CRM is a set of processes carried out with the help of a CRM system. Customer Relationship Management systems are currently – mainly tools based on cloud computing technology, which are intended for collecting, managing, and analyzing data with the intention of transforming it into useful business information that facilitates, making the right decisions, and positively influencing the efficiency of the sales team and marketing work, as well as customer service. Considering competition between various businesses building a good customer experience and as a consequence customer loyalty without having a CRM system looks hardly possible nowadays.
A brief history of CRM
The CRM was created in the 90s of the twentieth century. So that it might seem to be a fairly new concept. However from the other perspective, one could say that it is as old as the trade itself. Where there is a voluntary exchange of goods, there are customers, sellers, supply chains, a product, and customer-seller relationships that must be managed in order to trade effectively.
The creation of the first CRM systems was a natural consequence of thousands of years of business practices, which in the 1970s, as a result of a huge drop in computer prices, began to face the IT revolution.
We can talk about the right beginning of the CRM, although not yet named, in the context of the 1980s, when the right concept of this type of system was created and its main goals were defined – extending the customer’s life cycle and managing the sales funnel more effectively than before.
From that time until the mid-90s, many solutions were created that went from the first concepts to real solutions used in companies. However, it is assumed that the late-90s is the moment when CRM systems have become a fully-fledged and universal product. In the late 90s, there were already many different, competitive, and cost-effective solutions on the market, which made this type of system affordable for companies with less capital.
The 21st century means further improvements, modifications, and increasing the diversity of the CRM market. Currently, most CRM systems are based on cloud computing, they can be used on mobile devices, use artificial intelligence, have integrated a huge range of tools for marketing and sales automation, and also guarantee great possibilities in terms of data analysis.
Further development of CRM
Currently, CRM systems can be considered a mature and developed technology. It is already a foundation for maintaining good relationships with customers. Since the main challenge faced by the creators of all new CRM solutions is to adapt their applications to new innovations and changes taking place on the market.
One of the key trends that are already being implemented is the use of AI. Artificial Intelligence allows to reduces the time of delivering repetitive tasks, supports data analysis, helps to take better, more informed decisions and customer interactions, and also suggests ways to solve problems that arise in the organization.
Another important trend, which is nothing new anymore, but certainly differs CRMs from 2021 from those from the 2000s, and certainly from those from the 90s, is the reliance on cloud computing technology. Back in 2008, only 12% of CRM systems were cloud-based. Currently, it is over 75%.
The role CRM systems play in the world of social media is also growing. Especially in the case of marketing and customer service. CRM systems increasingly use information from many different, but closely related sources – including social media, e-mails, SMS, and telephone communication. They enable data collection and its analysis, which allows for further improvement of the work of individual departments in companies.
We can be sure that the key issue for CRM systems will be the ability to integrate with other systems and applications, communicate with them and collect data from them. This is the trend that the Cloud-Base CRM and other solutions from the Microsoft Dynamics 365 are family fitting, about which we wrote in i.e. in one of our previous articles about Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing.
How do CRM systems affect the business world?
Improving data collection and analysis
The CRM system allows making decisions based on the collected data what helps to optimize sales strategies. Conscious, more accurate decisions are the result of understanding and analyzing the above-mentioned data. What is very important – the CRM system allows not only its collection but creating customer profiles, measuring customer behavior, defining customer touchpoints but also allows easy access and presentation in a way that is understandable to the user. The end result is – satisfied customers and increased sales productivity.
Greater sales efficiency
CRM significantly influences the effectiveness of the sales process and allows increasing the customer lifetime. It enables the systematization of contact with customers, gives sales managers and sales representatives more information about customer needs, what allows them to better score the potential of a given customer, and to easily view the history of the previous contact with the customer. That translates into more profitable customers.
Currently, all the information is being kept in one place – in the CRM system. Historically we can say that there were five or even more. In the seller’s notes, in his mind, in his co-worker’s minds, at the customer himself, an in oblivion, because they were irretrievably lost for both the employee and the company.
Therefore, CRM is a tool that allows not only for the ongoing management of customer relationships and communication with current customers, but also for comprehensive data collection and exchange, between systems, but above all, between employees. It is possible to collect information at virtually every level of contact with customers – on the website, form, e-mail, in social media, during meetings with customers, during service, or any other form of contact with customer care. This helps to create strong customer relationships that translate into better opportunities and acquiring more potential customers.
• The implementation of the CRM system increases the income generated by a statistical salesperson by 41%.
• Having a CRM system on average increases your customer retention rate to 27%, which allows you to build more long-term relationships with your customers.
• Average ROI for CRM systems is 771%.
• On average, the CRM system increases the effectiveness of daily duties performed by salespeople by approx. 15%.
Better anticipation of customer needs
Predicting customer needs was possible long before CRM systems were created. As we wrote earlier, in some way CRM, as a certain Customer Relationship Management methodology of operation, not as an application, existed long before the first computer was created.
The main difference is in efficiency. As we have mentioned above – the CRM system, or in fact the entire CRM environment, allows to collect and analyze data at virtually every stage of customer contact. This has specific consequences, including the ability to design better services, products, marketing strategy and customer service.
Lowering sales costs
The probability of selling a product or service to a new customer is on average between 5 and 20%. At the same time, for a customer that has already been acquired, the difference is between 60 and 70%. In extreme cases, this is a 14-fold difference.
In addition, acquiring a new customer can cost up to five times more than maintaining an existing one. At the same time, increasing customer retention by 5% can enable profit increases by up to 95%.
On the other hand, a customer who has built a strong relationship with a given brand is statistically 5 times more likely to make a repeated purchase, 5 times more willing to forgive any mistakes made by the brand, 4 times more willing to recommend this brand and 7 times more interested to see its new offer.
To sum up – a client with whom the company has built a good, long-term relationship needs less effort to be encouraged to buy a product or a service of a given brand. And at last but not least – such person is willing to forgive this brand way more mistakes.
CRM systems respond to each of the above-mentioned issues. Among other things, thanks to the 360-degree view, they suggest when is the best time to contact a given customer, what were his current needs, what products he or she may potentially need and what were previous issues in the relationship with the client.
Thanks to this, the work of many departments in the company will become more effective, as mentioned earlier, but also more adequate, simple, less time-consuming, and as a consequence cheaper.
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