Is It Time to Switch to a CRM System?
How long can a company have all the customer data in one spreadsheet and still successfully provide services?
When all business is carried out with spreadsheets — or even paper books — information is kept in different places, gets lost, and is never found on time. It is impossible to automate anything.
It’s like when an old client asks a simple question — and sales need to get a single thread from everyone in the company. Maybe even the ones who are on vacation. The customer has to wait.
A proper CRM system helps to solve that.
Basically, you need CRM if you have:
- More than 2 customers;
- More than 2 people in a team.
But what is a CRM, why use it, and what benefits it brings to businesses big and small — here’s what we’re going to discuss.
Let’s figure out once and for all:
- Does a CRM system save time and drive sales?
- When should a company start using CRM?
- Are there cases when a company doesn’t need a CRM system?
- And finally and most importantly, what is a CRM system?
A small bonus for those who read to the end: a free checklist that will help you understand whether your business needs a CRM system or not.
Up-to-date point of truth
CRM — or customer relationship management — is a system that improves customer-company relationships.
It stores and analyzes a massive amount of customer information and automates sales processes. A company can easily manage the entire customer lifecycle and connect marketing, sales, and support departments in a single CRM system.
For instance, there is Carl, the manager of a luxury all-inclusive hotel. He has one system for sending emails, finding the contacts of a resident, contacting a cleaner, recording data…
Without a hotel CRM system, he would have to send emails in Google mail, call the cleaners, track bookings in spreadsheets, and still record extra information in notebooks. Such a system is the only place to show a business owner a complete portrait of their client.
Every question, every request, client’s favorite color, and their dog’s name — everything is there. The system allows clients to receive personalized communication that will fill their needs 100%.
Centered around customers
The CRM system is not just a plain list of names and contacts. Instead, it’s more like Facebook, only more organized and aimed at skyrocketing cooperation with the client.
Troubles like lost data, a file accidentally saved in the wrong folder, a forgotten meeting, or a follow-up happen much, much less.
It’s like a consultant in a luxury store: they know everything about you, remember what you bought 5 years ago and what coffee you like.
One spreadsheet to rule ’em all
Startups and companies begin their journey by storing leads and customer lists in one large spreadsheet, or even in a bunch of small ones, private for each department or employee.
Which is okay, if the person is running a hostel with four beds. But as the number of beds grows to 100 and more — this is where the fun begins.
All information is stored in different places. It is not systematized; something is forgotten to be written down, and something is lost in the handwritten notes.
Time goes by, and the number of customers grows, communication level begins to sag, necessary data is never in place, and a customer is not thrilled to fill out the questionnaire for the 31st time.
Usually, companies decide to switch to a CRM system before such a moment. After that, they spend time transferring all the data from the spreadsheets and sticky notes to the new system.
CEOs may think that CRM is not in their my-own-company starter pack. The company will still work even if all customer data is stored in Google Spreadsheets, right? But what if we say that they may have an automated & effective system from the outset…
Let’s speak numbers first.
Every second company has a CRM
“In 2021, of 5 people 4 said that CRM has become the most important customer retention program for their company”, – Tinyclues wrote in their report on the state of CRM.
According to Bruckenstein & Veres and their Inside Information Advisor Software Survey (2021), 57% of advisory firms have the same opinion – that’s every second company.
A bit of CRM time travel & forecasts:
- 2020: revenue from the CRM market reached $69 billion;
- 2021: 62% of marketers use CRM software for marketing reporting;
- 2024: global CRM software market growth may reach $43.5 billion;
- 2027: worldwide spending on CRM may reach $114.4 billion.
The CRM market is more predictable than let’s say a crypto one. Instead, companies will always use CRM systems if they want to pursue a customer-centric policy and grow.
Apple, Cola & Co
Statistics are promising, but the real cases can speak for themselves. So why do companies worldwide choose CRM? Let’s look at CRM system examples and how they work out for different companies.
Apple ID grants access to App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, and FaceTime. It syncs users across devices and saves their preferences.
All cool features of Apple ID – is the merit of their CRM. The Apple CRM suite has data about all users. Apple has a tight grip on all content users encounter. The system analyzes info and provides personalized recommendations for everything: movies, music, TV shows, and games.
