Business and data organization
When managing dozens, hundreds or perhaps thousands of leads and customers, having a robust contact list is critical.
You need to be able to access email, phone and other information without digging through files or other hard-to-manage software, or trying to recall details from memory.
Plus, many CRM systems let you search for customers with broad keywords, rather than entering specific details. The bottom line is, the more organized your business is, the more successful it will be.
Read more: Knowledge Management Software
More quality leads and improved sales
CRM software lets you segment your contact list in a variety of ways, and separate valuable leads from those who haven't yet actively pursued your products and services.
As a result, you can target your marketing campaigns to different segments. In turn, you save time and money by addressing only the most relevant customers, rather than trying to reach everyone at once.
The more data you collect, the more opportunities you'll find for sales.
For example, by tracking the purchase history of a particular customer, you'll get a more refined sense of their interests.
The next time you launch a product similar to an item they bought in the past, you can notify them, increasing your chances of another sale, while letting customers know that you remember their personal tastes and will improve client relations, as they will not receive emails or phone calls that are not relevant to them.
Project, task and time management
With CRM software, it's almost impossible to miss important deadlines. If you enter tasks into the system, it will send you an email reminder to keep you or your team on track.
Many programs also synchronize to your calendar and remind you of upcoming events, ensuring that you allocate your time appropriately.
Additionally, you can set the system to alert you of a customer milestone, such as a birthday. By sending out birthday wishes, you can improve customer relations.
When working on a particular project or campaign, you can use CRM software to create and monitor tasks.
Many systems let you establish project milestones, and allow you or your team to leave comments and attach important files as the campaign progresses.
Integration with other systems
While different CRM providers offer slightly different integration options, most can share data from major applications such as Outlook, Sharepoint and Office 365. Meanwhile, certain CRM systems integrate with email providers like Gmail, allowing you to create dynamic email campaigns.
It is also possible to integrate open source CRM systems with various databases, enterprise resource planning systems, finance solutions, expense, marketing and lead generation tools.
A WordPress website can also be incorporated into your CRM, allowing you to gather information every time a customer visits your website.
Social media integration is now also offered by most CRM providers.
Typically, all you have to do is enter a contact's email information into the system, and the CRM software will automatically connect to the social media profiles associated with that email account.
Reporting and analysis tools
Without analysis, CRM would just be another way to store data. Which is why all providers offer options for maximizing your information. You can pull data from different fields within the system, and segment it with conditional filters.
Some CRMs allow reports to be retrieved from external databases, such as an SQL server. Excel integration with CRM systems is also becoming a reality, so that you won’t need to export data or switch to Excel, to make calculations or manage sales forecasts.
This type of information is key to your business, as you can quickly see how many successful projects you have had over the past year, week or month, or build an individual report, which results in a more complete picture of each individual customer.
Mobile and Cloud Solutions
Most CRM systems are now fully cloud based, meaning there is no need to have software installed on-site which is perfect for mobile businesses and dispersed companies.
If you have an internet connection, you can access your CRM tool from any location in the world. Many CRM systems also have accompanying mobile apps which allow even further compatibility with mobile phones and tablets.
This means whether you're traveling or working remotely, you can access the same wealth of data that you're used to having on your desktop computer in the office.
Recent advances mean that some CRM’s are also available so that you can update data offline, which is a distinct advantage if you temporarily have no internet access. As soon as you reconnect to the internet, the data is automatically synchronised and updated.
Learn more: Cloud CRM software