Learning guide

Beginner’s guide: What is CRM software?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a set of tools that help companies manage customer data and interactions. The software enables companies to effectively support customers throughout their journey and understand and respond to their needs. CRM software is currently one of the fastest-growing types of business software. Being customer-centric is the new way to run your business.

What is the purpose of CRM software?

The purpose of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to create and maintain strong and meaningful relationships with customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

This ultimately improves customer loyalty and retention - and drives business growth. CRM software consolidates and organizes customer information and provides a holistic view of each customer's history, preferences, and interactions with the company.

Who is CRM software for?

CRM software targets all kinds of industries and business sizes. We can adapt the software to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. It helps them establish and maintain strong customer relationships without the need for extensive resources.

Larger organizations with complex customer interactions benefit from the advanced features of CRM software. It helps them handle large volumes of data and help managing relationships across various departments.

How does CRM software benefit your business?

  1. Enhanced customer experience: CRM is instrumental in delivering a personalized and seamless customer experience. By understanding customer preferences, you can tailor your products, services, and communication to meet individual needs. This level of personalization not only fosters customer satisfaction but also builds a sense of loyalty and trust.
  2. Improved customer retention: You can identify at-risk customers and implement targeted retention strategies from the insights gained. By proactively addressing customer concerns and needs, you can enhance loyalty and reduce churn rates. Moreover, CRM systems help in identifying upsell and cross-sell opportunities, contributing to increased revenue from existing customers.
  3. Streamlined sales processes: CRM systems automate and streamline sales processes, from lead generation to closing deals. Your sales teams can prioritize leads, track interactions, and manage opportunities more efficiently. This not only accelerates the sales cycle. It also helps sales representatives to focus on building relationships and providing value to customers.
  4. Optimized marketing campaigns: CRM facilitates targeted and data-driven marketing campaigns. You can tailor your marketing messages for different customer segments based on demographics, behavior, and preferences. This targeted approach leads to higher response rates and improved return on investment for marketing efforts.
  5. Cross-departmental collaboration: CRM systems break down silos between your departments by providing a centralized platform for customer information. This fosters collaboration among sales, marketing, customer service, and other teams, ensuring a cohesive and coordinated approach to customer engagement.
  6. Data-driven decision-making: You can make informed and data-driven decisions with the wealth of data provided. Data-driven decisions help you optimize strategies, sales processes, and customer service and stay ahead of market trends.

How does CRM benefit the different business teams?

Business owner

Business owners and managers apply CRM to get insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. They can use this information to make informed decisions, set strategies, and allocate resources effectively

Sales manager

Sales teams apply the software to better manage leads , opportunities, and sales pipelines. They can track customer interactions, prioritize leads, and forecast sales.

(How can CRM help sales team)  

Marketing manager

Marketing teams apply CRM for marketing automation and c ampaign management. They also use it to track customer engagement and analyze data to improve targeting and segmentation. 

Customer Service

Customer Service and Support Teams apply the software to better manage customer inquiries, complaints, and support requests. Access to customer history and information helps provide better and more personalized service.

CRM vs Spreadsheet

How does CRM software differ from spreadsheets?

A spreadsheet is probably sufficient if you have under 100 contacts or if you only have to track static customer information. This is, for instance, name, email address, phone number, etc. However, if you want to track and analyze dynamic customer data, you need CRM software.

CRM software offers several advantages over using spreadsheets:

  • Data Management is easy. You keep all data in one place. With spreadsheets, data is scattered and unorganized.
  • Processes and workflows are automated. With spreadsheets, processes and workflows require manual updates.
  • Calendars and tasks are integrated. This ensures timely and organized execution. This is not possible with spreadsheets. 
  • Real-time collaboration and communication are handled through a centralized platform. With spreadsheets, they are manually shared and updated.
  • Advanced analytics and reporting enable informed business decisions. Spreadsheets require manual analysis of large datasets which is time-consuming and prone to errors.
  • Full flexibility enables automatic upscaling. Spreadsheets require manual upscaling that involves complex workarounds and increased risk of errors.

What are the key components in CRM software?

  1. Data Management: Central to CRM is the effective management of customer data. CRM systems act as data repositories for customer information. You can consolidate data from various touchpoints such as sales, marketing, and customer service. This centralized database allows companies to create a unified and comprehensive customer profile, enabling a deeper understanding of individual customer needs and behaviors.
  2. Customer Interaction Tracking: You can track customer interactions across different channels, including email, phone calls, social media, and in-person meetings. By recording and analyzing these interactions, companies gain valuable insights into customer preferences, concerns, and the overall sentiment associated with their brand.
  3. Automation of Sales and Marketing Processes: CRM systems often include automation features that streamline sales and marketing processes. Automation allows businesses to engage with customers and potential customers in a more targeted and efficient manner.
  4. Analytics and Reporting: Robust analytics and reporting capabilities are integral to CRM systems. Companies can generate detailed reports on various aspects of customer interactions, sales performance, and marketing effectiveness. These insights empower businesses to make data-driven decisions and refine their strategies.

Is online CRM better than on-premises CRM?

The reasons for hosting applications on-premises are often security concerns or regulations that prevent you from storing personal data in the cloud. However, we recommend online CRM. 

An online solution allows you to access your CRM from anywhere and anytime. It offers you a so-called »evergreen« environment, meaning you are always up to date with all the latest updates and features. The service provider handles backups, and you do not have to deal with server maintenance and updates. A team of experts handle security, which means that your data is secure and safe from hackers.

If you decide to go with an on-premises solution, make sure to check all the requirements. Many CRM solutions have quite high requirements for database, CPU, and RAM. 

You also need to consider the client aspect. Does the solution provide a web client? And is the application supported across all types of devices (i.e. Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, etc.).

How to get started with CRM software?

We can help you get properly started. This will save you time and resources in the end.

  1. Defined objectives and goals: We make sure that you have defined your objectives and goals you want to achieve with CRM. We also help you with a needs assessment. This assessment checks current processes and identify areas where CRM can bring the most value.
  2. Choice of CRM solution: We are among top 1 percent Microsoft partners worldwide and offer Microsoft CRM. It offers many capabilities, fast scalability, ease of use, and integration. We customize and configure the CRM solution to fit your industry and your specific business needs and goals.
  3. Migration and integration: We help you with data migration of your existing customer data to the CRM system. We clean and organize your data to ensure accuracy and completeness. We also help you integrate the CRM system with other existing business systems.
  4. Define and document processes: Together, we define and document processes which the CRM system supports. This includes lead management, sales processes, customer support workflows, and any other processes relevant to your organization. You may consider rolling out the CRM implementation in phases rather than all at once. This allows for a smoother transition and helps in identifying and addressing issues in a controlled manner.
  5. Training: We provide comprehensive training to users who will interact with the CRM system. This includes sales teams, customer service representatives, and marketing professionals. Ensure that users are comfortable with the new system and understand its benefits.
  6. Compliance: We make sure that the CRM system complies with data security regulations and protects sensitive customer information. Implement access controls and regularly audit system security.
  7. Evaluation: We recommend that you evaluate the effectiveness of the CRM system in meeting business objectives. We can help you with this, as well as introduce you to new features and updates.

Need more details? Read more in our Blog post: 10 things to consider before purchasing a CRM