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What is CRM – Everything you need to know about

As a business owner or a salesperson, you must be aware of the term ‘CRM – Customer Relationship Management’. But what is CRM?

How is it related to your company’s growth?

Wonder why CRM is important for your business growth?

If you are looking for an answer to all these questions, you are in the right place.

Here’s what you will learn further:

  1. What is CRM?
  2. What does CRM mean for your business?
  3. Who can use a CRM software?
  4. Industry-wide usage of CRM
  5. CRM as client management software
  6. The benefits of using a CRM software
  7. The trend of cloud-based CRM
  8. Features of a modern CRM system

What is CRM?

Sales professionals leave no stone turned while collecting information about prospects.

They work without a single break to achieve the sales targets so that organizations can increase their revenue.

Managing individual call logs, heaps of spreadsheets containing pipeline data, sticky notes with information, and calendars containing appointments becomes haphazard.

Retracing customers and their relationship from such a strewn data hub makes it cumbersome, especially in a time-sensitive job environment.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the tool that businesses use for managing all the company’s relationships and interactions.

“Better relationship with customers and prospects leads to increased profitability.”

Most commonly, sales reps use a CRM tool to organize sales data like contact management, sales management, workflows, reports, activities and more.

What does CRM mean for your business?

CRM software is a solution that creates a seamless sales process with the ability to generate better revenue.

With an intuitive and easy-to-use CRM software, business owners and salespeople can store information related to:

  • outbound sales calls and emails,
  • create reports,
  • schedule appointments,
  • add notes, manage deals in the pipeline

Moreover, they can do all of the above without stepping out of the CRM.

CRM software brings consistency to the sales process of a business.

CRM is a one-stop solution for your sales teams’ daily requirements.

It stores the complete history of your deals, emails, notes, and appointments right in front of you,

How resourcefully you select a CRM software decides the closure rate of your sales team. It can become your gateway to:

  • Increased sales productivity

CRM helps streamline the entire sales cycle, which results in closing deals in your sales pipeline and helping everyone in the team to reach targets faster.

  • Healthier sales pipelines

With sales pipeline, you can analyze problem areas in each stage of the pipeline. A healthy pipeline will lead to more revenue & improved sales figures.

  • Coordinating and efficient team

Proper data exchange between different departments allows better coordination and makes your entire team more efficient.

However, at its core, a sales CRM helps businesses build a long-lasting relationship that affects both the customers and businesses in a positive manner.

What does CRM mean for your business

1. CRM for business functions

Generally, businesses can utilize CRM for carrying out a multitude of functions.

Speaking in the traditional term, CRM has always been used as a sales and marketing tool.

The modern business scenario has changed its use though.

Apart from carrying out sales and marketing functions, a CRM also manages customer service, HR and supply-chain department too.

2. CRM for sales functions

CRM enables sales managers to easily access information regarding the progress of their individual team members.

The progress report covers sales targets and how well individual sales teams are performing in achieving those targets.

Sales reps reap benefits from sales automation as their manual tasks get minimal.

CRM software allows sales reps to have a deeper understanding of their clients, and the opportunity to create more selling time.

customer relationships flyer
3. CRM for marketing functions

Marketing heads get clear visibility over every opportunity or lead.

This allows them to map out the entire customer journey starting from inquiry right through to sale.

Marketing team members can have a better understanding of the sales pipeline or prospective work using CRM.

Modern CRM also loops in data of the customers’ social media activities such as their

  • likes and dislikes
  • sentiment towards specific brands and businesses based on their posts or comments

4. CRM for customer service functions

Modern customers do not wait to get connected with the customer department over the phone.

Today they have social media channels like Twitter and Facebook at their disposal.

Customers can raise any issue they face with a product or service over these social media channels and then switch to email, phone or live chat.

CRM acts as a common platform for managing all customer service interactions.

It helps them provide a satisfactory resolution pooling in data from all these multiple communication channels.

5. CRM for supply-chain functions

The supply-chain department can easily track meetings with suppliers and partners, record requests, add notes, schedule follow-ups and stay on top of managing the inventory. Using the reporting feature inside CRM software, they can compare the efficiency of their suppliers and seamlessly manage their entire supply chain process.

Who can use a CRM software?

We all know that people differ from each other, and so does their approach towards working with individuals.

This lack of unity in approach leads to failure of achieving the annual sales quota.

Businesses struggle to create an organized and functional sales process that seamlessly manages their internal department and the relationship with their customers.

CRM software brings consistency to the sales process of a business.

It provides a complete history of your

  • deals
  • emails
  • notes
  • appointments

Having such information right in front of them makes CRM your sales teams’ best friend.

CRM based on company size

Startups, small, midsize and enterprise level companies have different requirements for using CRM software.

CRM based on company size

1. CRM for Startups

Startups need non-complex and easy-to-use CRM software with minimal features for managing their business data which suits their budget constraints.

2. CRM for small and mid-size businesses

Growing businesses require a CRM software that allows flexibility of adding users and features at nominal pricing that doesn’t compromises their budget.

3. CRM for enterprises

Enterprises do not mind the pricing of a CRM software as long as it can help them close bigger deals at a faster rate and support their large team volume.

