CRM Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: February 07, 2023
Customer Relationship Management
Finding the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for your business is no longer an exasperating process. With so many innovative CRM software products on the market, you have many options to select from.
Are you looking for a comprehensive CRM solution to take care of your growing business needs? Or is a more simplified version for your small business adequate? Whatever your specifications, there should be a CRM solution perfectly suited for your business. We want to help you pick the right one.
Let’s explore some of the terminologies and around CRM systems to gain a better understanding of it so you can vet the products you come across.
What is CRM Software?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a software designed to improve your business relationships. The main objective of CRM is to maximize all customer interactions turning potential customers into paying customers and retaining existing clients.
It leverages off your customer database analyzing data effectively to generate sales while keeping track of all customer interactions. One of the best CRM solutions on the current market is HubSpot which reports an above-average user satisfaction rate of 99%.
Different Types of CRM Software
There are three types of CRM solutions to help improve your customer relations. These different types of systems help your business understand the customer relationship life cycle which can be broken into four cycles:
- Service and support
The three main types of CRM systems speak to the operational, analytical and collaborative side of your business.
This CRM software zooms in on all your sales and marketing data to give you a 360° view of each customer’s progression in your business while moving through sales funnels and engaging with your team members.
One of the leading brands in operational CRM systems is Zoho.
An analytical CRM focuses on evaluating your customer data to identify patterns and trends. This assists in making more informed business decisions based on customer behavior.
A collaborative software solution coordinates your customer information and shares it with all the relevant stakeholders. Information is shared both internally and externally according to your specific requirements.
A leading brand in collaborative CRM systems is SalesForce. This brand provides a cloud-based CRM package, making it easily accessible to all team members.
How does CRM Software Work?
CRM software is designed to maximize your customer interactions and so improve your business relations. Let’s use a scenario to highlight how CRM software works in practice.
Let’s assume your business is a bank responsible for more than 20 million customers’ investments and properties. That means your eye should constantly be on what your customer needs are because this industry is customer-driven.
In this scenario, a customer is dissatisfied with your service and sends a complaint. The CRM system will escalate the complaint to the relevant person and issue alerts to relevant employees to ensure the customer is attended to. It will also provide you with a personal customer profile—containing his or her details as well as feedback on past interactions—so that you can understand the customer's unique needs.
A comprehensive CRM system will use your customer database to track all customer interactions. It will direct customers to relevant personnel if they need help and keep in touch with existing customers.
CRM software even has the capability to cohesively look at all the different business functions and give you consolidated reports to help you make important business decisions.
What’s the Difference Between ERP and CRM Software?
Fundamentally you’ll note that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and CRM are alike in some areas as they both focus on improving the profit margin of a business. Although there are some similarities the main differences are:
- CRM systems are sales driven whereas ERP systems focus on reducing costs
- ERP systems create organizational strategies whereas CRM systems launch marketing campaigns
- CRM systems streamline sales processes whereas ERP streamlines all operations
What to Look for When Selecting a CRM System
It can become overwhelming trying to differentiate which CRM system will work the best for your business. You can use this checklist before making your selection to ensure you get a suitable solution relevant to your needs and budget:
- Identify the most inefficient processes in your business and evaluate how a CRM system can improve it
- Where are the gaps in your operational workflows and processes?
- Ascertain how many users will benefit from the CRM system and which key personnel needs it most
- Check if you’ll need to integrate other software with the CRM system you decide on as it must be able to adapt to changes
- How much will it cost and is it within your budget?
What Are the Costs Associated with Buying a CRM?
The initial cost associated with a CRM system can range from very expensive to completely free downloads of simple CRM systems for small businesses. It is necessary to spend a little if you’re interested in a more developed CRM system designed specifically around your business needs.
The starting costs of popular CRM systems are usually via a monthly subscription and less expensive than elaborate company plans which are quoted individually. The price is also dependent on the range of features and number of users your CRM system will accommodate.
Whatever CRM solution you decide on for your business will improve the way you interact with customers and manage sales. An effective CRM system allows you to see all the important patterns concerning your customers at a glance.
It will give you the advantage to act proactively instead of simply reacting to challenges in your company. It will identify bottlenecks and help design successful marketing campaigns.
Any business that wants to do well in today’s rapidly changing environment will benefit from a CRM solution. Stay one step ahead of competitors and clients from now on.