In modern business, the need to automate various processes has become a common thing. It is already difficult to imagine warehouse or accounting without the use of specialized software, sales representatives use special applications to design and send the order to the office directly from the tablet or mobile phone, quite a lot of orders come from the site already in the form of ready-to-process documents. But at the same time, relationships with customers, at least in the medium and small business, for some reason are often carried out without the using the automating systems and sufficient attention to accounting. A handy CRM system is vital for successful customer management.
What is CRM system and how does it work?
The CRM stands for the Customer Relationship Management System. CRM-system is any software that helps you to successfully control the work with customers, to organize and plan it.
Indeed, one of the most important functions of CRM-programs is managing the customers and transactions. But unlike Excel, in the CRM-system data is stored not in huge tables, but in convenient cards, and the whole history of interaction with the client is presented in chronological order — from the first call to the purchase. Here you can listen to telephone conversations, save an important document, make out an invoice in one click, write an e-mail, put a reminder — for example, prepare a commercial offer. CRM does not end with this — CRM will monitor each assignment and give a signal when the deadline approaches so that you do not forget anything.
But this is only a small part of what a CRM program can do. For example, the system can automate the part of your routine: it creates documents by the template, assigns tasks to workers, sends SMS to clients, generates visual reports — from the number of transactions to the number of completed calls. All this helps to build a more effective cooperation with the client, attract his loyalty and sell him more.
In 2015, the consulting company Capterra conducted a survey among 500 companies, and it turned out that after the introduction of CRM their profits increased from 25 to 35%. Other indicators also increased.
Not surprisingly, CRM-systems have become so in demand. According to a study conducted by Gartner in 2015, two-thirds of companies already prefer using these programs, and this year the volume of the CRM market will be $36.5 billion.
The variety of CRM
CRM programs are divided into two large groups: boxed (or desktop) and cloud — they are also called online CRM or Internet CRM. A boxed CRM requires installation on a computer, and all data is stored on your server. You buy the program once, and it is at your disposal. If you want to change or refine something, you can do it by hiring an experienced programmer.
In a cloud CRM system, the software and all data are located on the development server, and you get online access to the system through the browser. You do not need to buy and install the program — just pay subscription fees. At the same time, you can also configure CRM for your business processes — either independently through account settings, or with the help of programmers of CRM-company.
Recently, developers are releasing the cloud programs. And this is not surprising, because clouds in many ways outperform the boxes:
- You do not need your own server and expensive hardware to install software and store large amounts of data,
- You can access the CRM from any device through the browser, which means that you are not tied to the office,
- All updates are automatically implemented to all users, and they do not need to be purchased, as for box programs.
CRM system can highly simplify your business and make it much more effective. Do you already use it in your business?