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In today's ultra-competitive markets, the companies that manage customer relationships the best are more likely to win than those that don't.
That's why adoption of modern CRM systems like Salesforce, NetSuite and SugarCRM has skyrocketed in recent years, even amongst SMBs that often lack the resources to adopt enterprise-style technologies.
For companies that are still on the fence about CRM, it's worth considering the benefits CRM systems offer. Here are five of the biggest.
A well-implemented CRM system can replace manual processes that create significant organizational inefficiencies. But CRM systems don't just create efficiency by reducing the use of inefficient processes.
Thanks to the ability of popular CRM platforms to integrate with other systems, such as marketing automation tools, the efficiencies of CRM can enable companies to interact with customers in ways that they wouldn't have the resources to otherwise.
CRM systems give companies the ability to move away from tools, like spreadsheets, that appear to be entirely functional but fall short in a variety of areas.
One of the biggest: collaboration. In even small organizations, the entire customer lifecyle is typically too complex to be managed effectively by one person.
The use of cloud-based CRM platforms allows for employees in multiple departments to more effectively manage their customer relationships and to see the big picture at any time.
Data, data, data
For many organizations, data is one of the most valuable strategic assets, and CRM systems house some of the most valuable data. Of course, data in and of itself is often of limited practical use; its real value comes from data analysis and visualization tools.
Here, popular CRM platforms typically offer a variety of homegrown and third party tools that enable companies to understand their CRM data and learn things about their customers that wouldn't be possible otherwise.
Salesforce's AppExchange, for instance, offers Salesforce customers access to dozens of apps that help them make sense of their Salesforce data and put it to good use.
When companies lack the tools to mange their customer relationships, customers are bound to fall through the cracks. CRM systems can help ensure that this doesn't happen by adding a layer of accountability to the customer relationship management process.
A well-implemented CRM system helps employees across departments understand their responsibilities to customers throughout the customer lifecycle and when those responsibilities aren't met, it's easy to identify what went wrong, where, who fell short and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Improved customer experience
Ultimately, for all of the benefits CRM systems provide to the companies that use them, the biggest benefit of CRM systems is that their use leads to a better overall customer experience.
Customers are more easily and accurately segmented, their needs identified, and because the status of a company's relationship with them is accurately tracked, companies can interact with them meaningfully at the right times, leading to more sales, faster sales and higher customer retention and satisfaction.