Picture this: a prospect phones you and refers to an earlier conversation. Now, you don’t remember the conversation, but they do. Where do you find a record of what was said? Do you search your emails? Or maybe scour through all the post-it notes? We’ve been there. And it’s in situations like these that Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) is priceless. But what is a CRM, and how does it help sales teams?
It’s time to find out!
What Is a CRM?
A CRM helps you record all your interactions with your customers and prospects. The information is at hand when you need to answer questions or sort out issues. Without a CRM, you’ll keep fumbling through emails, spreadsheets, and notes to find the necessary information.
As the name implies, CRM or customer relationship management is all about managing the relationships with your customers and prospects. But the concept of customer relationship management goes beyond simply recording interactions. CRM can help build processes and strategies that nurture and improve your account relationships.
Typically, though, CRM is used to describe CRM software. This software helps you store and manage your contact information, record all interactions with your contacts, and better understand your customer relationships. With this information, you’ll be able to not only streamline your sales processes but also make your marketing, customer service, and other business processes more efficient.
What Do CRMs Do?
Now that you know what CRM is let’s build on this and look at some of the critical features of CRM systems in more detail. These systems provide a centralized place to store all your data, track interactions, and share this information across your entire business.
CRMs typically include features like:
- Contact management. Store and manage all the latest information about your customers. CRMs make this data easily accessible and simple to update.
- Lead management. Apart from storing customer data, CRMs also let you store information about all your leads. They also allow you to track your sales team’s activities, targets, and tasks.
- Collaboration. Modern CRMs have several tools that make collaborating easier for your team. These include messaging tools to communicate effortlessly, share files, and collaborate.
- Analytics. Modern CRMs provide extensive analytics that contextualizes your sales, marketing, customer service, and other data on dashboards. You can easily visualize your data and extract insights.
- Sales forecasting. Flowing from analytics, many CRMs also have sales forecasting features that give you complete visibility of your sales pipelines, leads, targets, and more.
Advanced CRM platforms offer far more than this basic functionality, including:
- Enhanced analytics
- Improved lead qualification
- Artificial intelligence
Ultimately, a CRM tool has all the features you need to build a complete understanding of your sales pipeline. And with this understanding, you’ll attract, convert, and maximize customer value effortlessly.
When Should You Use a CRM?
As soon as possible. While it could be relatively simple to manage your contact information using spreadsheets, it becomes challenging as you grow.
You get overwhelmed with data, miss things, and keep inconsistent and inaccurate records. Things slip through the cracks. Customers churn. Teams don’t meet their targets.
In contrast, a CRM keeps everything organized under the same roof. Everyone on your team can collaborate, and you can seamlessly hand off communication. Sales managers can track results, sales professionals can pull the information they need to sell smarter, and companies experience better results.
The Benefits of a CRM for Sales Teams
Firstly, a CRM automates administrative tasks that take up your sales reps’ time and effort. For example, they won’t need to manually track their sales activities like follow-ups, as the system does it automatically. They can create and schedule templates, which frees up their time to focus on closing deals.
A CRM can alert you to significant account milestones if you’re in SaaS. Suppose a customer is nearing their renewal date. Your CRM alerts the right AE, so they can contact the customer about renewal and a potential upgrade. Similarly, if a customer stops using your product, you can trigger a CRM notification that prevents cancelation.
You’ll qualify your leads better using a customer relationship management system. Firstly, the data analytics will show you how your customers convert and which touchpoints are conversion-critical. You’ll be able to analyze your entire funnel to understand which leads drive the most revenue. Instead of wasting time on low-quality leads, you can keep your sales team focused on the highest-value prospects.
When you’re ready to scale, your CRM can automate away lead qualification processes. On the post-conversion side, you’ll get strategic insights to maximize your upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
CRMs give sales managers complete visibility over the sales team’s performance, activities, and pipeline. A CRM will show you high-level overviews and detailed breakdowns if you’re a sales manager. You can go from understanding how many calls your sales team makes and how many tasks they complete to understanding how that affects your quarterly targets. Ultimately, you’ll keep a finger on your sales pulse point and identify any issues before they can affect performance.
Finally, you’ll identify trends and patterns in your historical sales data and make more accurate sales forecasts. And through predictive analytics, you’ll anticipate your customers’ future behavior. Your plans and budgets will be more accurate, showing you precisely what you need to do to improve your results.
Instead of explaining your sales professionals’ expertise to senior stakeholders, you’ll be able to bring data and proof to the table.
CRM Supports Your Sales and Customer Success Professionals
When you can delight your customers, you can retain them. And since 65% of a company’s revenue comes from repeat customers, retention is a priority. Unfortunately, it’s hard to keep track of all your customers, their interactions, and their needs in spreadsheets.
Customers want to communicate with you, and consultative selling is the best way to prove your value to them, especially if you’re in B2B.
Many companies turn to Customer Success professionals to increase their retention rates. But it’s impossible to keep track of every client when one professional has a roster of 20+ clients. In that respect, a CRM connects your Sales and Customer Success team, so their efforts are focused on client retention. A CRM shows you where to leverage different teams, channels, and value propositions.
Ultimately, using a CRM is the best way to break silos in your organization and rally everyone around the same goal.
The Best CRMs for Sales Teams in 2022
Sales teams can easily organize their contact information, automate processes, and focus on high-value opportunities. Marketing is perfectly integrated into the ecosystem, so the steady stream of MQLs keeps flowing for your sales team to tackle. And when a customer is converted, your service team can take over with a complete understanding of every client.
Again, the principal value of a CRM lies in its ability to automate repetitive tasks and connect organizations with data. If everyone in your organization knows to turn to Salesforce when they need information, you’ll be more productive, efficient, and profitable.
You can customize Salesforce to fit your team’s idea of a CRM. For example, if you do a lot of business via email, install Match My Email for Salesforce to sync information seamlessly. This way, Salesforce becomes your team’s headquarters.
Ultimately, Salesforce is as light or complex as you’d like it to be.
If you want a CRM that’s wholly focused on sales teams, Pipedrive is an excellent choice. It’s primarily oriented towards completing tasks that help your organization drive revenue. The entire dashboard is organized by pipeline stages. When your sales professionals log in, they’ll see which actions they need to take and how well they’re doing.
You’ll quickly spot inefficient processes and bottlenecks with simple analytics. Sales managers can review performance, track progress, and course-correct before issues take root.
The critical drawback of Pipedrive is that it doesn’t offer much support for other teams. It won’t be a problem if you’re sales-first and want to find a CRM strictly for your sales team. Otherwise, you may have to set up an integration or two.
3. Zoho CRM
More leads don’t mean more problems. Not with a customer relationship management tool. In particular, Zoho CRM is an excellent fit for enterprise sales teams where every bit of productivity counts.
Zoho helps you streamline sales operations and automate away every single task that doesn’t require your expertise. You can set up robust automations with branching, customize it to your liking with no-code or pro-code, and keep track of metrics that matter.
And with powerful data analysis, you’ll learn how to make the most of every customer’s experience with your company.
It’s Time to Stop Asking “What Is a CRM”
… and start migrating! A CRM keeps your entire company connected, automates all your mundane tasks, and breaks down data silos. Led by your sales team, your company will rally around the one thing that makes a world of difference: your customers.