For the last 15 years, businesses both small and large have benefited from utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) techniques to maximize their profitability. Here’s a close look at what CRM is, how it’s used and whether or not it can help your business.
What is CRM?
Customer relationship management describes the process of collecting and analyzing customer data in order to foster a stronger connection between a company and its customers. With this strategy, a business can use the data it has collected to better tailor their offerings to meet consumer needs, which will in turn increase both brand loyalty and profitability. CRM has become very popular in the 21st century as the rise of social media allows companies to gather extensive information on their customer’s interests, profession and buying patterns.
The advent of CRM software
When CRM first came into practice in the late ‘80s, companies used paper and digital rolodexes to monitor their interactions with consumers. However, in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, a number of tech companies began developing robust software that allowed founders and managers to collate and analyze customer data gathered from personal interactions, phone conversations, email, live chats, website visits and most recently, social media. Given how helpful it is for a salesperson to have access to such useful information almost instantaneously, it’s no wonder that the CRM software market is now worth $23.3 billion. Currently, Salesforce, Insightly and Zoho are regarded as the best CRM software for small businesses.
Will CRM help your business?
Regardless of industry, using a CRM-based marketing strategy has the potential to help grow your business for a number of reasons. For one thing, using a data driven approach for customer outreach only makes sense now that social media loving, traditional advertising disliking Millennials are now the largest demographic in the US workforce. If you’re not willing to connect with consumers through the channels they use the most, you’ve effectively given your business an expiration date. Secondly, having real time information on how your customers are reacting to your latest campaign will help you capitalize on unforeseen opportunities and make course corrections as soon as possible. Lastly, by using CRM techniques, you can gain a greater understanding of what your customers need and want. There are few things as important to the success of a business as knowing what customers want.
This article was written by Mario McKellop for Small Business Pulse