$8.71 is the ROI on CRM for every dollar spent – Source

How resourcefully you select a CRM decides the closure rate of your sales team.

It can become your gateway to:

  • Increased sales productivity

CRM agencies helps streamline the entire sales cycle, which results in closing deals in your sales pipeline and helping everyone in the team to reach targets faster.

  • Healthier sales pipelines

With sales pipeline, you can analyze problem areas in each stage of the pipeline.

A healthy pipeline will lead to more revenue & improved sales figures.

  • Coordinating and efficient team

Proper data exchange between different departments allows better coordination and makes your entire team more efficient.

However, at its core, a sales CRM helps businesses of any size build a long-lasting relationship that affects both the customers and businesses in a positive manner.

CRM based on sales functions

Salespeople can use CRM to manage relationships with customers – whether the customers are individuals or other businesses.

1. CRM for sales reps

Sales reps experienced 26.4% increase in their productivity after adding social networking and mobile access to their CRM software – Source

CRM software allows sales reps to understand the psyche of their prospects. With records of past conversations and their activities, sales reps can easily access if the prospect is hot, warm or cold.

2. CRM for sales managers

Sales reps use CRM insight to understand the prospect’s behavior.

The same way Sales managers can also use the insights to uncover the rep’s overall productivity.

Insightful sales reports help managers pull up exclusive use cases and monitor the growth of prospects under different sales reps.

They can track individual sales activities done by sales reps and evaluate their sales performance.

Industry-wide usage of CRM

As per the research conducted by Forbes, CRM has shown a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1 percent from 2012-2017.

The demand for this technology is escalating at a high pace and the sales CRM industry is expected to reach US$48.4 billion by 2020.

The major industries that currently use sales CRM

CRM for client management software

74% of users revealed that their CRM system helped improve access to customer data – Source

Loyal clients are any company’s greatest assets.

To maintain the same level of loyalty, seamless transfer, storage and management of client information is most important.

When it comes to managing client information, every piece of data is critical to the business.

Data accessibility helped sales people shorten their sales cycle by 8-14% – Source

For every client relationship manager, organizing and managing a reliable pool of client information is crucial for understanding them.

It helps in building lasting relationships and planning successful strategies for business growth.

One fact that business owners should keep in mind is that every successful client management begins with their sales team.

For sales reps client management is an overwhelming task, one that takes a lot of their selling time and effort.

Many sales reps blame the task of managing client relationships for their failure to perform in their actual job; sales.

We would like to break the myth and clarify that client management is a big part of any sales rep’s job profile.

The way client data gets managed makes all the difference to the success of every business.

Every modern CRM software has features that allow sales reps to reduce their manual labor, centralize client touch points and make the sales rep’s task easier.

CRM software simplifies client management with streamlined client information and communications.

CRM software allows sales reps to piece together the client information and use it to benefit their company’s growth.

Get your sales
Benefits of using CRM software

CRM software collects and organizes all the information related to customer interactions, sales pipeline and your contacts.

This information is accessible in a centralized data repository which can be processed into reports and actionable insights with advanced analysis.

CRM offers various benefits to business owners.

We are listing some of the crucial ones here.

  1. Ease of customization
  2. Accessibility and security
  3. Actionable reports
  4. Collaboration between departments
  5. Enhanced contact management
  6. Boosted productivity
  7. Sales & revenue forecasting
  8. Enhanced customer satisfaction

1. Ease of customization

Every business follows its own working process and these processes might be complex based on the industry they belong to.

It becomes vital to have a sales CRM to be seamless for a smoother functioning.

Sales CRM software is designed in such a way that your sales team attains higher productivity at less time by customizing the CRM as per the business requirements.

2. Accessibility and security

Access to the centralized data repository helps sales team members stay synchronized with their sales goals.

CRM system provides a central database where all the information about the deals, contacts, and meetings is stored over the secure cloud storage. Business owners can set up hierarchy while giving rights and permission to avoid misuse of this data.

3. Actionable reports

Modern business owners understand that measuring performance allows them to create milestones for themselves.

Modern CRM provides reporting tools inside its system so that this data can be presented in the form of insightful reports.

These reports can be used for planning the future actions of business for moving forward in the industry.

4. Collaboration between departments

CRM software allows individuals from different departments to come together and apply their expertise while working together on a project.

Sales team department can collaborate with customer success, while handling marketing campaigns for generating leads and have a well-informed conversation with the prospect.

Such collaborations help companies capitalize on the available resources and boost their revenue and growth.

5. Enhanced contact management

CRM software is the best tool for recording and managing all the sales calls, questions, negotiation patterns, and prospect touch points.

The best part of using contact management is you have 360 degree customer view and all this information is easily accessible to the entire team within a centralized contact management system.

This pool of information can come in handy for sales, marketing, and customer service teams while tracking deals, pipeline progression, and client history.

6. Boosted productivity

With workflow automation, most admin tasks are cancelled out of the process.

All follow-up emails and meeting reminders are automated inside CRM software.

All of this data is managed centrally and is easily accessible.

The data includes all the details of a customer meeting and interactions.

