Taking Advantage of CRM Software in 2022Natalia Persin
Customer relationship management (CRM) software has become all but necessary in the highly competitive business environment of today.
Customers have shorter attention spans and less brand loyalty than ever before, which means that businesses need to place a larger emphasis on the customer journey. This is where CRM comes in, being a highly effective tool in managing and organizing customer interactions.
Although CRM software in itself is a gamechanger for businesses of all sizes, it’s also a tool that’s constantly evolving with the times. And 2022 is going to be no exception.
What is CRM?
But what exactly is CRM? CRM is a software system that allows organizations to keep track of customers and all communications that may occur. By doing this, it also helps to retain customers and improve customer relationships.
CRM is meant to replace a patchwork system of databases and spreadsheets which businesses have traditionally used to keep track of their customers. By putting it all in one spot, there’s a multitude of advantages that come along—both for the customer and for the company.
Who Can Take Advantage of CRM?
CRM being solely in the realm of large companies is a thing of the past. These days, there are a variety of choices on the market that cater to large corporations, small businesses, and even freelancing individuals.
Almost everyone can benefit from the functionalities that come along with CRM, including organizing data, centralizing information, and automating marketing pushes.
CRM software is especially useful for sales teams since it allows them to quickly and efficiently store and access customer information. Things like trends and areas of improvement can be more easily uncovered with this piece of software because all of the info is right there.
Marketing teams can also take advantage of CRM software because it allows them to maintain and convert leads. Marketing campaigns can be pushed and monitored from a centralized location, which also allows better analytics of the customer experience.
The Many Advantages of CRM
But this is all just scratching the surface. Down below we’ll take a look at all the ways CRM can help your business in 2022. There’s something for everyone, and ignoring this useful tool wouldn’t be wise.
We’ll also go over some of the ways that CRM is evolving to be more useful and powerful. The future is bright for CRM software, and that means it can also be bright for you and your business.
Delving into Data
We live in the age of information, and it shouldn’t be any different in the business sphere.
There’s a ton of data that you gather in the customer journey, from reviews to transactions to social media interaction. However, a lot of this data is “raw,” meaning that it doesn’t paint an easy-to-understand picture of what’s actually going on. Enter CRM software.
CRM allows not only the collection of this kind of data but also its presentation in easy-to-understand visualizations. This makes things understandable at a glance and doesn’t require any number crunching.
When it comes to business performance, this should allow you to see any bottlenecks that might be limiting your growth or efficiency.
This may not be an issue for a smaller business, but as soon as there are multiple departments doing different things, communication can become a major stumbling block in getting things done.
CRM software can break down these “information silos” by making all the information readily accessible for every team. A customer shouldn’t be repeating the same things to marketing, sales, and the service team. If a customer profile is disjointed between these three groups, the customer can become frustrated and decide to take their business elsewhere.
With CRM, each lead, client, or customer has their own profile, and it can therefore be passed around the different teams, depending on where they are in the customer journey. This prevents redundancy and improves the customer’s experience, along with the company’s experience. Centralizing this kind of information with CRM is a big win for everyone involved.
Customer Service and Retention
And these factors lead to one of the largest advantages of CRM—customer retention.
The advantages that we’ve already brought up directly play into improving customer satisfaction, and many of the following points will also influence the customer experience. There are also direct ways that CRM software can aid in this area.
For example, customer surveys and loyalty programs can be implemented with CRM to improve the system while also rewarding the most loyal of customers. Insights into different customer groups can also help you better understand your target audience, and create strategies to either better retain certain groups or to home in on other areas.
With automation and a good streamlining process, CRM can make your business more productive and efficient.
There’s a lot of time spent by employees on work involving work—the kind of stuff that needs to be done for the actual work to be started. Automating these simpler processes (such as drip campaigns) allows people to focus on the stuff that only people can do, such as creating content or big picture planning.
This software will also prevent these tasks from being forgotten about. Things like sending emails will always be sent at the right time and to the right people, without any space for human error.
Workflows can be created to streamline different processes and make them intuitive and useful, freeing up time for more important tasks.
Marketers Using CRM
CRM can also be integrated along with marketing automation software, or it may even have its own marketing abilities built into the software.
For example, you can integrate the software with different social media platforms so you know where your efforts are making the biggest bang for their buck. There are also different metrics at your fingertips, along with the ability to automate campaigns and manage them from a single dashboard.
By having complete control of marketing campaigns in one, easy-to-access place, it’s going to become not only easier to carry them out, but also to improve them going forward. And what’s not to like about that?
Better Info About Customers
Information is good, and information about your customers is even better, but it’s easy to get lost in all of the data you might be collecting. As you might’ve guessed, CRM makes this easy.
CRM software can segment your customer base by their different demographics, such as location, age, and gender. It can quickly comb through contacts to find the ones that are worth contacting first or the customers that need a different approach to pull them in.
In turn, this can offer a better idea of who your customer base consists of and what their needs are.
The above point hints at the overarching benefits of CRM software—its ability to act as a database for all your information needs.
Having this all in a centralized place is good for everyone. For example, CRM can, at a glance, show whether a customer has interacted with the company before. Not only will this show what the interaction was about, but it can also inform the different marketing pushes and sales pitches that might be looked at in the future.
And because it’s all in one spot, it can be easily organized depending on what someone is looking for. This includes things like customer segmentation.
With this better-organized data, it becomes much easier to sift through data about leads or current customers. With the reporting features in many software packages, employees can manage the processes that go into the customer journey.
