Today, CRM systems come in many shapes, colors and price brackets. But judging by the countless companies we have already spoken to, Excel is still very prominent as a CRM system in many organizations.
Excel is, of course, a wonderful tool for many applications. But as a CRM, it is deficient in many ways. When you think of a CRM, you mainly think of an advanced platform for managing relationships: a customer relationship management system. The power of a CRM system is still seriously underestimated. Many companies are cautious of the cost (although there are some free systems), or the complexity of setting up and using them.
Whether this is true or not, a CRM system helps you move forward as an organization. And there is more: we see it as the beating heart of your organization, and we are happy to explain why.
The days of paper invoices and paper customer files are long gone. Digitalization has been going on for a long time, and customer management has been done digitally for a long time. Customers are also asking for a faster response from your organization, so you need a high-performance solution.
In addition, the number of (digital) channels has increased enormously, and a central system in which all these touch points are managed is no superfluous luxury. This multitude of channels makes it quite complex to keep track of everything correctly for each contact. Add to that the fact that you also want to keep track of attachments, meetings, notes and emails.
Apart from all that, you and your organization also want to work efficiently. Time is money, and working hours cost a lot of money. With a CRM system, you spend that time much more efficiently. You can simply e-mail from that system and no longer need to log it separately. You have all the relevant data for a contact person in one place, so you don’t longer lose time looking them up in different systems.
Investing in a CRM is not going to break you financially. There are very affordable systems that are rock solid. So, it is mainly a time investment: the setup, importing data, learning to work with it… It pays off in any case, and for these reasons…
A CRM helps your organization build relationships with customers long before they become customers. From the first interaction, you have a relationship with them. Each subsequent interaction, live or via digital channels, is another step in that relationship.
Without a CRM system, it would be extremely difficult to keep track of all those interactions and to build on the road you have already travelled together. This does not only apply to large companies, by the way: also very small teams or self-employed people benefit from building and maintaining good relationships.
People will only become customers if they trust you enough. And building that trust takes time and energy. Your CRM system helps you build it: using the data in your CRM, you can do the right things at the right time and keep track of all the relevant information so you don’t make any mistakes.
In addition, your CRM system also helps you follow up on existing customers correctly and punctually. All the data you have on your visitor’s behavior, purchases or complaints are available with just a few clicks. These help you to keep customers satisfied and increase their loyalty to your brand.
A CRM system stores a lot of data about your customers and prospects. This data gives you insights into the problem your customer is trying to solve. This enables you to further adapt your services or products to your market. The data also gives you more information about how they use your product or what complaints they have. This data can be an important source of ideas for product innovations, or new or improved services.
These are some really good reasons to consider using a CRM system. But what exactly will it bring to your organization.
Your CRM system collects lots of data from several different sources. There is for example some sales data. How many people do we know? And how many of them are customers? How much revenue do they generate, in total but also on average? How many companies do we have in our customer database, and what industries are they from?
But it can go much further than just names and contact details. A decent CRM system also keeps track of how many emails they open, how often they visit your website, which channels they used to get in touch with you, and so on. Adding to this other connected platforms like social media or a webinar tool, and you’ll understand how enormous the amount of data in your CRM system can really get. That means you also have a lot of data to play around with when doing marketing, for example as automation triggers.
People are often amazed at the amount of data you can find in a CRM system, like we just mentioned. What is there to find?
If you work with Hubspot, for example, you will have more than 150 properties at contact level at your disposal by default. You can add more that are specific for your company, so you can customize your CRM for your company and sales and marketing teams.
Gathering data is of course not the purpose. It’s what you do with it that counts. In any case, you may want to build some useful dashboards with relevant data for you. These dashboard will help you:
An example: suppose your marketers bring in a lead through a Google Ads campaign. Your sales team can see how that person became a lead, and also what the context of the ad was. Based on that, they start a sales conversation. Later in the sales process, the prospect turns out not to be interested after all. The sales representative registers this in the CRM, the rest of the team knows that they no longer need to contact this person and marketing knows how this lead was followed up and why he or she did not become a customer after all. With that data, both teams can adjust their operations and make your organization better.
Lots of people think of a CRM as only a sales tool. Managing customers in a system was mainly a responsibility of the sales people. But times have changed: many people in your organization get in touch with customers and benefit from the data in your CRM to do their job. So it is much more than just sales: it affects your entire organization.
Think about your marketing team: they want to generate leads and store all relevant data about them in a CRM. But their job doesn’t stop there: someone who enters your CRM is rarely ready for a sales call right away. They are still at the very beginning of their buyer journey and are still looking for information. They are still looking for information they need to take a purchase decision. Your marketing team is at play here, they can:
It comes down to the fact that the ‘C’ in CRM has changed over time. C is not only about customers, but also about leads, prospects or simply new contacts that get in touch with you for the first time. Your CRM is an important tool right from the start of the buyer journey.
The use of a CRM for after-sales and service is more known. Think of service technicians who come to maintain machines in your production hall, or software companies with ticketing systems to follow up on complaints or change requests. These data are also an invaluable source of information for your sales and marketing teams.
You can link your CRM to other systems that help your after-sales teamwork more efficiently. Think about customers who have questions about using your software. Your CRM system allows them to look up the information relevant to them as a customer, or follow up the status of a complaint, for example.
In addition, your CRM can also serve as a trigger to show personalized content when these contacts visit your website. The more personalized your content is, the better your customer’s user experience will be.
Well, everyone of course. Or at least: every company SHOULD. But some organizations still wonder whether they need a CRM, and some use excell. Small businesses often just don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up a CRM for just one person or 2 co-founders. But we feel that even in those cases, a CRM really helps your business grow: you’ll find all your customer related information in one central system AND when you start growing, you can hit the ground running. No more messing around in excel or endless searches in your mailbox.
Non-profit organizations for example also often think that a CRM is irrelevant because they associate the C in CRM with sales and profit. But as we mentioned earlier: even a non-profit has a kind of customers, a very specific one. Think of sponsors, volunteers, members or financial partners. You also want to be able to manage all of those in one system. I would even dare to say that non-profits benefit even more from a CRM: it allows them to work much more efficiently, more importantly at lower costs. That is often a major concern for a non-profit organization.
If you take a closer look, you will quickly realize that a CRM offers many advantages. It is a tool that helps you become more profitable and grow more sustainably. And complexity is certainly not the issue: every tool has its learning curve and the benefits are many times greater than that short learning curve. Plus, there are some really easy to use platforms out there. In any case, don’t just go for what others say, do your own research. Yes, their experience may be relevant, but at the end of the day, it has to work for your organization.
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