For another giant with a recognizable logo, Coca-Cola, CRM has become indispensable to promote cooperation and solve customer problems quickly and effectively.
The client’s behavior, history, and preferences — everything is stored in the system, ready for support service to solve any client’s problem as efficiently as possible:
“With everything connected on this platform, everyone knows what’s going on with our customers.”
The biggest online shopping platform, Amazon, stores vast amounts of customer data and hosts it in its CRM infrastructure:
“Customer Relationship Management is the basis behind all of Amazon’s useful features.”
Amazon does it all: collects info on purchases, instantly customizes users’ online experience, tracks browser & shopping history, and sends relevant emails to customers. Everything happens thanks to their CRM.
Wells Fargo CRM
Another example of an organization is Wells Fargo, responsible for keeping track of $1.9 trillion in assets and roughly 70 million customers.
Being 7th most profitable in the US, Fargo uses a CRM system to sync its banking, mortgages, investing, and credit card services. Service automation has saved hundreds of hours for Fargo and enabled business growth.
Large enterprises are not the only ones to use CRM services. And by 2027, small and medium-sized businesses will take half of the CRM user market, according to the research done by JoinSoft & Grandview:
Mil PCS CRM
At Zgraya, we developed another CRM, Mil PCS, a US-based business for free relocation services for army personnel.
The idea was simple: notebooks with agents’ numbers were outdated, and the world needed a better option. Option with all kinds of dashboards with deals, agents, and analytics.
With the new CRM system, all agent-client interactions were automated and tracked. The client saw info on revenue, profitability, and agents’ performance across the US. A straightforward solution for all those several-decades-the-same problems was finally found.
Every business can benefit from the CRM system. It has nothing to do with the company’s sphere of influence or size. Approved by thousands of companies worldwide.
Simple, fast, and automated
Let’s take a look at the most popular opinions on the advantages of CRM systems, and how CRM systems improve businesses.
Transparency for everyone
A unified CRM system creates the right conditions for customer interactions with other departments. Every detail is stored in one system, ready to be used by sales, support, marketing, HR, and other departments.
Companies can evaluate the productivity of the sales department, see the statistics of work with leads and make forecasts on future sales.
CRM platforms help to systematize and categorize info. Marketers can see where the most customers are coming from, develop communications channels, create specific marketing campaigns for different groups, identify the most popular topics, and produce only relevant content.
For example, Max, the Head of Marketing, has a cool CRM system and can easily see that
- a) most leads come from resources such as Behance, Dribbble, or Clutch;
- b) company’s blog brings three times fewer leads than third-party services;
- c) social networks do not bring leads at all.
With these statistics in hand, Max will identify the best directions of development and places where his team should pay more attention to attract more leads.
Сustomer in the spotlight
When all information is already stored in one place, it is easy for a company to act according to the client’s needs. Personalized user experience is the new black.
- 76% of customers expect interaction between departments.
- 2020, 52% of customers want to see only personalized offers.
No recurring Q&As, only personalized communication, and competency = are keys to happy and satisfied customers. No one is happy when they are asked a phone number 30 times.
Manual data entry and analysis are productivity-killers for any salesperson.
CRM systems create an automated sales process all employees understand. People entrust paperwork to the software and focus on working with people. They have more time to work with clients and a step-by-step map with everything planned.
Free checklist for businesses
Imagine: a company is doing a great job with customer turnover, even with spreadsheets: there are no problems with customer management, and no data is lost.
As the company grows, problems begin to appear: important information is lost, work statistics are not clear, all departments work according to different schemes, and they do not see information about an actual client.
The business is still working, but there are fewer and fewer results and satisfied customers.
Companies should not wait for the collapse. There is a way to check if your company needs a CRM system.
If you ticked at least three boxes, you need a CRM system. Even if everything seems to be under control right now.
All these points may seem insignificant, but together they are nails in the coffin of your profits and business development.
Sad but true.
To be continued
Even if you’re sure you need a CRM system, there’s still much to learn about the types of CRMs, understand whether you need a ready-made or custom CRM system, which functions you need, and how much it all might cost.