Sales reports can also help employees see how their own performance measures up compared to goals and quotas. Along with their own personal performance, it also becomes easy to check how different projects are coming along.
Using the aforementioned automated sales reports, it’s easier to get more accurate sales forecasting, allowing the business to create better plans going into the future.
The automation and organization of the software will allow you to find key trends that can paint a picture of what’s to come, which will allow the business to make any necessary adjustments and metric shifts before it becomes too late.
Scale and Mobility
Although different software packages are catered to different needs in terms of company size, there is usually a lot of space for growth.
Rather than relying on manual ways of tracking information and looking for data (and then having to scale these tools and processes manually), this is all built into CRM software. If the business experiences a lot of growth, or some other metric is included in the tracking, the software can handle this scalability with ease. Not to mention that finding information stays as easy as ever because organization is automatic.
But as much as CRM software may fit, it can still be found all in the palm of your hand. With a cloud-based system, all the information is accessible by your team wherever they might find themselves, as long as they have access to a smartphone.
While being able to access this information anywhere and anytime may seem daunting, CRM can also make the process of data privacy much easier to manage.
Things like permissions and data storage preferences can be automatically sent out to customers and stored in the database. This protects you and your business from mistakes and helps protect the data of your customers.
Trends for the Future
As magical as CRM software may seem if you’ve never used it, there’s still a lot more that the future promises to bring.
From more advanced computing to more clever features, 2022 and beyond will see the rise of ever more intuitive, powerful, and helpful CRM systems. These are some of the things to watch out for:
The majority of sales professionals already use CRM software, however, there’s still a large minority of professionals who do not. The largest barriers to the adoption of this software are cost and the technical ability to implement it into the current system.
CRM is constantly trending towards becoming cheaper and simpler to implement. As more companies vie for their piece of the pie, CRM is becoming more intuitive with fewer and fewer barriers to its usage. If you haven’t adopted it yet, there’s no better time than right now.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in computing, and CRM software is seeing its fair share of AI implementation.
This can mean something like a conversational intelligence program, but the major benefit is in sales analytics and forecasting. As AI improves and is slowly integrated more and more into CRM systems, we can expect there to be clearer and more important data.
This will in turn help businesses to better chart courses for their future goals and metrics.
As CRM becomes more intuitive and easier to implement, there are also a lot more different systems now on the market.
All of these software packages fill their specific niche, whether they’re used for generalized needs or for highly specific needs. It’s easier than ever to shop around and find what works best for you and your business.
Some of the most popular include:
- Less Annoying CRM
- Active Campaign
…and the list keeps growing. While it might be difficult to sift through all the options, it’ll help to first know exactly what features you’re looking for and what kind of usage the software will see.
A Personalized Customer Experience
In cultivating and retaining your customers, it’s more important than ever to give them a personalized experience. But this obviously gets significantly harder the more customers you have. The answer is automation and data.
The data that you collect from your customers can be invaluable in understanding their needs and motivations, which will help you better serve them. With CRM software, this can be done on an individual level, even when there’s a lot of data to sift through.
CRM is increasingly becoming better at painting these customer profiles and then matching them with personalized messaging. With a large number of customers, this would’ve been nigh impossible without CRM.
Along with customer profiles becoming more advanced, there are also a lot of improvements occurring in the automation aspect of CRM.
Again, this helps to prevent employees from having to do tasks that must be done, but don’t necessarily pertain to their actual job. Things that are easily automated, should be automated, and a newer generation of CRM will make this easier and more intuitive than ever.
For example, an automated workflow can message potential customers who have left something in their cart, reminding them of their near purchase. Combined with a coupon, this can be a powerful way to get people to come back to you.
Social Media and CRM
There’s also a trend of more CRM being highly integrated with social media channels. This social CRM allows businesses to gain a better perspective on how their customers interact with them and other social media presences.
For example, CRM can be used to respond to comments, which can in turn be used to gauge the sentiments people hold about the brand.
Although this is already a factor in a lot of CRM, it’s only going to gain in popularity.
Self Service Portals
Along with customers increasingly expecting more personalized messages, they’re also increasingly preferring to solve problems by themselves rather than reaching out to customer service.
This means that self-service portals are becoming a vital part of businesses. This can include things like FAQs and community forums where issues are discussed. The major drawback is that these self-service options aren’t integrated with anything else, making it difficult to get a read on which customers are saying what.
Much like with greater social media integration, there’s also been an uptick in self-service portal integration with CRM software.
If a customer has used a self-service portal in the past (that’s integrated with CRM), the business can anticipate any issues and also stay on the same page as the customer if they ever reach out. This can also include things like chatbots, which also work towards creating a customer profile.
While we’ve gone over some amazing features of CRM software, most requests boil down to contact management, interaction tracking, and schedule creation.
However, more and more businesses are looking for CRM that has more advanced functions, some of which we’ve looked at above. As the market increases, we’re going to see greater sophistication in CRM software that will allow more companies to benefit.
The Customers of the Future
Customers are the lifeline of any business, so it’s important to nurture solid relationships with them. But just like any aspect of business, what works today might not work tomorrow.
CRM software will allow you to stay one step ahead when it comes to growing your business and keeping things running smoothly. Not only is it invaluable in its current state, but CRM also promises to bring so much more to the table in the near future.
It’s a win-win situation for you and your customers, and doing without it is a thing of the past.