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Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

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CRM software is used by many businesses to help them offer more to their customers and manage their needs better. In our hyper-connected world, customers expect more and businesses need to be able to deliver. A good CRM makes that possible.

If you don’t know too much about CRM software and you want to find out more, you’re in the right place. We’ll explain what CRMs are, why businesses use them and what the key features of a good CRM are, as well as much more information besides. So, read on now if you want to find out more.

What is a CRM and What Does it Do?

A CRM system, or Customer Relationship Management system, is basically a central hub where businesses can store data and track customer interactions. Staff members can communicate and share information on these platforms as well. As the name suggests, it’s all about managing the relationships between businesses and customers.

When a business has CRM software in use, they can make sure that all the information they have about a customer and their interactions is stored in one place. It makes it easier to personalise future interactions and ensure all information is relevant and up to date.

They can also be used for things like scheduling if you need to meet with customers. You can then add notes and plan whichever next steps need to be taken. Later, it can improve cross- selling and upselling opportunities for your company.

Why Use a CRM System?

So, why should you use CRM systems? There are many reasons why you should use CRM systems and it’s mainly about ensuring your customer details are up to date and that interactions can be tracked and analysed. In the end, this leads to improvements in the customer experience so everyone’s a winner.

It can help you to stay on top of the commitments you’ve made to customers. If you’ve told them that you’re going to organise a follow-up meeting, that’ll be much more likely to occur if you’ve made a note of it on your CRM. It can also allow you to make notes that help staff achieve more each day.

Having it all in one centralised place is a massive advantage to businesses because it meant that regardless of things like employee turnover, you can be sure that the key information will remain in place. Everyone will have access to the data and information they need when they need it.

Key CRM Features

There are some key features that most good CRM systems have. These are the things that you should be looking for when you decide to start using one for your business.

Contact Management

This is where businesses store information about customers and their contact details. The information can be amended and updated when necessary and details of the latest interactions can be stored here as well. This information has to be easy to access and update for staff members and the general interface needs to be simple to use because it’ll be used a lot by most companies. It’s a vital part of any CRM software.

Lead Tracking

Tracking pipeline activities and leads is a necessary function and it’s a feature that all CRM software should be able to offer. If it doesn’t, that’s a sign that the software is not really up to scratch. You should be able to track tasks and activities and then compare these against targets that you've set. It should be something that you can do from the start of a customer interaction all the way through to conversion.

Sales Reports

Sales forecasting reports enable members of your sales team to see exactly how the business is performing and whether their efforts are working. Being able to measure their success against the sales targets that they’re working towards is vital and it’s something offered by the best CRM software. These reports can be used to keep staff members motivated and moving in the right direction, which is just as important as anything else.

Instant Messaging

When you have various teams and many employees working on projects, they need to be able to communicate effectively with one another. One way in which they can do that is by using the instant messaging feature that’s offered by most CRM software. It’s vital for big and small things. Simply needed to ask a coworker a question and getting a quick reply is made possible by this kind of feature.

Email Integration

Email is obviously important when it comes to corresponding with customers and managing relationships with them. To ensure everything is in one place, most CRM systems allow you to integrate email into the software setup. You can also integrate things like calendars and contact lists, which can be really useful as well. It keeps everything together and the workflow tidy and organised. It’s a small thing that can have a really big impact.

File Sharing

File sharing between coworkers is more important than ever. When there’s lots of information that coworkers need to share and distribute, being able to do so on the company’s CRM software is a major advantage. It simply makes things a whole lot easier than they might otherwise be. It also allows important files and documents to be kept in one central and secure location, which is good for everyone working for your business.


Analytics allow you to see how things are playing out for your business in terms of managing customers and converting leads. If the analytics tools that are present on a CRM system are telling you that things aren’t going as well as you might like them to, you’ll know that it’s time to make some changes. Most CRM systems will have some form of analytics built into them and you should make the most of that when using them.


What to Consider When Choosing a CRM System

When the time comes for your business to choose a new CRM system, it’s important that you know what you’re looking for. Here are some of the important things to judge each option by.


Every business needs to think about the costs whenever it’s introducing something new to its office. It’s no different when you’re choosing a CRM system. Some options have lower startup costs than others, but they might have bigger monthly fees for you to pay thereafter. Consider which type of payment model works best and think about precisely what value you’re getting for your money from the various options.


Some CRM systems will allow you to maintain your own server while others will take of it for you. If you’re doing it yourself, you will have to provide things like IT security as well, which can be challenging for some businesses. You’ll pay more for a CRM system that has a secure server that’s taken care of for you. Be sure to assess what level of security you’re paying for and how strong that security really is.


It’s just as important to think about the general maintenance to the servers and the software that you get from the provider. Ideally, if you’re paying a monthly fee to use a CRM system, you want to make sure that it’s being properly maintained by a team of experts who really know what they’re doing. It can make a big difference to your business and the way in which it uses its CRM software.

Disaster Recovery

No one likes to think about something going badly wrong, but these things do happen. Having backups and a data recovery plan in place if something does go wrong and all seems lost can really make a difference. So, when you’re looking at which CRM software to use, definitely pay attention to what they’re saying about their disaster recovery services. You won’t realise how vital this is until you’re really in trouble.

Features and Functions

We’ve covered all of the main features and functions your CRM software should offer in the section above, so be sure to refer back to that when you’re deciding which system to pay for. By making sure that it has all of the right features and functions in place, you’ll know that your CRM system will serve the purpose it’s meant to serve. Those are the things to look at when judging which is the best CRM for small business.

The Benefits of Using a CRM System

There are lots of key business benefits that you should be aware of before you decide whether or not to use a CRM system. Find out more about the main benefits below.

Happier Clients and Staff

The main reason to use a CRM system is that is results in happier clients and happier staff. They’ll benefit from the things that a good CRM system can do, such as increased personalisation that shows customers that you really do care about them. And your staff members will be happier because they’ll have great, easy to use features at their fingertips each day at work.

Save Money

There are so many small ways in which a good CRM can save you money. It’ll make it easier for your sales team to target people successfully without spending on other resources. It’ll also make it easier for you to discuss things with clients and respond to concerns without the need for as many in-person meetings. You’ll also increase the profitability of your business if you use a CRM properly.

Improved Efficiency

When your CRM software is making it easier for you to serve clients and meet their needs, it’ll also make your business much more efficient, which is obviously majorly important. You’ll waste less time and get into the habit of getting to the point. Customer interactions will be more effective and simpler, trimming the fat and boosting efficiency along the way.

Increase Your Ability to Cross-Sell

Cross-selling is something that can be very profitable for businesses and you should be trying to do more of it. It’s so much easier to do that when you have a great CRM system in place that helps you understand customers and their needs and behaviours better than ever before. You’ll make more sales and more money.

CRM software can really benefit your business and potentially take it to new heights, so don’t hesitate to survey the options and find out more about the benefits. Your CRM should offer all of the things above, so take your time when deciding which CRM is right for you.


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