know the company better.

Conversely, sending informative communications with the brand’s story when the prospect is in the conversion phase can be annoyingly redundant, potentially affecting the conversion.

Knowing all the stages that make up a sales funnel and tracking leads with CRM software is of fundamental importance for a correct approach by the company’s Digital Sellers, who aim to prioritize one-to-one relationships with consumers.

2. Lead Generation and Customer Relationship Management

Modern CRM Software archives and manages qualitative data of various business stakeholders, crucial in the digital market, where the focus should be more on customers and suppliers rather than the product itself.

In particular, the lead generation activity, which includes contact information like email addresses or phone numbers obtained through social interactions, newsletter subscriptions, or form submissions in advertising, ensures an up-to-date customer base, leading to a potential increase in conversions.

Collecting data is not enough, though. CRM software automates actions that turn leads into prospects, and potential customers showing interest in the brand.

crm software meaning

For existing customers, we can track online purchases, their feedback, and contact points with Customer Service. By monitoring all these touchpoints, we can offer a customer the best possible experience, enhancing our brand perception.

Inbound marketing is certainly more functional for sales compared to cold calling, where the contact has not actively taken any steps toward the product.

As we will see in detail later, it’s possible to manage supplier data too, monitoring both purchase prices and shipment timeliness, creating, moreover, reporting on the quality control of received products.

 

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3. CRM Software and Customer Journey

Planning the customer journey within CRM Software specifically involves implementing different touchpoints considering the stage the target customer is in relative to the pipeline.

Considering the various funnel stages, every online business must aim to send the right messages to its target at the most opportune moment. Each buyer persona expresses a different but detectable buying behavior through interactions with the brand.

Tracking these paths or customer journeys allows offering each lead, once acquired, a message in line with their profile and preferences.

Thanks to the CRM Software, you can create targeted email marketing campaigns:

  • Welcome messages to users who sign up for the newsletter;
  • surveys for feedback on products,
  • promotions during specific periods of the year, for their birthdays, or based on transactional information.

The strategy regarding customer relationship management, with CRM, is automated.

It will be relevant to utilize Customer Relationship Management Software, integrate transactional and psychographic user information into a single dashboard, and also track real-time interactions with customer service and customer care.

Customer management must be considered an integrated department with Marketing, and CRM software concretely supports synergy between departments, for instance, avoiding sending a promotion to a customer who has just complained about customer service.

Furthermore, even in SME contexts, integrating the CRM database with the technical department provides valuable feedback for product development and project management.

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4. Supply Chain Management and CRM

Even in the Supply Chain field, what were once functionalities offered by an ERP system are now also found in the latest generation CRM software, providing all the tools necessary for workflow planning and management.

If your company already has an ERP system in place, even with an integrated CRM, it is possible to monitor both the warehouse status, identify real-time stocks of raw materials and semi-finished products, and optimize choices from a Supply Chain perspective, as well as the progress of production.

Therefore, CRM Software offers the opportunity to increase productivity, facilitating the management of the manufacturing process.

supply chain management and crm

These software solutions are also designed for procurement marketing, aiming to improve relationships with suppliers.

One can optimize the management of activities related to the supply chain, integrating all information, from financial data thanks to electronic invoicing functionalities, to operational data, such as monitoring delivery statuses or quality control outcomes.

5. CRM Software and Human Resources

Most advanced CRM software also integrates with human resource management systems, and in fact, they can replace them.

In addition to supporting routine processes (such as permissions, holidays, payrolls, training, transfers, business trips, and complaints), CRM platforms assist the Human Resources department in recruiting operations by storing candidate data, from preliminary screening to subsequent evaluations.

Thanks to features optimized for remote work in Customer Relationship Management Software, HR professionals can become advocates for the digital innovation process and transform into Digital HR.

A portion of the company’s CRM software can serve as a space for sharing and exchange among employees, such as blogs or forums where the internal culture is built, and employer branding is improved.

Other options, such as connecting CRM to Facebook (easily done by configuring the FB page contacts), activate a sense of community and belonging.

What are the types of CRM?

There are various solutions to choose from based on business needs. Here are the three types of CRM Software to make your decision easier:

  1. Operational: the classic type used for managing daily work activities related to customer relationship management. Common main features include sales management, customer support, marketing, and after-sales service. The main goal is to improve efficiency and effectiveness in customer interactions, allowing tracking of interactions, automation of processes, and enhancing internal collaboration;
  2. Analytical: analytical CRM focuses more on collecting data and analysis from customer interactions, aiming to understand customer behavior and market trends to establish a more effective sales strategy. This type of Customer Relationship Management generates customized reports to help you make data-driven decisions, thanks to a deeper understanding of customer desires and needs;
  3. Collaborative: the perfect CRM for large companies with complex structures. They are designed to ensure that all members of the organization are aligned to meet customer needs comprehensively. It focuses on improving collaboration within the organization through features such as sharing customer information across departments, collaboration in project management, and internal communication.

These three types of CRM can be integrated into a unified system to provide a wide range of features and benefits in optimizing customer relationships.

CRM System: which one to choose for your company

What is the best CRM? It’s not easy to answer this question without knowing the company’s context and business goals. The purpose of this article is to give you an overview of CRM program capabilities, which, as you have understood, are very versatile and scalable over time.

One strategy that allows us to identify the best CRM solutions available in the market is to verify if it’s possible to access data through an internet connection, without relying on the company’s server.

In most cases, therefore, a Cloud-based CRM system is better, and available at more affordable and scalable costs.

Compared to Cloud versions, i.e., online, On-Premise CRMs require hardware for installation and expert personnel to manage configurations and updates.

What should a good CRM have? Here are some fundamental aspects to consider in choosing the software.

  • Customization: The first thing that should be easy to understand is how to implement a CRM: the platform should be able to adapt easily to the changing needs of the business.
  • Data Security: It’s important to ensure that the developers of the CRM tool, especially for Cloud solutions, adopt industry-standard security procedures and protocols. Protecting the company’s and users’ data is crucial, and there are increasingly stringent regulations in this regard.
  • Scalability: The growth of the contacts’ database is always desirable, so upgrades and updates should come at a reasonable cost.
  • Migration: It’s necessary to consider how the CRM software is suitable for uploading data from other management systems, especially in a holding context.

If you haven’t yet started a digitalization process but plan to leverage digital channels to promote your business online, I advise caution with open-source CRM software or free CRM software, as they handle contacts only up to a limited number, and any additional required functionality is typically costly.

Conclusions and Strategic Consultation

I’ve shown you what the goal of CRM is and how various business functions benefit from the use of CRM Software.

Having information from the sales office, marketing activities, customer service, and warehouse available in one platform allows for informed decisions and a data-driven approach to customer relationship management.

It’s obvious that behind the tool, there must be a clear strategy, so it’s important to understand how to implement CRM Software based on your specific needs.

If you want to take advantage of Digital Coach’s expertise in Customer Relationship Management Software, request a Free Strategic Consultation, and a team of experienced coaches can help you identify the right path to take.

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