As marketing leaders, our customers and team members frequently ask us questions about the industry jargon, technical details, or hyper-specific abbreviations we seem to invent and re-invent regularly. Some of these questions can be resolved quickly, but others may have even the most seasoned experts reaching for their search engine.
We understand that not everyone is familiar with digital marketing, revenue operations, customer service, etc. We're starting a series of FAQ posts to help those who may need some clarification around common (and not-so-common) industry topics. If our series can manage to answer just one of your future questions — then we will have completed our mission!
This blog post will cover FAQs about CRM software, like the benefits of using the platform in conjunction with other marketing tools, the steps involved in the CRM process, best practices for marketing campaigns, and more. We will also discuss potential drawbacks and how businesses can ensure their CRM implementation is successful.
What is a CRM?
A CRM, or customer relationship management system, is a software application that enables businesses to manage and track customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. CRMs can be used by marketing, sales, and operations teams to improve customer engagement, increase sales conversions, and optimize business processes.
What is a CRM database?
A CRM database is a compilation of all the customer data you have collected and stored using CRM software. The contents of a CRM database can include the following:
Contact information: Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, social media profiles
Interaction history: Appointments, calls, emails, meeting notes
Financial data: Sales records, invoices, quotes
Demographic data: Gender, age, income, family status
Marketing data: Campaign responses, website activity, newsletter signups
Customer service data: Support tickets, live chats, product returns
What are the different types of CRMs?
The three main types of CRM systems are operational, analytical, and collaborative. Some CRM platforms may consist of all three elements, while others may focus on one or two.
Operational CRMs track and manage customer data, such as contact information, sales opportunities, and marketing campaigns.
Analytical CRMs generate insights from customer data, such as customer segmentation and marketing ROI.
Collaborative CRMs facilitate communication and collaboration between marketing, sales, and operations teams.
What are the key features of a CRM?
There are many different types of CRM tools in the market, each offering various features. When considering a CRM, look for essential factors like:
- Ease of integration
- Data synchronization
- Workflow automation
- Marketing automation
- Lead management
- Opportunity tracking
- Reporting and analytics
- Contact management
- Lead management
- Opportunity management
- Pipeline management
- Sales forecasting
- Quote and invoicing
- Campaign management
What Sets CRMs Apart
CRM exists in an already crowded selling software market. So what makes CRM any different than Marketing Automation, ERP, or CMS?
How is CRM different from Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation aims to streamline the process of taking a lead, nurturing them, and moving them to a sales-qualified lead. If a CRM is about pipeline management, qualification, and lead qualification processes, marketing automation platforms are about lead generation and personalization.
By working together, the two applications can create a more efficient process to help increase the conversion rates of prospects into qualified leads. Many businesses are seeing value in integrating the two — 52% of marketers say they would prioritize implementing marketing automation platforms that work well with other solutions to improve their strategies.
How is a CRM different from a CMS?
If a CRM enables teams to guide customers through the sales funnel, a content management system (CMS) is a tool that manages the content that supports that journey. A CMS helps teams manage blog content, landing pages, product listings, brand elements, and more while streamlining the creation and measurement of content performance.
CMS and CRM software integration is vital for any business. HubSpot CMS, for instance, unifies content creation with its powerful CRM function to tailor the buying journey, improve marketing and sales alignment, and deliver reporting that shows the direct ROI from marketing campaigns.
How is a CRM different from an ERP?
CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are excellent tools for optimizing revenue, but they have different central purposes. ERP is a broad solution encompassing front-office and back-office processes, while CRM mainly concentrates on sales, marketing, and customer relationships. While organizations may use ERP and CRM systems simultaneously, the critical distinction is that ERP primarily uses financial data accessed by finance department personnel. In contrast, CRM relies primarily on customer data used by sales and customer service departments.
Why does your business need a CRM?
There are many reasons why businesses need a CRM:
- A CRM can help businesses manage customer data, improve customer engagement, increase sales conversions, and optimize business processes.
- By using a CRM, businesses can better understand their customers and improve their overall customer service.
- The platform can also help businesses generate insights from customer data, such as customer segmentation and marketing ROI.
A CRM can facilitate communication and collaboration between marketing, sales, and operations teams.
When should a business invest in a CRM?
If the following is true for your business, consider investing in a CRM platform:
You can no longer manage all your leads using a spreadsheet and need technical assistance to track customer data. A CRM will automate lead management processes and give you the ability to track leads throughout the entire sales cycle.
You are losing potential customers because you don't have a system to follow up with leads promptly. A CRM can automate marketing and sales processes so that you can focus on building relationships with customers.
Your marketing and sales teams aren't aligned, and there's a lack of communication between departments. A CRM will help improve communication and collaboration between marketing, sales, and operations teams.
You aren't able to track the ROI of your marketing campaigns. A CRM will help you track marketing ROI and generate insights from customer data.
Customers have been complaining about their experiences with your company. A CRM will allow you to resolve these issues by reaching out to unhappy customers.
