CRM: Customer Relationship Management
If you don’t know what a CRM system is, then you should. If you sell anything in any aspect, which most businesses do, then a CRM system may benefit your business. A customer relationship management (CRM) system allows you to track any and all interactions between your company and a customer. This can be phone calls, emails, face-to-face contact and more. You are able to gather insights into your process, your customers, and your employees. This information can be used to make improvements, thus increasing the efficiency of your company.
A CRM system also helps you stay organized. If you come in contact with a new lead, you can simply enter this person into your system. Depending on the settings you have set, you will get a reminder in X days, X hours, or X weeks to reach back out to this person. You can also create levels in your sales pipeline. Say you have sucessful contact with someone and set up a meeting, then this could move that person into the next step of your pipeline. If this meeting goes well, and you send them a proposal, then they could move further down the pipeline, until they reach a closed deal status.
Just because you close a deal does not mean that you are done with contacting that client. Remember that you likely still have competition on the market who may reach out to him or her as well. Staying in touch and making sure that this client is happy can help avoid turnover in clients.
Who Does CRM Benefit?
The real question is who doesn’t it benefit?
The company benefits by gaining insight into their client acquisition process. They learn where they are losing potential clients or customers, how they can improve, and how things evolve from start to finish. You can open up the system, look at a clients account and instantly know who their rep is and the last time they were contacted. This provides accountability for your employees, as well as analytical insights to improve training and processes.
Say a sales representative contacts a potential customer to set up a meeting and the potential client says to call him back in a couple weeks. Maybe he mentioned he is goin on vacation, or taking his kids to Disneyland. This can be entered in the notes under that client. Then when you call this person back, you can ask them how the trip was, how much their kids enjoyed it, etc. Creating these personal converstions and connecting well with people allow you to increase you conversion rate, turning potential customers into happy customers.
The level of accountability on the company end provides better customer service for the client as well. The customer can also benefit from strategies the company uses to keep them coming back. Also having a system that can be accessed across the company means that if customer calls in with a question, any rep can pull up their account. It may be a simple answer they can provide. If it is more complex, then they have the client’s contact agent listed on file and can forward the call to them. They can even provide a note that will show on the agent’s account on his or her next login.
How Buffalo Wild Wings Uses a CRM to Benefit Customers
Look at the Buffalo Wild Wings’ Blazing Rewards program. This track how often members of the system visit stores, where they visit, how much they spend, etc. If the company sees a huge drop off in usage from a customer, maybe they will email them a coupon to get them to come back. This could potential win back a bad experience by providing a good one. As a former employee at the company, I recognize people using the big yellow gift certificates. I know they probably got them from having a bad experience on their last visit. This means that I try even harder to make this time a better experience for them.
What CRM Should I Use?
Many people have heard of some of the biggest CRM systems out there. These include Hubspot, Salesforce, Freshsales, Pipedrive, and Insightly. These are all great systems, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. When comparing CRM systems, consider what components are most valuable to you and your company. There are typically one of three main focuses that a CRM will excel in. These are operations, analytics, and collaboration.
Operational CRMs focus on incresing the efficiency of your company. This is most useful for companies with shorter sales cycles and higher sales volumes. This helps with automation in the company and speeding up the sales cycle. Past data is used to determine what is most effective and what to avoid in the sales process.
Analytical CRMs focus more on studying customer data. This helps to find trends in what customers want and need. This information can be used to better appeal to customers. The data and patterns analyzed provide valuable insight into how a customer may perceive your business and how you can change this. This is often used in industries with higher-priced products or services and have high competition.
Collaborative CRMs are most common for companies that share data to focus on innovation. With several companies providing data to each other, there is a larger spread of information, potentially from different market segments. This information would otherwise be unknown. Using this allows companies to generate new ideas to increase sales or processes based on how consumers react to different experiences.
Now that you know what a CRM is and how one works, you can see how one would work for your company. Many of them offer free trials so experiment with a few and determine which one best suits your needs. Best of luck!