CRM stands for customer relation management. It refers to the strategies, practices and technology that a company uses in its interactions and with customers. CRM software is a way for businesses to manage these data more efficiently. CRM software can store customer information, but it also offers tools and features that automate tasks, build customer loyalty, and establish contact with prospects.

What is a CRM system?

CRM systems keep customer and prospect information and all interactions in one central database. Multiple users can access this database, including customer service and sales teams. They need to keep track of interactions with potential and existing customers. Cloud-based CRM platforms are available or can be installed on a local server. However, cloud-based systems allow users to access their data from multiple devices at any time, and anywhere they may be.

A typical CRM system assigns a unique contact record to each prospect and customer. This record contains contact details like name, address and phone number, as well as information about transactions such as purchases, service requests and emails sent.

Contact records can be used for personalizing marketing messages to customers. It can be used to build a relationship with prospects and encourage them to buy a product.

Why small business use CRM

All types of businesses use CRM tools. These are just a few of the many areas CRM tools could be beneficial to small businesses.

Contact management

CRM platforms allow employees to store and access contact information in a central location. Prospect information can also be gathered from websites, lead forms, landing pages and other digital sources to increase your contact list.

CRM tools can track contacts over time and store detailed data. This allows you to better understand customers’ needs and buy behavior. This information is useful for designing marketing materials, optimizing sales efforts, and addressing customer satisfaction issues.

Marketing efforts

Email marketing software can be used to promote your products and services to existing and potential customers by using contact databases. Your CRM database’s detailed information can be used to design social media marketing campaigns that appeal to your audience.

Some CRM software systems include features like contact segmentation and email templates that can increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts .

Sales automation

CRM software often includes automated sales features that will help your team interact with prospects. CRM software includes chat, phone and email capabilities as well as the ability to schedule tasks or perform day-to-day activities.

Additional features that CRM software provides to support a sales team are sales-specific dashboards, pipeline management tools and sales forecasting. Additional features such as sales team onboarding, security tools, and headcount planning — which are all available with certain platforms — can further streamline sales operations.

Customer support efficiency

A CRM platform allows you to manage permissions according to roles. This will allow your support team access the information they need to resolve any issues quickly and increase customer satisfaction. It can also allow businesses to provide support via multiple channels, such as phone, email, chat, and social media.

CRM pricing

The pricing structure for CRM software is usually tied to features and increases with each plan level. Basic plans start at $20 per user per month. Higher-tiered plans cost between $50 and $100 per month per user. Enterprise-level plans are the most expensive. They can cost more than $100 per user per month and can be as high as $1,000 per month depending on the features and personal service provided. The provider may bill a plan monthly or annually.

To avoid overpaying for tools that you won’t use, identify the most important aspects of your business before signing up for a plan. You can upgrade your plans with most providers, so you might start with a basic plan and work up to more advanced features.

How to start a CRM system

Many providers offer free trials, which is one of the best ways you can get started with CRM software. Many offer limited features or user limits on their free plans. This gives you the opportunity to try out the platform before you commit to a monthly or an annual fee.

You can also sign up to receive a product demonstration from a sales representative. You’ll be able to see how the product works and ask questions about its features.

After you have chosen a CRM system, the setup process will begin. The plan and provider will determine whether you receive personalized assistance or tutorials and guides. Once you are logged in, the first task is to create your account, invite others, manage permissions and upload contact lists. You can also connect to other apps and email by connecting to it. You can then explore the available features, such as pre-built reports, template libraries and analytic tools. As you get more familiar with the system you will be able to customize email templates, run an email test, create a website form, set up scoring rules and determine sales goals for your team.