What is CRM?
A customer relationship management (CRM) software is a technology or a system designed to manage relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers through a centralized database which is useful for analytical processing and through effective engagement on various platforms.
Its use extends beyond sales and marketing strategies – it is now also being used to monitor worker productivity levels and resource allocation. CRMs can either be cloud-based – where data across all the servers are uploaded to a cloud network established within the mainframe of the company – or it can be on-premise, which requires specialized hardware and software licenses for it to function.
CRMs are often an integral business module in an ERP (enterprise resource planning) as it uses real-time data across all areas of the firm to churn out the best possible approach to different target groups, and it also generates reports and statistics that other areas of business, such as production, accounting etc. can use assess and evaluate the future prospects of the company.
For a retail store, be it physical or online, using a CRM is a crucial part of the business as it leads to a much more effective distribution of goods as more and more customers have access to those good and information relating to them. This also means the supply chain efficiency increases significantly.
Essential features of a CRM
- Contact management: A CRM must be able to pool all of its data in one big centralized database and separate it in different ways. That way, introduction and marketing of new brands and products becomes easier as different groups are targeted based on interests, spending history etc. It also makes it easier to find distinct ways of engaging with each customer. This increases customer satisfaction as they are able to find what they are looking for much more easily.
- Lead management: In this context, lead management refers to the process of converting a potential customer into a regular one. This is done by identifying the ones who are most likely to be swayed by the marketing approach of your advertisements, giving them adequate responses as they are likely to have follow-up questions and finally convincing them that your product is worth the price.
- Centralized media engagement: Tracking interactions online is one of the surefire ways of determining the wants and needs of a customer and is almost always an indicator of the type of feedback you are about to receive. Likes and dislikes on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, responses in the form of email correspondence, polls and surveys taken online, online comments and web traffic analysis – all add to finding imperfections or areas of improvement in your service. Retailers must be well aware of giving clear and concise responses, and a CRM especially equipped with AI can easily string together basic responses to such customers, or may simply hand it over to an employee.
- Reports and analytics: Some of the best CRM software are built in with tools designed to provide reports on demographics in regular intervals of time, displaying the data in the form of pie charts, histograms etc. These reports are crucial as they are constantly fed with raw data and being repurposed as vital information useful for the personnel in other departments to use. This may allow you to, for example, reevaluate a sales pitch or reconsider the lifecycle of a customer.
- Workflow automation: Repetitive responses and tasks are commonplace in sectors which involve such a software. This can get highly monotonous for the employees and bring down their productivity levels. By automating responses and reminders for follow-up tasks, employees can focus on other tasks or concentrate more on the task at hand, so involvement in projects and meetings increases.
- Sales forecasting: Optimization of all the channels of data and the results being published by the software, a company can safely rely on the predictions and trends forecasted by the CRM software. The firm can then use this to redirect efforts towards brighter ventures based on how much revenue or profit they will generate. This can also be a way to gain a competitive edge over rivals by capitalizing on the current trend and attracting new customers.
Simply fulfilling the above six criteria will give you four massive benefits:
- Better interactions with customers
- Effective use of sales pitch, i.e. more customers
- Overall efficiency increased via automated responses
- Better investment in company, i.e. through much more accurate forecasting
In conclusion, it is clear that a CRM system must be set up and maintained, despite the additional costs of hiring consultants or maintenance workers, as the cost-benefit analysis shows that the benefits outweigh the harms. Regardless of the size of the company, a CRM system has become an integral part of recording, assessing and utilizing data collected over a long period of time.
As most marketers prepare to choose which software to use, they get bewildered in the cesspool of software available online. We recommend using Odoo. Our years of experience in this field tell us that Odoo is a user-friendly business software that provides you with just about every tool you would ever need.
Built under the same UI, Odoo uses one app to do all the jobs in one: streamlining operations, managing invoicing and boosting sales. It has a very sophisticated program for the CRM module that is integrated into its ERP software. Its servers are all around the world and are extremely fast in uploading and downloading data. As it is an open-source platform, it opens doors to vast amounts of customizability in prioritizing which areas of business you want to focus on, depending on the industry you are a part of. By increasing efficiency, the software aids you to expand your business via remarkable improvements in e-commerce, production, sales, marketing, distribution and so on.