If your business regularly deals with customers, you might have heard of the term “CRM” thrown around. But what exactly is it, and what does CRM stand for? Moreover, what can CRM do for your business?
What Does CRM Stand For?
CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management, and it refers to a technology that is used to manage and support customer relationships. CRM technology enables businesses to create and grow client relationships throughout the customer’s lifetime. It provides marketing, sales, commerce, service, and information technology teams with the tools and information they need to deliver personalized and consistent customer experiences that produce business value.
The Road to CRM Growth
When a company begins to acquire customers, the requirement for customer relationship management grows at an exponential rate. Email, spreadsheets, and social media are being phased out as a centralized platform becomes necessary.
Most business owners must first ask themselves, “Am I ready to invest in a CRM platform?” It’s time to invest if a company has at least 20-50 reliable leads and/or customers. Is CRM the next step, or should something else be considered?
Start with Email Marketing
Many email marketing programs bridge the gap between nothing and something as a kind of prelude to a CRM platform. Most email marketing solutions can simply import contacts from an Excel spreadsheet, making the transfer easier than you might think.
The tracking is an additional benefit of a dedicated program. Email marketing software can provide a thorough description of interaction rather than assuming or guessing that your contacts have received your email.
The following are three critical analytics that users examine:
- Open Rate – The number of subscribers that actually viewed your email.
- Bounce Rate – The number of subscribers that didn’t receive your email.
- Links Clicked – The total number of links (and which ones) were clicked by subscribers.
As you can see, email marketing software takes communication to the next level by allowing users to fine-tune and segment messages. As a result, the user is able to send the appropriate message to the appropriate group. Companies that use email to nurture leads get 50 percent more sales-ready prospects at a 33 percent reduced cost.
Where email marketing ends, marketing automation begins.
From Email to Marketing Automation
When establishing an email marketing campaign, the result almost always entails following a link to a landing page. But what happens when a subscriber leaves their email account and goes to a website’s landing page? How do you see the interaction on the site?
Email marketing is gradually getting engulfed by marketing automation as we move up the CRM evolutionary ladder. And it had to, as the value of lead generating expanded. Marketing automation streamlines and focuses the lead-to-loyal-customer funnel.
Lead generation evolves into a complex machine capable of nurturing leads into sales-ready customers in order to better support the partnership between Sales and Marketing. We can now see how marketing automation builds on the basis of email marketing.
From Marketing to Sales to Customer Service
We can see the benefits of marketing and sales, but what about customer service? Again, as marketing automation and CRM merge, the distinctions become blurred in the evolutionary process. Sales, marketing, customer support, and even project management are being consolidated under a single powerful CRM platform.
It was necessary to install and host programs in-house for managing procedures of this complexity. These platforms, known as ‘On-premise CRMs,’ enabled customization to better fit the needs of a certain company.
However, as with many technological advancements, the platform began to follow trends. Online CRM is now available. Online CRMs, which provide essentially the same functionality as their offline counterparts but are relatively limited in customization, provide a simpler introduction to the CRM platform.
Within either platform, you’ll have the opportunity to now cater to those freshly converted leads as devoted customers, as well as a plethora of tools to help you. CRMs assist businesses in elevating their client acquisition operations to a new level of performance, from support ticket servicing to SLA (Service Level Agreement) alert statuses to project management.
CRM is the Future
The CRM platform, like most technology-based systems, is always evolving. Third-party integrations for CRMs are becoming increasingly popular, according to current trends. Mobile access and social media are at the top of the list of CRM user-requested advances.
Expect the convergence of email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM technologies to continue as firms seek cost-cutting strategies to streamline operations.