What is a CRM? | PipelineDeals

What is a CRM?

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What is a CRM?

CRM means Customer Relationship Management. It's a sales pipeline management software and it has one goal in mind: give any business the power to build game changing relationships. A CRM system offers a simple way to manage contacts, manage the sales process and gain valuable insight into your entire client base.

Businesses are catching on to how this can transform their bottom line. Top analyst firm Gartner predicts that the CRM market will be worth over $40 billion in 2018.

This growth is fueled by software that maintains and organizes relationships with individual people. In the end, sales teams can meet the needs and wants of their clients in a timely way. That’s how the best business relationships are built, how trust is formed and how sales grow.

Why is it important to move from Excel Spreadsheets to a CRM?

Even in a very simple form, all businesses practice CRM concepts. In the past, sales teams would jot notes on Rolodex cards including contact information and the tasks they had accomplished that day. Later, spreadsheets stored on hard drives took over. Today’s options are game changing. CRM software built in the cloud - accessible from any device with an Internet connection – is keeping businesses competitive. In today’s Internet of Things (IoT) world, there’s even more data to consider for business transactions including data from websites, social media, apps and so on.

No one can argue that client data is the most precious data a company has. Yet, many times, that data is kept on Excel spreadsheets, Word documents or clumsy notes. This precious data ends up being hard to find, difficult to manage and frustrating to decipher. As a result, data isn’t used the way it should be. These siloed troves of client information become useless, failing to garner the incredible insight they should.

The answer to the pace of change in business and technology today is the CRM. The best CRMs are easy-to-use tools that keep automated track of business relationships by centralizing, simplifying and securing data. In today’s mobile, fast-paced IoT world, structured and unstructured data must be kept in one place, so it can be analyzed and tracked.

As the business world becomes more competitive, a CRM continues to prove to be vital to offer insights that help companies and organizations stay connected to their customers.

Who Should Use a CRM?

Everyone. At a company, sales customer service, recruiting and marketing professionals can manage interactions and relationships with clients through a CRM. By having a CRM in place, your business becomes efficient because communication is improved in a myriad of ways.

Efficiency in today’s business world is key. Competitors are always seeking ways to gain an advantage by capturing new clients and offering them the services and goods they need in an engaging and insightful way. A CRM system has been a proven way to grab those opportunities.

Once a CRM is in place, there’s just one place to seek out customer contact information, data, sales opportunities and customer service issues. All types of valuable information can be available at any time for those who might need it.

A CRM is not just for sales teams. Human resources, accounting to IT can manage their contracts, orders, bills and other types of paperwork. CRM systems can increase sales, improve customer service, companywide communication and more.

Whether you are just starting out, in the start-up phase, or an established company, a CRM has the potential to improve business processes exponentially.

PipelineDeals CRM desktop, tablet, and mobile

How CRM Brings in New Business: Sales

Once your data is conveniently centralized in one place, your sales team can take that data and put it to good use. CRM software makes it possible to create reports with insights, analysis and forecasting to help sales leaders make smart decisions to close deals and improve the entire customer experience. It’s a win-win situation. Customers appreciate the service while your sales to marketing teams can be empowered with the right information to continue to build great client relationships.

User friendly dashboards are another key part of the CRM user experience. Within seconds, a sales person can view orders, track customer issues and read previous conversations. Additional information can be gathered from public social media accounts. On the same interface, you can link to what is being Tweeted about competitors or get a feel of a client’s likes and dislikes on Facebook. Finally, salespeople will know where their sales pipeline stands, so the best efforts can be made to make a deal.

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CRM in the Cloud

With a CRM in place, your most precious data – about your customer base – is kept safe in what’s known as the cloud. The cloud is a Software as a Service model of on-demand resources that are utilized over the internet.

Using a cloud-based CRM is game changing on many levels. As more administrative tasks are automated through software, information can be shared quickly and efficiently. A  Software Advice study  found that in 2008, 88 percent of CRMs were on-premise systems which are a network of on-site hardware and software systems. 

Today, 87 percent of CRMs are powered in the cloud.

CRM is a Way of Life

While a CRM is technically software, it is much more than that.  It’s a philosophy. Using it means taking on a strategy that builds excellent customer relationships.

Work life without a CRM can be a messy one. In this day and age, no one has time to shuffle through Excel spreadsheets, Smartsheets, Word documents or other types of folders and files. Even if you did have time to dig through your hard drive, you risk losing those files with a wrong click of a button or a computer virus.

A common struggle companies face is actually adopting CRM technology into the daily sales process. Usage levels are determined by so many factors ranging from navigation, system settings and more. However, cloud-based CRM systems have changed the market. According to CRM Magazine, companies on the low end of adoption are experiencing adoption rates at about 24 percent. On the high end, CRM adoption rates as a high as 90 percent. The average adoption rates stand at 47 percent. The two most important factors that help companies in the onboarding process include technical capabilities and customer support.

