Building and maintaining customer relationships and strengthening customer loyalty are among the most important tasks in a company. And this applies across almost all departments. Customer data plays a central role in this. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can support companies in various ways to maintain customer centricity throughout the entire customer lifecycle. In our whitepaper, we have summarized the most important information on CRM software and its selection in practice.
The whitepaper provides you with a definition of CRM and its aims. In addition, you will get an overview of why CRM systems are so important for companies and what advantages CRM software brings with it. In addition, we show you different approaches for the selection of CRM software solutions. You will learn more about the different functions and features of CRM systems and get tips for the selection and implementation of a CRM tool.
Are you looking for a suitable CRM provider? In our CRM comparison, we have analyzed and compared 20 enterprise solutions for you based on more than 150 criteria.
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CRM definition and tasks of CRM software
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and describes the entire management of customer relationships. In other words, the comprehensive interaction with the customer across all contact channels of the company.
CRM software is the technical support in customer relationship management. CRM systems help to align communication in marketing and sales with the individual needs of the customer. They systemize the processing of customer concerns measure various KPIs such as customer lifetime value. Overall, CRM software also serves to increase efficiency in building and maintaining customer relationships.
Possible uses of CRM systems
Companies that want to implement CRM software should be aware of the various uses of a CRM system. The CRM system is much more than just a software to send and track mails. On the one hand, a CRM platform is a customer data platform. In the CRM system, all customer data relevant to the company is stored and maintained. On the other hand, modern CRM software provides possibilities to support the sales team with recommendations for customers based on the data. In addition, many CRM software solutions today offer marketing automation functions. Marketing, for example, can send out information to customers at the right time much more effectively and efficiently.
A CRM system also offers companies a documentation option in service. For example, it makes it easier for sales staff to identify customer problems and communicate with them more appropriately. At the same time, the entire communication within the company is simplified. Departments can store relevant data and files in the CRM system so that employees can access them across departments. This allows teams in service, marketing and sales to serve customers with information according to current needs at any time.
In addition, CRM software provides functions for measuring customer satisfaction or other important KPIs such as customer lifetime value. Based on the measurable KPIs, companies can continuously adapt both their customer management and their product and service portfolio to new requirements.
Features of CRM systems
Today’s CRM software comes with various standard features to adequately serve the application needs. This includes, for example, ensuring seamless communication between different departments such as marketing, sales and service. This requires not only real-time updates, but also the ability to store files and content in the CRM system so that all authorized employees have access to this information.
Other basic features of a CRM system also include e-mail tracking and real-time synchronization with e-mail clients in the company. This is the only way to provide all employees with a comprehensive overview of communications and leads without having to work with different systems. The integration of e-mail communication is important, among other things, in order to be able to contact customers flexibly. For example, if a sales employee is absent for a longer period and all communication with customers is stored exclusively in his or her mailbox. In this case, it would only be possible to link up with previous communication with increased effort, if at all. On the other hand, if all communication is stored in the CRM system, colleagues can quickly pick up where they last interacted with the customer.
Basically, CRM software is used to manage contacts. For contact data management, information such as addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses can therefore be stored centrally on the CRM platform. In addition, employees can save results of conducted customer meetings and create follow-up tasks, such as further customer appointments. The situation is similar for lead management. With the help of the CRM system, employees can track all of a customer’s funnel activities up to conversion and plan marketing and sales measures along the way. You can find out how B2B companies calculate leads in our article “What does a B2B lead cost?”. Last but not least, CRM tools provide sales forecasting capabilities and present analysis results on customizable dashboards.
Diverse solutions for CRM software
Even though CRM tools have standard features, the design of CRM software can vary widely. Companies are not only faced with a large number of CRM software providers. They also have to distinguish between different approaches: Should the CRM tool be a standard or industry-specific software? Or does the company need a customized solution? How scalable should the CRM system be? And how should the CRM tool be provided? Such questions, as well as aspects of data protection and the IT infrastructure in the company, influence, for example, whether the CRM software is implemented as a cloud solution, software as a service, or as an on-premise variant.
Finding the right CRM tool
The choice of the right CRM software depends largely on which system suits one’s own company. This applies to the size of the company, the industry and other individual factors such as the existing IT system landscape. Finding a suitable CRM tool therefore requires two things above all: time and a detailed list of the requirements for the new CRM system. Companies should definitely set goals for the CRM strategy in management. What should the integration of the CRM tool into the system landscape achieve? Once the goals have been specified, companies can select the CRM software according to them and also measure the success of the CRM system in retrospect. Our white paper explains which other factors you should consider when selecting and introducing CRM software.
Good customer management is almost impossible without a CRM system
At least when companies grow rapidly, digital processes in customer management are necessary. After all, customers should continue to experience the same service as before and customer loyalty should be strengthened. With increasing data, mails and leads, however, this becomes difficult without a CRM system. To ensure that contacts don’t fall asleep or don’t even come about properly due to a lack of overview, CRM software digitizes customer care and, in the best case, automates it. The entire processes can thus be optimized. This not only reduces costs in the areas of acquisition, customer care and invoicing, but also increases customer satisfaction and sales revenues in the long term.