Which CRM do you use and why

How to find the right CRM

If the table chaos gets out of hand in the publishing house, the introduction of a CRM system is recommended. The choice is huge, however, and each system has a different range of functions. How can you find the right software for your business?

A guide from the marketing platform provider Hubspot is intended to help companies better assess the available CRM systems.

What is CRM

CRM is the abbreviation for "Customer Relationship Management", in German for example: Management of customer relationships. The relationships begin before a purchase is made and continue afterwards. A CRM system (often slightly misleading also referred to as “a CRM”) is a software program that collects and stores information about employee interactions with customers and potential customers.

Contact points with marketing and sales can be tracked (for example, e-mails, phone calls, website visits and interactions via live chat and social media). Employees with customer contact have detailed contextual information on customer behavior and feedback.

What are the advantages of CRM?

The great Advantage of a CRM system is that you have a central database for all customer information.

For companies, customers are their most valuable asset. However, customer information is often stored in various places - in the CEO's mind, in the inbox of salespeople, in accounting records, or in some kind of spreadsheet.

The bigger a company gets, the more difficult it becomes for the sales team to find important information about customers and potential customers. Even basic questions - When was the last time I spoke to this prospect? Which leads have priority? Which customers have opportunities for upselling? - can only be answered with some effort. Your salespeople are wasting time that they could better spend on their real job: selling.

Businesses are often run using tables, but that doesn't go well for long. Teams are getting bigger, tables are getting bigger and after all it is hard to keep track of them.

Because it is so cumbersome and time consuming, employees forget (or "forget") to enter details about calls and e-mails. This makes it practically impossible for managers to make accurate forecasts or to get an insight into the pipelines of team members. The result is clear: less organization, more confusion, fewer degrees.

CRM systems are designed to avoid precisely these problems. By organizing all information about leads and customers in one central location and by automating data entry, CRM software has the potential to simplify the sales process enormously.

In this figure you can see the example of Hubspot CRM, such as deal forecasts, productivity indices or the number of active deal data records after their pipeline phase are displayed in a dashboard (all values ​​are sample values).

Illustration: Hubspot.

These are the 5 most important advantages of a CRM system:

  1. Management of customer data: The CRM software simplifies the sales process by organizing all information on leads and customers in a central location and automating data entry.
  2. Reporting in sales: A CRM system can track progress in terms of quotas and metrics such as emails sent, calls made, meetings booked, opportunities created, and deals closed.
  3. Exact sales forecasts: No longer rely on complicated formulas or scrawled calculations on napkins. A CRM system creates an accurate marketing funnel for you. This makes it much easier to predict future sales and effectively manage your team's pipeline.
  4. Segmentation of target groups: By segmenting prospects based on various parameters, such as where they live, the size of their last purchase, or the closing date, you can identify specific geographic regions or industries where sales are likely and benchmarks your average sales price and sales cycle.
  5. Scaling the sales process: To test new sales approaches and strategies, you need a repeatable sales process. Without the data recorded in a CRM system, however, you have to be almost blind. You need this data to be able to identify behavioral patterns and trends in sales. Otherwise, you will not be able to grow your team or your company efficiently.

How do I know if my company even needs a CRM system?

Every company in which customer relationships are to be maintained can benefit from a CRM system. In particular, the following two types of businesses can benefit greatly from using a CRM system:

  • B2B companies that track leads over longer, advice-intensive sales cycles and upgrade paths (e.g. software companies, agencies or recruiting companies)
  • B2C companies that offer products or services, the purchase of which is usually planned for a long time (for example brokers, financial service providers or landscape gardeners)

But there are also many companies that do not belong in these categories and can still benefit from a CRM system.

You can use the following questions to find out whether your company needs a CRM system:

  • Do we need to store information about customers and prospects?
  • Is this information currently stored in different places?
  • Is it becoming increasingly difficult to manage this data?
  • Do our customers regularly interact with different members of the team?
  • Do we need a better way to measure sales team productivity?
  • Is the team slowed down because employees have to constantly search for data on leads or customers in different places?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your company could benefit from a CRM system. You should implement one as soon as possible to avoid inefficient work and later trouble.

What is the ROI of a CRM System?

There are many CRM systems to choose from, with many of the options being quite similar in terms of their functionality. So let's take a closer look at what could be of greatest value to you.

CRM systems are often mistakenly considered cumbersome, complicated and difficult to implement.

However, this no longer really applies to modern CRM systems. They can be set up in minutes, are quick and intuitive to use, and relieve you of manual administrative tasks.

According to Study conducted by a student at MIT's Sloan School of Management, 79% of customers using marketing, sales and CRM software saw an increase in sales within a year.

Even with concrete figures, you can show how much time and money you can save with a simple CRM solution.

Sales employees earn an average of EUR 58,000 a year and spend 2 hours a day manually entering data. If we assume a month with 20 working days, a team of ten wastes 400 hours of manual data entry every month. And that would (assuming the average wage above) mean your employees Pay around EUR 12,000 each month to have them type in data.

