If you’ve ever kept an address book, then you’ve already been introduced to the most basic level of customer relationship management (CRM). While printed organizational products may no longer be the most efficient way to keep tabs on customer contact information, they were definitely the jumping-off point for the evolution of CRM software. In this quick initial guide to CRM software, you’ll get an overview of everything there is to know about customer relationship management.

What Is CRM Software?

Customer relationship management is the process of organizing customer data for optimized digital marketing. CRM software aggregates all of this data and compiles it into an easy-to-read structure for marketing teams to access.

While this may simply sound like a digital address similar to the contacts app on your phone, CRM software is so much more than that. Essentially, it’s a customer database on steroids. You can store a customer’s email address, phone number, shipping/billing address, and even demographics.

Contacts can also be organized into groups based on where they are in your sales funnel. As a crucial part of the relationship management stage, keeping tabs on where your leads are can help you cultivate long-lasting business-customer relationships.

At the end of the day, CRM software provides businesses with an overview of the hot leads and current customers. Let’s look at each CRM feature in greater depth.

Contact Management with CRM Software

It all starts with basic contact information. With CRM software, that means going above and beyond names and phone numbers. Information that you can collect via a good CRM software program includes:

  • Email address
  • Locations
  • Age
  • Birthday
  • Career
  • Income
  • Past purchases
  • Preferences

Data like this can help you formulate highly personalized digital marketing campaigns that are more likely to convert. For example, you can send out a promotional email containing a discount code on each customer’s birthday. You can also make smart product recommendations based on prior purchases. With marketing tactics such as these, CRM brings contact management up to a whole new level.

Lead Management with CRM Software

Keeping detailed contact information organized is one thing. Managing and nursing leads is another. While you may have a long list of email addresses, what’s important is how you use those emails.

With CRM software, you can easily manage your leads by placing them in groups based on how likely they are to convert. For example, a hot lead is someone highly interested in your company’s product or services. It makes more sense to prioritize those leads over colder ones. After all, you don’t want your marketing efforts to fail simply because you focused on the wrong leads.

Using a CRM system, you can efficiently track lead activities within your sales funnel and gently guide those leads to the completion of the checkout process.

Email Tracking with CRM Software

As a vital component to most digital marketing strategies, email campaigns can be tedious to manage manually. Time-consuming and nearly impossible for one person to keep track of, email marketing campaigns work best when they are taken over by a CRM program.

The CRM system will keep all of the customer information organized and stored safely. It will also keep track of every triggered email campaign, freeing up a lot of valuable time for your creative team to be doing other tasks. Monitoring delivery, open, click-through and bounce rates, the CRM program will provide your marketing team with fast analytics that could otherwise take days or even weeks to comb through by hand.

Internal Communications with CRM Software

While CRM is mostly focused on maintaining strong customer relations, a business can’t function properly without strong internal relations as well. Fortunately, CRM software is designed to help with features like real-time instant messaging. Departments can communicate efficiently, reducing misunderstandings and repetitive tasks.

Business executives and managers can check-in on team members and offer assistance as needed without any inconvenience on either end. Employees can ask for help from other departments and even request feedback before proceeding with new projects.

CRM Dashboard

Finally, the CRM software includes a user-friendly dashboard that is easy to read and navigate. All stored data is presented in an organized way, and marketing team members can browse through the various sections to find the information they need.

Team leaders and managers can also use the Sales Forecasting section to help motivate other team members to reach specific goals. Forecasting reports display where qualifying leads are currently in the sales funnel and how far they are from making a purchase. Information such as this can be used to personalize marketing tactics from that point to push the lead to conversion.

In Conclusion

A CRM system is important for your business because it optimizes marketing strategies, improves efforts, and enhances customer relationships. After all, having solid relationships with your customers is key to building and growing a stable business.

Gary Reinhard