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What is a CRM and how does it work in companies?

CRM is the acronym used for Customer Relationship Management. Its concept is much more than an abbreviation for customer relationship management. The Customer Relationship Management or CRM can be defined as the set of practices, business strategies and technologies focused on the relationship with customers (current or potential).

Customer Relationship Management is the process used by startups, small, medium and large companies to administer and manage customer relationships, anticipate their needs and desires, optimize profitability, increase sales and attract new customers.

To help you understand a little more about CRMs and customer relations and how they work in companies, we have prepared this content for you to discover everything about CRMs.

CRM: Definition

Customer relationship management (CRM) is basically the strategies we use to maintain and improve our relationship with existing and potential customers.

Let’s remember that there is a premise that indicates that it is always easier to retain or keep an existing customer than to get a new one, and this is where CRM plays a fundamental role, because it is a large part of all that loyalty and maintenance strategy that can be done.

But in addition, it will also allow us to better manage or approach those potential customers, leads or prospects that we are acquiring through all digital marketing channels.

Many times we feel that CRM is a simple software and yes, it really is a software, but it is not only a program that helps us to organize ourselves, but it refers to all the relationships we make with our customers and all the strategies we use for that relationship.

What is CRM software?

It is a software that helps us manage the relationship with customers (current and potential). Customer Relationship Management can be done in many ways, from a simple program to a very robust and sophisticated platform.

It is one of the areas where we have many alternatives and different platforms that can help us in all these tasks. CRM software basically acts as a repository that allows us to unite sales, marketing, service or customer support activities in order to simplify your processes, your policies and your staff or team in a single platform. This is the goal of this type of CRM software.

Differences between a CRM and ERP

Diferencias entre un CRM y un ERP

Now let’s look at the difference between a CRM and ERP, which are two concepts that are often mixed up a lot.

ERP is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Basically, they are management systems that automate many business practices associated with operational, productive, manufacturing, logistics, finance, accounting or human resources processes.

ERP is more related to the operation of the company, CRM has more to do with customer contact and relationship. This is an important difference and normally, what usually happens is that we have to harmoniously connect the CRM and the ERP so that all the information can be very well synchronized.

Surely, the moment we win a deal or close a contract, this information will have to go to the ERP for invoicing, for example. And that’s where we find the relationship between an ERP and CRM.

This is important to understand, so that we are not going to confuse the two concepts and we know which one we need in each of the processes.

Como funciona un CRM

How does a CRM work?

In structural terms or in general terms, CRMs usually have some main components that are the ones we are going to find in most of them. Here are the elements that should not be missing in any CRM software:

1. Contacts.

We’re going to have a contacts session that behaves as if we have a notebook. There we will have a list with the people with whom we have come into contact at some point and in which data such as: Name, Surname, Email, Telephones, Address, City, Country, etc. are stored. We may store all the information that is relevant to our business objectives according to the user.

2. Companies.

It is very common that our contacts can belong to companies, therefore, we can also have all the information of the companies that have contacted us and have information such as: The name of the company, its website, telephone numbers, addresses, emails, sector, number of employees, everything that is relevant to us within the system, in order to understand much better and to be able to better classify the information.

3. Sales opportunities.

This is a fundamental part of a CRM, also known as leads, which are those contacts of people who have arrived interested in our business. It is usually a sales opportunity that is related to a contact or a company and to which an estimated value is given, depending on how we are exploring and getting in touch with these people.

4. Emails.

CRMs also have an email session, since it is a relationship manager and much of that relationship is done through email. Therefore, CRMs are integrated with our emails and allow us to manage emails from the same platform and relate them directly to contacts to have the traceability of the communication that has been exchanged with them.

5. Activities.

In the CRMs we are also going to have a session of activities that allow us to plan and schedule activities such as following up, marking a contact if we have to make a video call, a pending appointment, a call at a certain time and day, etc. This session is ideal for documenting pending issues and recording them in our calendar to generate reminders so that we don’t miss these pending issues.

6. Reporting.

Finally, we’re going to have a reporting session where we usually have the data summaries, so we can visualize the status of our sales cycles. That is, to be able to know how many sales opportunities we have, how advanced those opportunities are and which agent has been assigned a certain opportunity or how many have been assigned. These reports allow us to make forecasts of business expectations based on probabilities.

