Best CRM Software – Everything You Need to Know
What is CRM?
CRM is an abbreviation of Customer Relationship Management. As the name implies, customer relationship management is a process in which companies analyze their interactions with clients, and work towards improving them.
Today, CRM is widely used to describe the software or a business tool that is used by businesses to forge customer relationships and boost sales. Besides, the best CRM software provides all the necessary features to retain customers and also, quickly turn quality leads into paying customers.
“It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.” – Seth Godin.
There is no denying that customers are the driving force behind a company’s success. Without customers, a business has very little chance of survival. Having said that, eventually, the success of a company primarily depends on the type of relationships they have forged with their customers.
Trust and loyalty are the two most important factors which lay the foundation of a strong customer relationship. This is where CRM software steps in.
What is a CRM software?
A CRM software is a business tool that is primarily developed to allow organizations to offer a spotless experience to their customers. Some of the top CRM software available today provide a complete picture of how an organization interacts with customers.
Right from tracking sales, sorting, and prioritizing leads, a CRM stitches a firm bond between different departments within an organization.
In simple terms, a CRM strategy encompasses how businesses evaluate their customer interactions and build relationships with them. This process involves gathering customer information and deeply analyzing the entire history of customer interactions to provide world-class services.
Why do companies require a CRM strategy?
A CRM strategy is important to keep a track of customer information and various touchpoints with different customers. Without a well-formulated CRM strategy, companies are likely to struggle while consolidating their customer information.
With a robust CRM strategy in place, businesses can efficiently build deeper relationships with their customers. A CRM strategy also ensures that companies can identify easily spot the niche requirements of customers and offer them tailored solutions.
Why do companies require CRM software?
Typically, companies who are facing bottlenecks in sales management, maintaining customer relations, and marketing, should consider upgrading their existing CRM process and invest in a sophisticated CRM.
As a business owner, if you are going around in circles regarding the adoption of CRM software, keep an eye for these red flags.
It is very difficult for the management and the leadership to make informed decisions when customer information is all over the place. Since this information is spread across business cards, meeting notes, and excel sheets, a considerable amount of time is required to collate it.
The sales and the marketing department of every company should have a symbiotic relationship. However, if there are barriers across the flow of information, it can have a negative impact on the performance of both teams.
Inability to close deals on the move
When your sales executives are on-field, they find it difficult to relay information and keep everyone in the loop regarding the status of an ongoing deal.
Choosing the best CRM software
It is not surprising to see that companies are on the fence about shifting their business process to a new platform. What is the total cost? Can I upgrade the software when the company grows?
These are some of the common questions business owners are likely to ask, which is why we have simplified the process of choosing a CRM software.
Cloud CRM vs On-premise CRM
While opting for CRM software, the first choice you will make is choosing between a cloud or an on-premise CRM. But before you make a decision, let’s take a closer look at some key parameters of both.
A Cloud CRM is designed, developed, and maintained by the vendor on their server. The services offered by the vendor can be accessed via the internet. This means that the services can be used without any software installations on your organization’s hardware.
- Requires no added infrastructure apart from an active internet connection and a web browser.
- Data saved on a cloud-based CRM can be accessed from any location and by using any device. Typically, cloud CRM companies offer a mobile application to ensure that users can access the CRM software on the move.
- Users can opt for a free trial to try and test a cloud CRM and evaluate whether it meets their requirements.
- In most cases, vendors offer a pay-as-you-go plan which allows users to pay an upfront subscription fee for the number of users. This payment is either charged on a monthly or on an annual basis.
- Most vendors offer customization options. However, the degree of customization can vary from vendor to vendor.
- Cloud CRM can be easily integrated with third-party business applications via developer APIs.
- The software provider is responsible for providing a robust security framework and access control.
As the name suggests, when you opt for an on-premise CRM, the server is set up in your office premises. Besides, it also means that the CRM software has to be installed on each device connected to the local network.
What does this mean? It means that the IT department is responsible for maintenance, upgrades, and customizations.
- Users are required to set up servers on the company’s premises.
Since the data is hosted on local servers, it can only be accessed on devices that are connected to the local network. Developing a mobile application incurs additional costs.