Your sales team cannot keep track of customers throughout the buyer's journey. Implementing a CRM allows each customer's progress to be monitored and optimized as needed.
Are there potential drawbacks to using a CRM?
While CRMs can be handy tools for managing customer interactions and data, there are some potential drawbacks. A CRM system can be challenging to implement effectively if you lack the technical expertise or need access to expert support.
If not correctly integrated with other systems across the organization, a CRM can also create data silos, making it difficult to get a holistic view of the customer, track interactions across different channels, and severely limit the potential of analytics and data insight functionality.
CRMs can also be expensive and time-consuming to implement and maintain. For small businesses, the cost and effort required to set up and maintain a CRM may not be worth it. For larger organizations, however, the benefits of using a CRM may outweigh the drawbacks.
How much does a CRM cost?
CRM pricing depends on the number of users with access to the system and the features included in the platform. Typically, smaller companies can expect to spend up to $20 per month per user, while enterprise-level plans may require a custom quote. Some vendors offer free versions of their software with limited features.
For example, HubSpot's CRM comes with a free-forever plan and an enhanced suite of tools under Marketing Hub (plans starting at $45/month to $3K+/month for enterprises). By carefully considering your needs, you can select the best option for your team without overspending.
How does a CRM fit into a company's MarTech stack?
A marketing technology (MarTech) stack aims to provide a single platform for all of an organization's marketing activities. This can help to improve coordination between different teams and departments, and it can make it easier to measure the overall performance of the organization's revenue-generating efforts.
A CRM system should be seen as a critical part of a MarTech stack that can also include a marketing automation platform (MAP), analytics tools, and other marketing software applications. While a CRM system provides the data foundation for marketing and sales operations, marketing automation and analytics tools can help turn that data into insights that guide strategies and tactics. By integrating a CRM system into the MarTech stack, businesses can make their operations more connected, efficient, and effective.
What are the benefits of integrating a CRM with other tools?
When it comes to marketing technologies, integration is vital. Businesses can reap many benefits by using a CRM in conjunction with other marketing technologies. For one, integration provides a more holistic view of the customer journey, allowing businesses to understand what works and doesn't. Additionally, strategic integrations can lead to more efficient workflows and better use of data.
Most importantly, integration allows businesses to provide a more personalized and relevant customer experience. In an increasingly competitive landscape, those that can offer a differentiated customer experience will be the ones that come out on top.
How to get started with a CRM?
A CRM can be an invaluable tool for your marketing, sales, and operations teams. It can help businesses improve coordination, increase efficiency, and drive revenue growth when used correctly.
Businesses should keep the following best practices in mind to get the most out of their CRM:
Define your goals: Before implementing a CRM, businesses must define their goals. This will help to ensure that the correct system is selected and implemented in a way that meets your organization's needs.
Select the right platform: There are several different CRM platforms on the market, and businesses must select the one that best meets their needs. To do so, they should consider factors such as ease of use, scalability, and integrations.
Develop the proper infrastructure: A CRM system is only as good as the data and processes that support it. As such, businesses need to implement scalable infrastructure to ensure that their CRM is effective. This includes things like data quality control measures and workflow automation.
Train your team: To get the most out of a CRM, businesses need to ensure that their sales, marketing, and customer service teams receive proper training on how to use it.
Measure success: Finally, businesses need to measure the success of their CRM system. This can be done through KPI tracking and ROI analysis to ensure that their CRM drives impactful results.
What are some best practices for using a CRM?
An advanced CRM can help to create a seamless buyer's journey and provide a wealth of data that can be used to improve marketing strategies. However, there are a few best practices to get the most out of a CRM:
- First, ensure that all data is entered into the system accurately and in a timely manner.
- Perform regular clean-ups and updates to keep the data accurate and organized.
- Lastly, it is essential to train all employees using the system on how to properly use it to avoid any errors.
By following these best practices, enterprises can make the most of their CRM systems and improve their marketing campaigns.
How can businesses ensure that their CRM implementation is successful?
Businesses today are under pressure to do more with less, including getting the most out of their customer relationship management (CRM) system. To ensure a successful CRM implementation, businesses need to take a strategic approach that starts with aligning their CRM goals with their overall business strategy.
From there, they need to select the right CRM platform and partner and put in place the people, processes, and data infrastructure required to support it. They also need to ensure that their sales, marketing, and customer service teams are trained to use the system and are measured on its success. By taking these steps, businesses can set themselves up for CRM success.
A CRM system is a powerful tool that can help marketers manage customer data, automate marketing processes, and improve campaign performance. However, success with a CRM depends on proper planning and execution. To learn more about how to make your CRM implementation successful and get the most out of your investment, download our "Leader's Guide to Revenue Technology."
Tag(s): Marketing Automation
Zach leads New Breed's demand generation program. His areas of focus include in-depth market research and modeling, customer journey design and optimization, strategic application of data-based insights, technical integrations and data flow design, and technical content support.
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