Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software TrustMap
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What is CRM Software?
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a business strategy that stresses good ongoing relationships with customers. It holds that maintaining these relationships drives growth and profitability. There are two core elements of this customer-centric strategy:
Presenting a unified face to the customer
Providing a seamless customer experience
CRM software can help by synchronizing customer communications among business units. Sales, marketing and customer service can all get on the same page. It acts as a system of record for contacts and accounts throughout the customer lifecycle. With CRM tools companies can track, automate, analyze, and optimize customer interactions. At its core, a CRM is a database of contact information and interaction history for each individual contact.
Multiple departments may be using the CRM within one organization. These include sales, marketing, customer success or service, and potentially other teams too.
Customer Relationship Management Software Features
In general, customer relationship management technology provides the following sets of capabilities:
Customer Data Management
CRM software collects and organizes customer data. This includes contact information and interactions via email, phone, web chat and social media.
Sales Acceleration and Enablement
CRM software helps streamline and automate certain sales-related duties. This helps enable sales reps to do their job better and also accelerates sales cycles through automation of repetitive tasks. These tasks may include:
Creation of quotes
Updating contact information
Evaluating employee performance
Many CRM software products include some marketing automation features. Others integrate with dedicated marketing automation products. Some features to look for include:
Lead scoring and qualification
Landing page creation
Customer Service & Support
CRM software products often provide customer support-related features. Many also integrate with standalone customer support software (i.e. help desks and contact center software). Customer support features may include:
Customer support portals
Additional Features & Considerations
Some CRM software products also offer project management and social media management capabilities.
Additional considerations when evaluating CRM software include:
Deployment type (on-premise vs. hosted)
Security and privacy
Ease of integration
Benefits of Using a CRM System
CRM systems hold a number of benefits for both small businesses and enterprises. When implemented properly, CRM can:
Create a single storehouse for customer data
Provide greater visibility into sales, marketing and customer service processes
Help optimize customer communications
Shorten sales cycles
Improve customer retention
Help companies understand and address the needs of customers
Increase customer satisfaction
Increase operational efficiency
Free up employees to focus on customer interactions
Marketing CRM Software
CRMs are usually sales-focused. But there are benefits for marketing as well. Marketers usually store their leads in a CRM system, and often help with database management.
Integrating your CRM system with marketing automation, CMS, and eCommerce platforms can help improve marketing campaigns performance. Information in the CRM helps marketers target their messages sent through these systems to the right people. These communications can then be tracked within the CRM.
Marketers can also use CRM software to report on marketing goals, like lead engagement and leads passed to sales. Having a shared database can help align sales and marketing efforts as well.
Some marketing automation tools include a built-in CRM system (e.g. HubSpot and SharpSpring). Additionally, some CRM vendors have developed marketing automation capabilities (e.g. Salesforce and GreenRope).
All-in-one marketing tools typically include both CRM and marketing automation functionality. They often also have content management, SEO, social marketing and eCommerce capabilities. These tools are aimed at small businesses looking for basic features. Larger companies tend to favor a best-of-breed approach, integrating their CRM,marketing automation, and other systems.
CRM System Comparison
Here are two key things to consider while evaluating different CRM software products:
Do you need a CRM that has been designed for either a specific industry or department? Some customer relationship management systems have been designed with a specific use case in mind, for example, Pipedrive is especially well suited for sales. There are also a range of CRM products that have been designed for the Financial Services industry. Other CRM products, like Salesforce and HubSpot CRM are ideal for use across industries and across functions.
Does your business need an easy to use and budget friendly CRM solution, or a more comprehensive solution that allows for greater customization and offers advanced features? There are CRM products at both ends of this spectrum, as well as products in between. More advanced solutions may have a longer implementation timeline, have a steeper learning curve, and may need a dedicated administrator. On the other hand, lightweight CRM solutions may take less time to set up and start running, but they may not have the same breadth of features available.
CRM software is usually priced by user on a monthly subscription model. Price per user depends on the extent of the features you are looking for. Subscriptions can start as low as $12/mo. per user for small businesses. Enterprise level tools rise to hundreds of dollars per user per month. This tier typically has more automation, reporting, integrations, and customer support features.
Free CRM Software
Free CRM software can be a great way for new users to get more familiar with using a CRM system before committing to purchasing a tool. Most free CRMs, or ‘freemium’ versions of paid platforms, will have limited functionality when compared to paid tools. But they still offer businesses the benefit of having all of their contact information centralized in one location.
Free CRM platforms are often well-suited for small businesses and startups, especially if there’s the option to upgrade to a paid version of the platform as they continue to grow. There’s also a large degree of overlap between contact management software and lighter-weight CRM software, including free tools.
A few potential pitfalls to be aware of with free CRMs: they’ll have more limited functionality and sometimes a cap on the number of contact records or platform users. They typically have fewer native integrations (if any) with other third-party systems. Many free CRMs also do not offer integrated email tracking, automatic notifications and reminders, and features like lead scoring.
Here is a list of free and freemium CRM platforms for buyers to consider:
Ofisim CRM is a SaaS based CRM software suite that designed to help businesses to boost their productivity with minimum effort. Ofisim CRM also have capabilities such as sales force automation, lead and opportunity management, quote and sales order management, mass email & SMS…
Tuotempo Patient CRM is a solution targeted for businesses in the healthcare industry. This solution integrates online and mobile services. With this solution, the vendor aims to make the relationship between healthcare establishments and patients simple and immediate, reduce management…
Frequently Asked Questions
The Top Rated CRM software product include:
Some of these products are designed with specific use cases in mind. For example, Pipedrive is primarily a sales CRM and includes sales automation features like auto-populating contact information. Learn more about these products and other CRM solutions here.
Sales, marketing, and customer success/service teams use CRM software to help keep track of customer information and interactions. For sales, this may involve the creation of quotes, order processing, lead qualification, and sales forecasting.
For marketing, CRM activities may include lead management and nurture, landing page creation, and email marketing. For customer support, CRMs can serve as a knowledge base or ticketing system.
Some of the key benefits of using a CRM system to track and store customer data include:
- having a ‘single source of truth’ to track and store contact data
- ability to automate repetitive tasks
- increased visibility into marketing, sales, and customer service processes
- ability to conduct lead scoring based on historical data
- greater sales efficiency, leading to shorter sales cycles
To learn more about CRM systems and the benefits of adoption one, read TrustRadius’ Customer Relationship Management Software description.