Small Business Services

3 Ways CRM Software Can Boost Sales

Businesses used to believe that word-of-mouth was one of the most effective sales tools they had.

That’s still true today. But there are a lot more words and a lot more mouths, thanks to the internet. Which means you need a way to learn about the individuals and businesses that are important to you, the ones who are talking about you and the ones you need to talk to. Further, you need a way to organize all of the information coming from social media and email and other employees in your company.

You need customer relationship management (CRM). It’s not a new concept. Customer relationship management has been around for as long as there have been customers and salespeople. It simply refers to a system or strategy that salesforces employ to create, strengthen, and maintain relationships with customers and prospects. The acronym got assigned during the early days of business computing, as developers began to build software – and later, websites – to turn what had been done using rolodexes and index cards and legal pads and file folders into neatly-organized applications.

So you’ve been engaged in customer relationship management since you made your first cold call. There are just better, more effective ways to accomplish it today.

A Rapid Evolution

Before the World Wide Web was invented in the early 1990s, CRM applications were really glorified “contact managers.” They were really just giant databases that helped salespeople create individual records for each customer and prospect. Each record contained the information that used to be in your rolodex in addition to entries you made every time you “touched” the customer with a phone call meeting, direct mail piece, etc. If you were conscientious about completing your records, you had a complete history of your interaction with each customer.

Problem was, salespeople were spending more time updating their CRM software than meeting with prospects and customers.

Once CRM and the internet collided, CRM applications really took off. They finally made sense. Today, you can pull the information you need directly into numerous state-of-the-art cloud-based systems.

How They Help

You’ve heard their names. Salesforce. Infusionsoft. Microsoft CRM. And a whole bunch of other CRM applications that vary wildly in their capabilities and their subscription prices—check out a really cool one called Pipedrive. They’re helping salespeople learn as much about their customers as their customers are learning about them online, which has been proven to increase the likelihood of successful sales.

Cloud-based CRM systems:

  • Let you build comprehensive, interactive, real-time profiles. No more onerous data entry. You might have to occasionally use the keyboard, but today’s best collaborative CRM applications build your profiles for you, pulling in emails, social media content, related information from other employees, etc. You can respond quickly to what customers are saying to you and about you.
  • Help you organize the lead conversion process. Using your profiles and the application’s specialized tools, you can see your sales cycle evolving, which provides direction for your next steps. In some cases, automation makes your path even clearer.
  • Track and analyze your progress. How are your sales campaigns working? Are you meeting projections? Every CRM system has reporting tools that can help you re-evaluate and re-align your efforts.

Are you barking up the wrong tree? Targeting the wrong customers and missing the right ones? The right CRM application can deliver that knowledge.

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