CRMs Demystified: What You Need To Know

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CRMs Demystified: What You Need To Know

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 11/13/18 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

Better communication and improving the customer experience make doing business a whole lot easier these days.

CRMs are part of that equation, making it easier than ever to keep your customers happy and attract leads.

Imagine life before your smartphone.

scary gif

That’s what customer relationship management was before CRMs.

Clunky. Time-consuming. Boring.

And the worst: Customer relationships were HARD to manage.

So let’s talk about this little gem that will drive your business to the next level: The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

CRM Perks

Before we dive into WHAT a CRM is and what it can do, you need to know the payoff.

After all, why bother learning about CRMs if you don’t know the return?

Freshworks documents six key benefits of using a CRM:

  • Enhanced customer relationships.
  • Healthier pipelines.
  • Less data entry.
  • Higher revenue.
  • Better communication.
  • More collaboration.

Let’s look at some of the primary benefits of using a CRM.

1. More Information About What's Working

The more you know, the more you grow.

Do you know:

  • The pages of your website that are most visited? This data will tell you the kinds of content and topics your customers want to know.
  • Your customers’ job titles? So you know who to target in your emails?
  • Their biggest challenges? So you can help them solve these problems?
  • The solutions they’re looking for? So you can lead them right to your services and products?

Imagine if you knew which sales emails they’re opening, what subject lines work on your emails, how many people are clicking on the links in your emails, and much more?

imagine gif

Harnessing this data from your CRM will give you much more powerful insights into what’s working, and what’s not.

2. More Customer Satisfaction

“I can’t get no, satisfaction...but you try...oh you TRY!”

Mick Jagger said it best, and he could’ve been speaking as one of your customers.

I can’t get no satisfaction, Mick Jagger gif

This little nugget will take your business FAR.

The more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them. And there’s no better way to learn what your customers like and want than a CRM.

3. More Simplified Processes

The Small Business Chronicle outlines key ways a CRM simplifies marketing and sales. They include:

  • Improved communication, for internal teams and with customers.
  • Flexibility, as prospects and customers can choose how to be contacted and how often.
  • Faster close cycles. You’ll close deals quickly when you’re efficiently managing customer information and leads.
  • Improved productivity. When everyone on your team has access to the right information, at the right times, they’ll work smarter, not harder.

Work smarter, not harder

4. More Time

A CRM also automates a ton of tasks, freeing up your time (or your assistant’s time) to focus on other, more important tasks.

Imagine if you had a series of emails ready to go out when someone clicks on a newsletter link? 

Or if you automated your sales emails so that you could pick up the phone and call when someone opens your lead magnet.

The options for automating are endless – but only if you use a CRM.

5. Better Sales

If you could increase your sales by just 10%, how much more revenue would you have in a year?

A CRM can help you move that number.

Cloudswave outlines a few key sales stats regarding CRMs, such as:

  • A CRM gets a $5.60 return on average for every $1.00 you spent.
  • A CRM offers more than a 50% return on investment.
  • A CRM increases productivity in sales teams by 15%.
  • A CRM that engages customers leads to a 20-40% increase in customer spend.

I think we can close the case on the fact that CRMs offer a host of benefits that you can no longer ignore. So let’s dive into what a CRM is and what you need.

What Is A CRM?

InfusionSoft has a short video that describes what a CRM is. Watch it now:

HubSpot describes a CRM succinctly:

“Simply put, CRM – or customer relationship management – refers to software that tracks interactions with prospects and customers. All CRMs store prospects' contact information – their name, email, and phone number, as well as any other identifying information a company chooses to track.”

Salesforce documents a CRM this way:

“A technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.”

What is a CRM?

A CRM is a customer relationship management system that helps you manage customer relationships and interactions with your company.

Now that we have the nitty, gritty definitions out of the way and we’ve convinced you that you NEED a CRM, let’s explore how to choose one.

What Do You Need In A CRM?

While we sing the praises of a CRM whenever we can because we’ve seen the return it offers, you should know that not everyone needs a CRM.

Without a CRM, your current process probably involves an email tool to store leads and a customer spreadsheet.

So how do you know when it’s time to take the leap?

When to adopt a CRM

As you grow and want to drive business goals, A CRM can solve problems like:

  • Managing data, when it becomes impossible to visualize relationships amongst leads and prospects, sales opportunities, etc.
  • Time-suck, or the time it requires your team to toggle back and forth between different tools.
  • Silos. If each salesperson, for example, has her own way of managing data and customer relationships, when that person leaves the company, all of her “data” essentially leaves with her.

Be conscious of when your ad hoc system of managing, leads, prospects and customers gets out of control. It’s much better to be proactive about adopting a CRM than to wait until it’s too late.

CRM Types To Consider

There are four basic types of CRMs on the market, according to Zapier.

They are:

  1. Conversation CRM, which focuses on streamlining communication, internally and with prospects/customers.
  2. Leads and Deals CRM, for help streamlining the process of closing deals.
  3. Contact CRM, which keeps track of a contact’s personal information and notes from your interactions, for example.
  4. Marketing CRM, which houses your contact data AND tools like automated emails, lead tags, and more.

The Perfect CRM Marriage

Ready to pull the trigger? The best CRM for you will:

  • Be simple to use.
  • Be either free or offers basic features you need for an affordable price.
  • Be relevant, offering the features that help you close deals.

perfect marriage, Jim and Pam gif

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to put the archaic, time-consuming spreadsheets and manual work behind you?

Take your business to the next level with a CRM that will grow with you, help you automate more tasks, and give you key insights into your customers and prospects that help you close more deals.

What are the benefits of a CRM? The benefits of a CRM are:

  1. Getting more information about what’s working.
  2. Better customer satisfaction.
  3. More simplified processes.
  4. Having more room in your schedule.
  5. Better sales.

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Josh Coffy

Josh has an exhaustive understanding of technology and a creative marketing approach that drives client results. In his free time, Josh does CrossFit and travels with his wife.