Are CRM systems successful?

The benefits of customer relationship management (CRM) systems are now widely known. However, just because you’ve integrated a CRM system doesn’t mean you can feel the full benefits straight away. This article will explain what challenges businesses can face and how to overcome them to integrate a CRM system successfully.

Published June 1, 2022
Last updated June 10, 2022

How do CRM systems work? 

As the name suggests, CRM systems manage the relationships that businesses have with customers. From the first touchpoint to the last purchase, a CRM system will monitor, track and analyse each customer’s interaction. 

Depending on the type of CRM system, businesses can access a variety of tools to help them build better customer relationships, including: 

  • Email tracking, analytics and notifications. 

  • Social media monitoring and analytics (including chatbot integrations). 

  • Sales and service ticketing systems

  • Pipeline and prospect management systems. 

  • Customer databases, reporting and analytics. 

By building these tools and systems into their sales, marketing and service processes, businesses can start to gain more detailed insights into their customers’ behaviours and preferences and put workflows in place to improve their shopping or brand experience. 

How do businesses use CRM systems?

As previously mentioned, CRM systems can help to improve the service experience at every possible touchpoint. 

Indeed, the customers of businesses that use CRM systems most effectively won’t even notice they’ve been put in place, they’ll just enjoy a seamless and positive shopping or service experience. 

For example, a customer may message a business via Facebook about a problem they’ve had with a product. A chatbot will then pick this up and pass the query on to a customer care agent to resolve. The agent may ask the customer a few questions before helping them arrange a product exchange. If the customer then emails or calls the customer care team later on about their exchange, they won’t have to repeat their query, as all the information they shared with the other agent will be stored on the CRM system. 

By collecting a huge range of data at each stage of the customer journey, businesses can use CRM systems to give their service, marketing and sales teams invaluable insights they can use to improve customers’ service experience.  

How to use CRM systems successfully

With more than 65% of customers having higher customer service expectations than they did a few years ago, using CRM systems successfully is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.

To take full advantage of the benefits of CRM systems, make sure you: 

  • Match the system to your strategy: just like businesses, no single CRM system offers the same level of functionality and tools. So before you start purchasing a new set of software, think about your wider business strategy and how you’d want a CRM system to integrate and benefit it. Setting achievable and measurable goals to mark your CRM system’s performance against is also recommended to help you get maximum ROI. 

  • Get buy-in from all stakeholders: CRM systems aren’t a plug-and-play technology. To work most effectively, businesses need to shift their entire business strategy towards becoming more customer-centric. The full capabilities of any system won’t be realised unless this approach is taken. For example, a CRM system can collect data from any customer touchpoint, but this can only be analysed and deployed effectively if each business department is integrated together. So whether it's the C-suite executives signing off the software or the service teams that are using it, make sure you clearly communicate what the CRM system is, what the benefits are and what changes need to be made to take full advantage of it. 

  • Invest in training as well as technology: integrating CRM technology into your business processes is great, but if your employees don’t know how to use it, then it will be of no benefit to your business. Spend time and money giving different teams relevant training and explaining how the technology will change and benefit business processes. 

  • Emphasise the importance of best practices: CRMs deal with a huge wealth of customer data. To keep this data secure, well-ordered and usable in workflows, automation and analysis, it’s key that every employee is made aware of your best practices, including any GDPR guidelines and controls. 

  • Gather regular feedback: as you start to integrate your technology into your business, make sure you’re gaining regular feedback from employees and customers. The data and insights might give you a view of how the technology is working, but only by asking people at each end of the CRM system can you understand exactly how its working and what changes might be required. 

  • Focus on continuous improvement: as well as gradually integrating CRM technologies into your business processes, it’s key that you measure and analyse its performance as you go. This will help you to identify areas for improvement and address them quickly, setting your CRM system up for success and positive ROI.

  • Think about scalability: CRM systems aren’t a one-off investment. They’re designed to help you improve and optimise your customer service and experience in the long-term. As a result, you need to make sure that the system you choose is flexible enough to scale with your business as it changes and grows. Whether that’s the amount of data it can store or the range of tools it offers. 

By following these steps and tips, you can make sure your CRM integration brings your business long-term success and positive ROI. 

Is a CRM system right for your business?

There’s no single answer to this question. However, it’s estimated that more than 91% of businesses with more than 10 employees now have some CRM software in place. 

This is because CRM systems hold plenty of potential benefits for businesses of a range of sectors and sizes. From helping a small business keep track of customer queries to helping multinational organisations deliver an omnichannel experience, the best CRM systems are comprehensive, flexible and scalable. 

So, to find out if a CRM system is right for you, think about your business strategy and goals. Do you want to improve your customer experience? Do you hHave challenges with your sales pipeline? Do you wWant to gain a deeper insight into your customer journeys? Once you’ve established these goals, take a look at the different CRM systems available to see what features and benefits they can offer you. By comparing these different systems, you can see what functionality and tools are out there and find the best option to help you meet your business goals.