Customer service administrators can easily learn the background of a customer while on a call with them, assisting in solving their queries.

7. Sales & revenue forecasting

CRM software acts as a single source of customer data and helps sales managers make accurate sales forecasts.

This has been made possible with visibility CRM allows over a sales pipeline.

Sales teams can quickly learn from the past and forecast the sales using historical data saved inside the CRM.

With predictive analytics, sales managers can make use of insights and anticipate customer behavior.

8. Enhanced customer satisfaction

With an easily accessible view of customer interactions, it becomes easy for the customer service team to provide a world-class customer experience.

The stored data helps customer service teams anticipate customer issues and deal with complaints in a prompt manner.

Customer service agents can understand their customers complaints by looking at past conversations.

They can provide a better service which helps in retaining the customers who will spread the story about their experience.

The trend for cloud-based CRM

In 2008, only 12% of businesses used cloud-based CRM – This figure has now increased to 87%!

CRM has used technological advancements to its favor in the modern business environment.

The revolution in cloud computing has changed many things.

The best example is the move CM software has made from on-premise to cloud-based system.

The trend of cloud-based CRM

Businesses no longer need to make heavy investments in hardware as there is no requirement to install software on-premise.

With cloud technology, businesses are also experiencing the benefits of moving their data into a secure online environment.

The cloud-based CRM system has following benefits:

1. Faster deployment

Implementing a cloud-based CRM solution doesn’t take too much set-up time.

The ease of getting up and running without wasting much productive hours makes cloud-based CRM the best choice for small and mid-size business.

As there is no hardware set up, there are zero IT costs.

2. Timely software updates

Cloud-CRM software keeps getting updates in real-time by the CRM vendor.

Lesser system downtime, no charges for hardware or software maintenance makes cloud-CRM the ultimate choice for small and growing businesses.

3. Reduced costs while scaling quickly

Cloud-based CRM software charges its users on the basis of the number of users per month.

Such software enables business owners to enjoy a service that has less up-front costs and has consistent, predictable pricing over time.

Cloud CRM is a cost-effective system to invest in.

Cloud-CRM is also really flexible in offering quick scaling as your business grows and includes more users over time.

4. Access from any place and any device

The major advantage every cloud-based CRM provides is the accessibility to the data from any place and on any internet-enabled device.

This feature also makes sure that all the assigned users have access to updated information at all times.

5. Increased collaboration

While using a cloud-based CRM software, teams that are located in two different geographical locations can collaborate without any hindrance.

Cloud-based CRM provides your remote team members with shared platforms where working together becomes much simpler.

Features of a modern CRM system

The business ecosystem has developed a lot, and with that, the requirement for seamless features has grown too.

Business owners, especially SMB’s, need to multitask to make the most of their daily work hours.

Some of the significant and friendly features of modern sales CRM are:

1. Pipeline Management

Track information from the initial stages of your sales all the way to sales closures; that’s what a CRM does for you.

A visually insightful sales pipeline view helps business owners and sales professionals manage their deals.

All the important deal related details are available on the screen.

2. Deal Automation

All the necessary contact details are present inside the centralized data repository.

CRM software allows its users with the ease of creating deals without tedious and repetitive data entry.

New deals can be automatically generated by setting workflows inside the sales pipeline that automatically capture leads from website lead generation forms.

3. Sales Automation

With sales automation, various steps within the sales process and other low-value tasks can be put on autopilot.

Create and assign tasks to your sales reps for new deals.

Notify then when a client takes significant action on the deal. Send automated emails to clients upon submitting inquiries.

Automation frees your sales force from busy and repetitive work so that they focus on closing lucrative deals.

4. Third-party App Integrations

Businesses use various applications for tasks other than sales such as email, bookkeeping, invoicing and more.

CRM system smoothly integrates with all of them so that you do not have to switch screens for carrying out your daily business processes.

5. Activity Tracking

CRM systems enable business owners to plan and track their meetings, calls, demos, lunches, and emails for every deal, contact, and company.

They even get personalized sales to-do lists that conveniently synchronize with their calendar and mobile devices.

Sales professionals and business owners can delegate work to team members by assigning activities.

The sales activity tracker notifies regarding all the actions taken for each deal and contact using the built-in sales management tools.

6. Sales Email Tracking

Every business tries to gain their prospects’ attention through email outreach.

Modern CRM helps them in this process with smart email trackers that automatically streamline and track the results of their outreach emails.

Track and identify the best performing emails and create templates from them for further use.

7. Mobile CRM

The modern breed of business owners are hungry for sales and for the same hunger, they prefer a system that goes with them everywhere.

With mobile CRM, there’s no boundary limitations, sales reps can sell more even when they are on fields.

8. Built-in Calling

Businesses can use the built-in phone feature to make and receive calls from prospects those who are  located in any specific area using virtual phone numbers.

The best part is that these calls can be made from their laptop or smart devices without any third party integration.


A writer with an uncommon funny bone and a knack for perfection, Saptarshi loves to write about anything that can be of help to businesses, people, and dogs! A true human at heart, he likes to spend most of his time researching the internet to find ways technology is influencing our daily life (positively).

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