This blog post was contributed by Salesforce Essentials.
We get it — acronyms can be confusing. What is CRM? Customer relationship management (CRM) is technology for managing all of your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.
CRM tools can do a ton of heavy lifting for your business, enabling powerful automations – and saving you time on grunt work so you can focus on growing your business.
Engage with customers across channels and social platforms
You can, of course, enter customer data into a CRM system manually. But today’s CRM tools get their superpowers from automation.
A customer record entry can show you not only that customer’s basic contact info, but also an automatically updated, complete history of their relationship with your company, including:
- Order status
- Customer service issues
- Logs of email, phone, and social media interactions
From there, you can also use CRM to keep tabs on your company’s social media activity. Linking to your Twitter and Facebook pages lets you monitor key data and insights from those channels via dashboards and reports – without having to leave your CRM.
If your CRM integrates support for Facebook Messenger or web chat, you can even reply to customers from directly within your CRM.
Following your customers’ social media activity and pulling it into a single, consolidated customer history view is also really helpful when it comes to offering omni-channel support. That’s a fancy way of describing how customers might start a conversation with your brand on Twitter, then move to online chat or a phone call to resolve the case.
CRM tools that track conversations across multiple channels (and provide your service agents with complete histories of those interactions) are a boon to your customer support efforts.
Share customer data across your entire business
But the superpowers don’t stop there! All of those conversations, social media posts, and other customer information your CRM’s been tracking can be shared across your organization so sales and marketing can benefit from it, too.
Marketers can use data to better understand what touchpoints and assets (ebooks, infographics, etc) help prospects convert. Sales gets clear visibility into every opportunity or lead, charting a clear path from inquiries to sales.
Throw some marketing automation into the mix and you can track visits to your website and other digital properties – and use that data to qualify and score new leads. CRM with business intelligence features can also generate insights to help you understand your historical sales performance.
Beyond all of that (yes, there’s more!), you can use CRM data to plan your product roadmap.
Tracking customer information, conversations, and service records results in a massive stockpile of data about how people are using and talking about your products, and what service issues have cropped up. That information is invaluable to product planners as they work to improve existing offerings and craft a roadmap to meet customers’ future needs.
Tracking everything with CRM tools gives your team a single source of truth, and access to increasingly sophisticated analytics and intelligence tools that can highlight trends, customer sentiment, and business opportunities — automatically.
What to look for in your CRM tools
Getting started with CRM is easy when you’ve got the platform for your business needs. Look for a CRM that offers easy setup backed by top-notch documentation and support to get you started quickly.
You’ll also want:
- Scalability, so you can add functionality and users as you grow
- Full mobile access, so you and your team can do business from your phones
- CRM delivered via cloud-based subscription, which offers flexibility, security, and near-zero maintenance costs on your end
Salesforce Essentials offers all of the above and more, in a complete CRM platform designed specifically for small businesses.
Salesforce Essentials helps you find more customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can grow faster than ever. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.