- Free trial is not available since the infrastructure is on-premises to operate the CRM.
- Typically, an on-premise CRM involves a large upfront cost for software and server installation. Besides, users also have to shell out additional cash for the monthly licensing fee for the software.
- There are customization options. However, the deployment period is longer than the cloud variant and much more labor-intensive.
- Integration primarily depends on the vendor. However, it requires excellent technical knowledge and also some additional costs.
- When it comes to security, the organization is solely responsible to protect user data. Companies are required to build a dedicated team to handle security and ensure privacy measures are up to date.
Around a decade ago, the adoption of on-premise CRMs was considerably higher than that of cloud CRMs. At present, that trend is long gone as businesses are increasingly opting for a cloud CRM over an on-premise solution.
Key factors to consider when implementing CRM
One of the biggest factors that discourage businesses from implementing new technology is that employees are apprehensive about using it. This is a clear indication that it is critical to opt for a CRM that offers a neat & clean interface along with an impeccable user experience.
Scalability is very important, especially when your organization is determined to grow at a rapid pace. The software should be able to scale as your company grows by providing support for additional modules and custom processes.
Data security is a paramount concern among organizations that install CRM software. This is another reason why the demand for cloud-based CRM solutions that have secure data centers and top-notch security practices is on the rise.
Not all businesses are the same. Every organization has its share of unique requirements based on its operational model. The top CRM software offers plenty of room for customization to cater to those unique requirements.
In today’s world, mobile internet traffic has completely overpowered desktop traffic. It is very important that employees have access to customer data at all times, which is why mobility is very critical.
Mobility ensures that employees have direct access to information at all times regardless of their location.
Benefits of CRM software
A CRM solution provides a complete roadmap that allows users to spot, nurture, and follow up on good leads. The software ensures that users do not invest precious time and valuable resources on prospects that are not likely to convert into paying customers.
Streamlines business processes
Organizations can elevate the productivity levels of their employees by using a CRM. A CRM solution allows companies to define and create efficient business processes. Besides, it can also keep track of whether all protocols are being followed while performing different tasks.
These solutions can also be used to automate mundane and repetitive tasks, which allows employees to focus on other critical activities.
Accurate data ensures that key decision-makers of your company are well informed. This allows them to make informed decisions and react to market trends in a timely manner.
Reports generated by CRM software highlight areas within a business process where there is room for improvement.
Who can use CRM?
The best part about CRM is that it can be used by anyone. Right from a budding startup, small business, to a large enterprise, a CRM offers benefits to all types of businesses.
Startups tend to have zero tolerance for complexity and have very clear expectations from a CRM. There are multiple CRM solutions available that are easy-to-use, highly customizable, and primarily designed to help companies scale quickly.
Best CRM software for startups:
It makes no sense at all for a small business to spend on an enterprise-grade CRM. Having said that, the modest size of the business should not prevent companies from reaping the benefits of a CRM.
Top CRM software for small businesses:
The ultimate goal of a business is to convert leads to customers; and when you are an enterprise, you have bigger targets. To achieve these goals, an enterprise requires a larger casting net, more sales reps, and resources.
A CMR software bridges the gap between different teams and brings clarity to the entire sales process.
Best CRM software for enterprises:
Key features of CRM
Unified view of contacts
When you use CRM software, you do not have to spend time through the excel sheet or the lead list to find contacts. A CRM tool stores and provides a comprehensive view of all contacts on a single screen.
CRM tools should be able to manage all deals listed in the pipeline. Besides, it should also provide clarity and status of ongoing deals within a company’s pipeline.
Some of the most powerful CRM solutions allow companies to create different pipelines on the basis of their business requirements.
Automated data entry
All CRM tools enable users to eliminate the need to perform mundane routine tasks such as data entry by automating them.
Users waste a lot of time when they are constantly switching between their email client and a CRM. When you type “CRM software download” on Google, the engine will show you a list of CRM solutions. While choosing a CRM, ensure that the software includes the email management feature.
Sales and marketing automation
A CRM with sales and marketing automation ensures that the sales and marketing teams are in sync with each other. It combines the data of both teams and provides valuable insights in the form of reports.
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