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Chris Clifford January 28, 2022

What is a CRM? How is it useful for an organization?

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How much control do you have over your customer journey? Does your business share customer data seamlessly across various departments? If your answer to these two questions is 'not much' and 'no' respectively, it might be time for CRM implementation.

Customers want a seamless and personalized purchasing journey. Since personalization giants like Amazon and Netflix already spoil them, they expect the same personalization from every business they interact with. 80% of customers will buy from brands that provide a personalized experience.

CRM systems will help you earn the trust of these customers and much more. Read on to learn more about CRM implementation, from what a CRM is to its benefits to gauge whether you need one:

What is a CRM?

A CRM (customer relationship management) is a centralized hub for storing standardized customer data. It helps store essential customer details for use by all authorized people. For instance, it can help you store a customer's name, bank details, and even their favorite type of breakfast. Storing such information can empower all departments to make informed decisions on each customer.

CRM is simply a replacement for those messy spreadsheets or word documents you might use to note customer information. Best of all, it will allow you to track each customer's purchase journey for a better time interacting with them. This empowers the entire organization to be on the same page about a specific customer, creating personalized experiences.

Why your business needs a CRM

CRMs make customer data immediately available to your business in an organized fashion. This data can then translate into actionable insights that are beneficial to your business when utilized. Some of these benefits include:

  • Helping sales teams close deals faster: instead of referring to disorganized notes before closing a deal with a customer, sales teams can learn about a customer quickly. Understanding each customer's pain points and desires will only be a few clicks away.
  • Enhancing marketing efforts: CRM arms marketers with enough data to create segmented buyer personas. This helps them customize their marketing campaigns while enjoying a higher success rate.
  • Improving organization-wide reporting: The secret to what works and doesn't work for your brand is hidden in customer relationship data. CRM systems offer you a bird's-eye view into your customer service, allowing you to create valuable reports.
  • Improving customer loyalty: CRM systems improve overall customer satisfaction rates since they allow businesses to give customers exactly what they want. This level of personalization could earn you more loyal customers.
  • Improving profit margins: CRMs increase how efficient your business is at handling customers, improving overall profit margins.

There are a few caveats of CRM implementation. For instance, a complex system might lead to low user adoption, while manual data entry can slow down staff members. The good thing with most caveats of CRM implementation is that they can be solved by choosing a CRM that fits your business and staff members.

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Is investing in a CRM ideal for your business?

73% of customers think that customer experience is an important factor in their purchase decisions. Since CRMs are designed to empower businesses to give customers the best experiences, it is hard to argue that any business doesn't need them. Instead, the more crucial question is whether a CRM will be mission-critical for your business.

Ideally, your business direly needs a CRM if:

  • You have a hard time managing sales leads
  • Your customer service needs an improvement
  • Customer data analysis is difficult or time-consuming for your business
  • Your marketing campaigns aren't yielding the results you need
  • You have customer data communication silos within your organization

However, a CRM system might be a good-to-have (not necessary) addition to your Martech stack if:

  • You run a small operation that might not justify investing in a comprehensive system
  • You have one-time customers with rare cases of repeat business
  • You are only dealing with a small client base
  • You don't have a lot of sales leads

ERP vs. CRM: What's the difference?

ERP and CRM systems are often confused with each other. Understanding everything there is to know about ERP vs. CRM could help you make an informed business decision. The main difference lies in their core functionalities – ERP deals with business operations, while CRM deals with customer data management.

CRMs are designed to collect, store, and visually present customer data. They hold mission-critical data like customers reaching out to your business, what they want, and how they want it. This data promises a gold mine for marketing departments and a breath of fresh air for sales teams. CRMs simply improve your marketing and customer service. If you are wondering, "is HubSpot a CRM?" you are on the right track (it is).

On the flip side, ERP systems are more focused on business operations. They allow different departments to record and share standardized information within the organization. This information can range from new hiring initiatives to internal stock levels. ERPs ensure fewer errors within the organization and faster, smarter decision-making.

If you are wondering, "can CRM be integrated with ERP?" it can. An ERP to CRM integration could be quite beneficial to your business. It allows you to establish a healthy communication channel between both systems, ensuring that data flows easily within the organization.

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Five popular CRM tools

1. HubSpot: For those wondering, "is HubSpot a CRM?" it is. It's only that HubSpot can be considered as a Swiss Army knife by most marketers. While it does everything the typical CRM does, it can be an amazing tool for small businesses looking for a CRM, thanks to its forever-free plan.

2. Salesforce: Salesforce has been a go-to solution for both solo and small business owners in the CRM space. It offers a compelling solution for businesses looking for a CRM that will scale with their business.

3. Zoho CRM: It is a great option for mostly remote or deskless teams. Its biggest selling point is how mobile-friendly it is, with a mobile app version as feature-packed as the desktop version. For instance, it allows teams to access and edit CRM data offline whenever they are away from a Wi-Fi connection.

4. Sage CRM: It is the ideal tool for businesses that heavily rely on sales and customer service departments. The CRM bundles sales and customer services tools into one offering so that sales representatives never have to switch between apps. Besides helping businesses save on investing in multiple systems, the solution offers a better view of the customer purchase journey, from purchase to after-sale customer support.

5. Microsoft Dynamics: The key selling point for Microsoft Dynamics is that it comes with any CRM integration you might need. Besides their CRM tool, Microsoft also offers HR, marketing, and commerce tools. This ensures seamless integration between different tools that your business already requires.


Further Reading:

Empower your business with better customer data control

The more control you have over your customer data, the better the decisions your business can make. CRM systems allow you to create personalized customer experiences and improve internal collaboration and reporting. However, successful implementations trickle down to the kind of CRM you choose.

Every business relies on customer relationships. There is no replacement for building long-term and solid client connections, regardless of the size or type of business you run. Now that you know how important a CRM is, pick the best solution for your team to start expanding. Transcend Digital is a world-class digital marketing firm. Our dedicated team of professionals always comes up with new ideas to guarantee that our clients get the results they deserve. Contact us and let us assist you in achieving your corporate goals.

Topics: digital marketing, personalization, customer experience, data & technology

Chris Clifford

By Chris Clifford

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