CRM systems are software products used to automate and optimize customer interactions. This software allows you to control calls and correspondence with customers, while collecting statistics and systematizing them.
The need for such a system arose at the junction of 80s and 90s, when the interaction with customers passed through talented managers who know how to say the right words and convince the customer. Such nuggets were valued and often enticed into a competitive structure. Leaving, they took part of the client base with them and often caused bankruptcy of even large companies. With the advent of CRM systems for sales, the company’s dependence on a particular person significantly reduced.
Who needs to implement a CRM system
If you ask for an explanation of CRM systems in simple words, you will not get the right answer. The fact is that these applications differ in their capabilities and characteristics as scissors differ from the eagle. This gives developers the opportunity to manipulate the information and convince you that his application is the true CRM, and other companies misinterpret the term. All because the term is very vague and even the Exel table or hotel guestbook can be considered an example of CRM systems for business, although it is pretty outdated.
Therefore, it is worth first of all to find out if you really need this software. First of all, systematic analytical applications are extremely mandatory for managers of large, small and medium businesses, if the scope of their activities involves direct work with customers and aims to increase their number They allow:
- not to depend on the human factor. For example, a CRM system for sales excludes a scenario in which an employee responsible for customer relations quit, went on vacation, got sick and took with him the entire customer base, paralyzing the company. It will also help the new employee to get familiar with the databases more quickly;
- implement full-fledged statistics, based on which you can accurately track the number of sales, timely respond to the loss of positions and change the strategy, increasing profits.
A modern online store, a company engaged in wholesales, companies specializing in providing services are very dependent on the loyalty of each customer. Whatever your site is convenient, and advertising catchy and tempting, it is enough to have one dissatisfied customer, that the reputation of the firm has been significantly damaged. CRM systems and are designed to ensure that every appeal to the company was recorded and processed. This is especially important for young and developing companies.
On the other hand, if you are an offline retailer, or if your business is based on long-term contracts and you meet with each client in person, the CRM efficiency will be minimal.
Benefits of CRM systems for sales department
When contacting our company, many entrepreneurs, even if they know about the existence of CRM systems, do not see them as an emergency. Why buy a paid program, or use the free version, when customers can count on the fingers of all four employees, and work with customers easier directly. As practice shows – such a need exists. However, it is extremely difficult to back it up with statistics, as the system does not guarantee direct sales increase, being rather a tool to automate the process of relationships with the customer. In other words, it will not attract customers and will not satisfy their needs. At the same time, if you use CRM properly, you will significantly relieve managers, thus increasing their efficiency. Thanks to these hardware and complex products, you:
- You will be able to record every incoming request, which in a highly competitive environment is not a bad support;
- you will be able to use ready-made tools implemented in the system, which will allow beginners to get rid of the most banal mistakes, and experienced employees to find unobvious solutions to problems;
- standardize the work of employees, which will make it easier to control its quality;
- accumulate a good statistical base, as all information will be collected on a single “medium” (especially useful for firms where managers work both in the office and remotely).
Minuses of CRM systems
There are only two significant drawbacks to using CRM software. The first of them concerns the human factor. Often, the personnel in bayonets perceives the introduction of such a system, as they consider it a source of additional work, without seeing the advantages. The problem is usually solved on its own over time, but it will be useful to explain all the advantages of implementing such a system in the organization in a timely manner and with concrete examples. The second negative point concerns the technical aspect. If the CRM fails, all the work that is done in it stops. Most developers who offer a mass-produced product monitor the system and minimize the possibility of failure. The probability of getting on an unreliable product increases inversely with the popularity of the software. In any case, it is important to make sure in advance that the technical support of your chosen system is implemented at the proper level.
Types of CRM systems
Analytical programs differ in purpose, way of organization, ability to collect and process information and ability to implement individual solutions.
The purpose of CRM is divided by:
- sales management systems. They feature loss and profit analysis, sales forecast, etc;
- marketing management systems. CRM data provide the results of marketing companies on the basis of which the decision to change the strategy or its further use is made;
- systems necessary for customer service. A magic wand for various call centers and firms working with a large array of customers. This software records every call to the company, processes it and creates useful statistics.
Depending on the level of information collection, there are these types of CRM:
- operating rooms. Designed for quick access to customer data;
- analytical. not only collect, but also analyze the information obtained;
- collaborative. They allow the client to interact with the firm, affecting its internal processes. For example, such a system implements surveys of the quality of service or product, offers the client to track the route of his product, informs him (by SMS or e-mail) about important events, etc.
The way of organization divided the CRM into two categories:
- Saas, where information is stored in the cloud services. Easy to use, no additional hardware or maintenance costs;
- Standalone, where information is stored on your own server. Plus this system has a high level of data security and the ability to change it to suit your specific needs.
Depending on the level of individuality of the solutions, you can choose:
- adapted box version. It is developed with a set of the most useful features and is used by most companies.
- individual system. its implementation does not use templates, and the finished product is designed exclusively for the needs of your company.
How to choose the right CRM system for your organization
You should choose a CRM system for yourself in stages:
- define the goals and tasks to be achieved. In this point you know exactly whether you need a CRM system and if so, what it is for. For example, you go to improve the quality of customer service, or evaluate the work of staff, or combine sales management mechanisms;
- conduct market research on CRM systems and find several options that best fit your needs. Out of a few dozen, you’ll be lucky to have at least five more or less options that meet your needs. Get a system that is fully customized for one specific scheme only by writing it yourself;
- assess the cost level. It’s worth paying attention to the fact that some CRM system developers offer new customers more favorable terms, which are valid only a few months. According to experts’ calculations, on average, CRM system implementation increases sales growth up to 20%. Compare this data with the cost of purchasing and maintaining this software. In addition, there is a niche of free CRM, which is an excellent solution for small businesses.
- collect from managers who will later work with CRM “testing team”. It is worth saying here that most CRM systems offer the user a free trial period. This time is not enough to reveal all the features of the system, but it is enough to learn the principles of its work and draw appropriate conclusions.
Quality CRM system parameters
There are no uniform parameters of a good CRM, because everything depends on the specific features of your project. However, functions are considered the most useful:
- integration with telephony. It is implemented in two ways: directly from a browser or using third-party methods. The second option is more expensive, but has more features;
- ready-made API integration solutions. The CRM that suits you should integrate easily with the website and other programs and services you work with;
- planning and working with tasks. A very important point responsible for the interaction between staff. A successful solution can automate many routine processes and also capture the work of your employees;
- integration with the sms server. It allows to easily perform various sms, which significantly increases the number of leads;
localization availability. A key parameter that makes domestic CRM systems rank high in various ratings. Significantly simplifies mastering of the system by employees.
Does the CRM system make your job look like a vacation in the overseas islands? No. Is it able to significantly change the workflow, promote the site, attract customers without the constant participation of the company’s employees? Rather, no than yes. Will the system make your work easier by automating many routine tasks, facilitating interaction between employees and collecting enough statistics to improve your company’s development strategy? Very much so.