Features and Benefits of a CRM

Let’s now see what are the features or benefits that CRMs usually offer us:

  • Lead management.
  • Contact management.
  • Agreement management.
  • Email Management
  • Sales Automation
  • Reporting & Analytics
  • Marketing Automation
  • Customization
  • Mobile CRM
Características y Beneficios del CRM

Types of CRM

There are many types of CRMs, so it is important to identify them, so we know which platform we can choose depending on our needs.

  • Operational CRM: These CRMs focus much more on marketing, sales, and customer service management. They are much more focused on facilitating the management of traditional marketing, sales and customer service teams, as they help us to centralize information and have clarity on who has customers or accounts assigned to them and simply allows us to keep track of that operational process.
  • Analytical CRM. These CRMs focus on integrating applications to absorb as much information as possible and help us identify or make decisions based on that data, in order to offer our products or services in a more assertive way. This type of CRM is much more data-focused, its reports are much more robust and will allow us to cross-reference information, projections and more robust and sophisticated analyses.
  • Collaborative CRM. This type of CRM aims to centralize and organize the information of the data that customers provide us through different channels or digital assets, so that all the members who are involved in the process can have the information centralized and in one place.

These are the 3 main types of CRM, with which we can see, which could be the most appropriate for your company’s needs.

Why Your Business Needs a CRM

The reality is that CRM is something that any company could benefit from and they can basically use it to take advantage of maintaining and improving relationships with their customers. In principle, any company could benefit, but usually the companies that implement and use this type of platform the most are:

  • B2B companies that usually require you to follow up on your business opportunities. Normally, in the B2B market, sales are very consultative and require much more accompaniment and follow-up of opportunities, throughout a sales cycle and where we have a sales team that will be in charge of doing all that follow-up. For B2B companies, it is always recommended to use some type of CRM that facilitates the relationship with your customers.
  • B2C companies, In general, everyone could have a CRM, but it is recommended above all, to make use of this type of platform to those companies in which the sale requires some type of assistance. For example, if we sell services or products that require assistance from someone on the team, to make a quote or to explain how the service or product works, we will surely need to implement a CRM to be able to assist us in the processes.

Before implementing a CRM, ask yourself the following questions to identify whether you really need the platform or not.

  1. Do you need to centralize all your customer information?
  2. Do your customers interact with different members of your company?
  3. Does your sales team follow a structured sales process?
  4. Do you need to better understand and measure the productivity of your sales team?

If the answer to these questions is yes. So, it can be a good sign that we need to implement a CRM.

Achieve an effective CRM

When is the right time to implement a CRM? Before investing some prudent time in the implementation or development of a CRM and additionally, invest money in a platform. We’ll provide you with a series of basic steps that go beyond technology or software to make a CRM system effective.

1. Define a clear vision.

Having a clear, action-oriented vision supported by the entire work team is of great importance. In addition, it sets an insatiable goal and positions customer service as the heart of everything in the organization. Be compelling enough to have a positive impact on everyone and clear enough for the entire organization to strive for.

2. Establish a strategy.

If you want to lead sales in your sector, you must implement strategies that lead you to achieve those results, whether it is competing through prices, offering differentials in your products or services, or establishing an unparalleled after-sales service. It’s up to you to decide which strategy you want to break into the market with!

3. Set business goals.

The goals we set are those in which the vision and strategy translate into the work we will do every day. When implementing a CRM platform, value it as an opportunity to review and optimize the way you currently work.

4. Identify the metrics you're going to measure.

One of the important things that technology brings is the ability to measure all the actions that we generate in them and by implementing a CRM we will have the possibility of generating reports and analyzing the information we are obtaining, to improve the relationship we have with our customers and optimize the actions of our work team.

5. Prioritize your initiatives.

Don’t despair of accomplishing everything at once when implementing a CRM. Decide what’s most important and set a list of priorities so that the platform will help you move forward with consistency and strength.

6. Map out a roadmap.

Having the best platform is not always a guarantee of a successful event. Let’s be clear, a successful implementation is vital, but adjusting the platform to your company’s needs is more important. Plan your CRM well and consider what other capabilities your business needs. When your system is well optimized, you can maximize the use of the platform.

CRM for Shopping Centers

One of the main challenges in Shopping Centers when we address the topic of CRM is choosing the right platform. Therefore, let’s see what would be the alternatives they have when choosing a CRM for the management and relationship with their customers. Click the button below to download all the CRM options we would have.

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