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A primer on customer relationship management (CRM) systems

Mar 01, 2023

What is a CRM system? The acronym stands for customer relationship management and it refers to software programs that manage contacts and interactions with customers.

In a snapshot:

Who needs a CRM system?

Any company with customers.

CRM systems are often owned by the sales department, but they’re also useful for customer service, customer retention and marketing. HR departments can use CRM systems too, if you think about employees and candidates as customers.

Any team that works with customers can use a CRM system and should have access to it. A CRM connects departments so that everyone has accurate and timely customer information. That creates operational efficiency and builds trusting relationships with customers.

What does a CRM do?

A CRM collects and connects customer, sales and marketing data.

Then, businesses can organize, sort and analyze the information. Sales managers can produce segmented lists of prospects or compare sales across products, regions, campaigns or salespeople. Most CRMs can also automate customer interactions and sync with marketing campaigns.

How does a CRM system benefit an organization?

It’s simple. A CRM can increase sales.

CRMs give leaders better insight to customers, sales conversions, marketing response and retention. They can break the sales journey down into key steps and analyze what’s working and what’s not.

CRM data converts into easy-to-read graphs and dashboards. If an issue arises during the sales process, CRM data can help pinpoint what went wrong. And resources and contact information for follow-up are only a click or two away. Every touchpoint provides more information about how to improve operations and sales performance.

And if a salesperson leaves? Customers contact information stays in the CRM system, along with customer history and notes.

How does a CRM benefit customers?

CRMs also improve customer service and the sales experience. Customers get quick, accurate and personalized responses every time they call, no matter which department they speak with.

When should a company start using a CRM?

CRMs aren’t just for big companies. All sales and marketing teams stand to benefit from a CRM. In fact, in smaller teams, it’s even more important to work efficiently and effectively.

Some of the tipping points might be when:

  • Sales teams can’t keep up with lead flow.
  • Logging phone calls and email campaigns has become cumbersome.
  • Customer data is disorganized or hard to find.
  • You can’t tie customers to campaigns or other activities in the organization.
  • You need more transparency into the sales process or pipeline.
  • Reporting takes too much time.

How do you get started with a CRM system?

Success starts with the right partner. CRM systems can be customized for unique buying cycles or sales needs. An experienced partner like Wipfli can help you draw the most benefits out your CRM system.

Given everything there is to gain, the only real question is, why not?

Learn more about our CRM system services.


Kyle Aulerich
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