CRM definition: what is a CRM and how can it work for me?

The acronym CRM is used to describe both a crucial business strategy and the infrastructure that supports it. As a business strategy, Customer Relationship Management seeks to define and organize how a business manages and strengthens its interactions with its customers. Its primary goal is to optimize and personalize the customer experience, resulting in increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. A CRM system is the infrastructure (the software) that enables collecting, storing, and analyzing customer data to gain insights into their needs, preferences, and behaviors. This information is then used to tailor interactions with the customer, such as personalized marketing messages, targeted offers, and customized product recommendations.

That seems like a lot… Can you make it simple?

Indeed, the definition of a CRM system above makes it sound like a gigantic operation. At CentrixOne, we like to start simple, from a sales point of view:

A CRM is an essential tool to help you structure, organize and systemize your sales and marketing processes in order to fuel and scale the growth of your business.

How does it work?

1. CRM for customer data centralization

A CRM system works by organizing customer data in one central location. This data can include customer contact information, purchase history, communication preferences, and more. Keeping all customer data up-to-date in one place makes it much easier to access and manage. It also ensures continuity in the relationship with customers even when there is staff movement within the company. For small and medium businesses, one of the biggest benefits of centralizing data is as simple as getting rid of Excel sheets and making sure info can be found when you need it.

2. CRM to manage the sales pipeline

A CRM system structures and organizes all your sales leads, opportunities and deals in order to track the business’ sales progress. You can define sales stages, such as prospecting, qualifying, proposal, and closing, and move leads through these stages as they progress through the sales pipeline. Sales reps use it to stay focused on their goals and tasks. Sales managers benefit from its reporting functionalities, and quickly see where help is needed to support their team.

3. CRM to automate sales activities

Once leads are captured, the CRM system is used to manage lead nurturing activities such as follow-up emails, phone calls, and scheduling appointments with sales representatives. Many repetitive tasks can be automated, allowing sales people to do what they love most: interacting with high-value prospective customers. Once your sales processes are clearly defined, automating sales activity is actually quite easy to do with CentrixOne. Here’s an example. From your website, leads gets qualified based on the information they provided on a sales form. They are automatically entered in the database, and they trigger a welcome email. High-scoring leads are assigned to a sales rep, who are notified with a task to give them a phone call. The sales manager also gets notified of these high potential leads and can support their team through the sales process. Except for the actual phone calls and the sales coaching part, all of this can be easily automated. Yes, this is all part of a great CRM’s definition. With a simple yet robust CRM system, a small sales team can become a highly efficient sales machine.

4. CRM to support marketing campaigns

A CRM system can serve as a centralized platform to plan, execute, and track marketing campaign performance. It makes it easy to segment your prospect and customer base in order to create tailored marketing campaigns. Marketing automation allows you to prepare “set-it-and-forget-it” type of campaigns, such as date-triggered campaigns where a customer receives a special discount on their birthday. The system’s templates can help you design beautiful email campaigns with little effort, and personalize content to keep leads engaged and informed throughout their buying journey. The system can then provide insights into campaign performance, such as conversion rates, click-through rates, and ROI, to help you optimize your campaigns for better results.

5. CRM to improve your communications

A CRM system can help streamline and harmonize communications with leads and customers by tracking all communications in a centralized location. A robust CRM can plug into various communication channels, including web forms and social media. You can use your CRM to track phone calls, emails, meeting notes, text messages and more, and make sure that you deliver on promises made (pricing, packages, follow-up commitments, etc.). Communications history and notes can provide valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and interests, helping reps maintain a friendlier conversation with each person. With so much information and insight stored in the CRM, sales teams spend much less time passing information from one colleague to another and creating distorting along the way. Communications are clearer, faster, and everyone can work more efficiently.

CentrixOne offers a simple, intuitive and affordable CRM that enables sales teams to structure, organize and systemize their sales and marketing processes. Once this structure is in place, the CRM system can drastically improve all customer interactions, as well as support scaling and acceleration of the business’ growth.

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