 

The Pace of Change: CRM Solutions

In today’s mobile world, your customer data needs to be mobile too. A CRM makes it possible to be informed at any time and at any place. Sales teams have to be out on the road to meet clients in person or conduct research. Without a convenient mobile tool important information can simply be lost on handwritten notes, forgotten on an Excel spreadsheet or just remaining inside a salesperson’s head.

Anyone working on the go can easily track and manage data through a CRM. That’s because data lives in the cloud, making it accessible from any device with an Internet connection. Cloud CRM updates are also available in real-time, accessible 24 hours a day.

For those who may believe filing data away on Excel spreadsheets is enough – they should think again. There’s the challenge of making good sense of that structured and unstructured data. Excel spreadsheet reports are time-consuming and difficult to create. Such tasks take away from a sales person’s job of meeting customers and making deals. The solution is CRM software which provides the reporting needs to gain insight within seconds.

Businesses are taking notice and that’s why the industry has seen impressive growth in recent years. A CRM industry study by BuyerZone found that CRM usage increased from 56 percent to 74 percent in 2017. The study also found that 91 percent of businesses with more than 11 employees use a CRM. Fifty percent of companies with 10 employees use a CRM.

This growth was had much to do with how effective its users found it to be. Seventy-four percent of users confirmed the use of a CRM improved customer data access. As a result, CRMs empower companies to keep up with the competition and build game changing relationships.

Today, 87% of CRMs are in the cloud.

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CRM and Big Data

Companies want to do better things with their data. That’s why they are looking to transition away from the days of keeping up Excel spreadsheets, Smartsheets and Word documents. As they do that, big data will play a bigger role increasing on-demand data to help businesses build better relationships.

What is big data exactly? Big data is an abundant amount of structured data, sometimes thought of as traditional data, that includes well-organized information. There’s also unstructured data which is data coming from social media platforms, mobile applications, location services, and IoT technologies.

As companies attempt to leverage all of their data sources, they are finding that they are being challenged in a way they weren’t before. In fact, Experian's 2017 global data management report found that 52 percent of organizations don't trust their data. Another challenge is finding the most relevant data for analytics.

That’s why big data is important in the world of CRM. By continuously keeping track of data, a business can learn more information which they can use to improve business processes, customer satisfaction and experience. It has proven to be worth it. According to a Global Research report, 82 percent of organizations have seen positive improvement in revenue by improving data quality. By combining big data and CRM capabilities, companies can find trends and patterns to help a company to shape customer experiences through customer analysis, predictive modeling and benchmarking. In the end, the effort is worth it.

The Cost of a CRM

There are a wide range of CRM choices available. Each one is distinguished by certain features, how it is designed or which industry it is designed for. Whether you are a one-person shop, a small business or a larger company, a CRM is out there that can fit your business needs.

For small enterprises, price is always a concern. One of the best ways to figure out which CRM will work for your business, is opting for CRM companies that offer a free trial. This way, you can understand the features that are offered and if they are a good fit for your business.

On the other hand, think about the cost of not implementing a CRM. According to Gartner, businesses who fail to implement the right data management and customer interaction strategy will lose out on a 25% increase in potential new revenue.

The right CRM tool opens up incredible opportunities to build game changing relationships. CRMs can improve your bottom line through lead conversions, sales productivity, customer satisfaction, and insights.

If you have yet to adopt CRM or are still thinking about it, keep in mind that most of your competitors have moved forward with a cloud-based CRM solution.

With a CRM system in place, you can focus on your customers. Your relationships with them are the core of your success. All sizes of businesses can benefit from enhancing business relationships. It’s the best way to do business. As the pace of change quickens, the CRM is proving to no longer be an optional tool but as a must-have foundation to reaching business goals.

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16 Statistics That Will Motivate You to Invest in CRM Software:

CRM on the Rise

  • The CRM industry estimated to be a $36 billion industry and growing. (Forbes)
  • The CAGR on CRM is 15.1% (Forbes)

CRM ROI

  • The ROI on CRM is $5 to every $1 invested. (Baseline)
  • The ROI on CRM can add up to as much as 245%. (Forrester)
  • CRM has one of the highest growth rates of all software industries, with year-over-year growth estimated at 27%. (IBM)

CRM for SMB

  • 60% of small businesses use a CRM for email marketing. (MarketingCharts.com)
  • Conversion rates can improve by up to 300% with a CRM. (Cloudswave)
  • Average purchase value can improve by up to 40% with a CRM. (Cloudswave)
  • Lead cost lowers 23% when a CRM is in use. (Cloudswave)

CRM for Better Customer Relationships

  • Customer service can improve by 47% with CRM. (Capterra)
  • 75% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company following a bad experience. (Ovum)
  • Leads that start in a CRM system convert 47% of the time. (Annuitas Group)
  • 74% of businesses using CRM report better customer relationships (Software Advice)
  • 82% of customers leave because they think you do not care about them. (The Rockefeller Corporation)
  • The best way to create customer loyalty is to provide exceptional customer service. (ClickFox)
  • The average CRM adoption rate is less than 50%. (Gartner) Specifically, adoption rates stand at 76% for Salesforce (Salesforce) and 90% for PipelineDeals. (PipelineDeals)

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