For a working day of 8 hours, 25% of the salary is paid for data entry. In this diagram, the upper bar shows the ideal situation: Part of the working day is used for manual data entry, the rest of the time the employees concentrate on sales.

Illustration: Hubspot.

In real day-to-day work, however, it looks more like the scenario below. 30 minutes are spent on manual data entry per 2 hour period. And the constant change between data entry and sales also reduces the productivity of the sales team. According to Study from the University of California, Irvine it takes 23 minutes before you can concentrate on your actual task again after an interruption.

This time should better be spent selling so that the company generates sales. And as if that wasn't reason enough to take a closer look at the introduction of a CRM system, many modern solutions are also available free of charge!

How can I evaluate which CRM best suits my company?

As mentioned earlier, there are many CRM systems to choose from, and many of them are similar in terms of the functionality they offer. Which one is best for you depends on your goals.

In this section, we'll look at some best practices to help you choose the CRM system that makes the most sense for you.

Those who want to get a CRM system for the first time often make the mistake of evaluating the providers without being clear about their own goals. By doing this, you will ultimately define your needs based on the features on offer rather than focusing on areas that actually have value to your business. A CRM system that can also be used on mobile devices may sound tempting like the latest technology, but if your team is not on the road but works on site, mobility is not a real benefit for you.

Therefore, ask yourself the following questions before you start comparing different CRM systems with one another:

  • Why are we investing in a CRM system?
  • What challenges in the operational business do we want to master with this?
  • What new processes should we implement?
  • How many employees will be using the CRM?
  • How much customer data do we have?
  • What other software do we use to integrate the CRM system with?
  • How big is our budget?

According to SoftwareAdvice.com often overestimates the features they need for small businesses first implementing a CRM system. If you have a complex system, you will have to invest more in setting it up and customizing it - a waste of resources if a very simple CRM system is good enough for your particular situation. It is best to start with a simple CRM system and move on to a more comprehensive solution later if necessary.

There are also widespread fears that existing customer data will be lost when a CRM system is introduced. Today it is very easy to import data into CRM systems - even from your old tables.

If you can barely see differences between individual CRM systems, the following has proven itself:

  • Contact the manufacturer and go through your list of requirements with a sales representative
  • Read Product reviewsand ask around what systems are used elsewhere
  • Compare prices and focus on the features you really need

Choose the CRM software that you think is best and stick with your decision. Indecision costs time and money.

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The Best Small Business CRM Features

The central functions of a CRM system include:

  • Contact management: CRM systems offer a database with a search function in which information on customers and prospects as well as relevant documents are stored.
  • Pipeline management and sales forecasting: With your CRM system, you should be able to represent your entire sales pipeline and move deals from one sales stage to another. For example, it is easy to find out which deals can be expected in a particular month.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Sales managers can use their CRM system to track the activities of their team and the increase in sales, thus gaining clues for team coaching and sales forecasts.
  • Standardization of processes: With uniform task lists, calendars, notifications and templates, CRM systems help ensure that business processes can be standardized.

Other functions that CRM systems can include:

  • Email integration: A CRM system that can be integrated with your e-mail client can automatically log interactions with prospects and provide helpful context directly in the e-mail program. Thanks to this integration, a large part of the manual data entry is no longer necessary - a motivation for your employees to use the CRM system that should not be neglected.
  • Email tracking: If you use email tracking, your sales reps will be automatically notified when their email is opened, a link in the email is clicked, or a document is opened. A good prerequisite for an effective follow-up.
  • Call recording or transcription: With most solutions, potential customers can be called directly from the CRM system. This not only saves time, but the interaction is also logged immediately. Recording or transcribing calls can be an added bonus here, making it easier for managers to coach sales reps.
  • Interaction logging: A CRM system can make day-to-day work easier for sales reps by automatically logging information about contacting potential customers (emails, calls, social media interactions) and / or visits to your website.
  • Software integrations: What software do you already use? If your CRM system can be integrated with your existing systems, your employees do not have to switch between different applications as often.
  • Data enrichment and collection: Does the CRM system entail more administrative tasks for your team, or do employees have more time for sales because of the automation of data entry?
  • Leaderboards: Some CRM systems support the in-house competition of employees by tracking and displaying the activity levels and forecast pipelines of the salespeople.
  • Suitability for mobile devices: Does a mobile CRM system make sense for you and your team? Are your employees often on the move or do they mainly work in the company?

Some of the most recommended CRM systems for small businesses include Zoho CRM, Pipedrive CRM, Agile CRM, Insightly CRM and Hubspot CRM.

Is your team ready for a new CRM? What's next?

The first steps and best practices for successfully implementing a CRM system are:

  • Migrate your existing data (be it from tables or another database)
  • Import contact data from your current database or a spreadsheet
  • Introduce your sales team to the CRM system
  • Find out how to filter your contacts for high quality leads

Of Maximilian Wedge. Courtesy of Hubspot.