10 Best Uses for CRM Software
If you’re operating a business that interacts with customers beyond the initial sale, then you need a system for managing contacts. And not just for your customers, but also for your vendors, your employees, your investors, potential leads, even random people you meet during flight layovers. The good news? There are tons of affordable solutions available to make managing this aspect of your business a lot easier. But Customer Relation Management is about more than amassing the names and email addresses of everyone you interact with. Here are ten best uses for CRM software to show just how versatile these systems can be.
Table of Contents
Use #1: Business Management
The best use for CRM software is its main use: managing everything from email correspondence to sales activity and consolidating it into one centralized hub. This could be done with a pen and paper, a rolodex, and an Excel spreadsheet, but there are some obvious drawbacks to that method. You can’t search a rolodex the same way you can a digital system, and even well-made spreadsheets have their limitations. Using CRM software, or CRM tools available through a loyalty program or POS, saves countless man hours, not to mention your sanity. CRM software at its best takes all the moving parts involving customer contact and links them together to create a system that’s seamless, intuitive, and easy to navigate.
Depending on the program you use and the type of business you operate, CRM software is also capable of managing inventory and tracking item quantity levels, the pace at which they sell, and even which items aren’t selling. Zoho CRM offers inventory management tools that track sales, and manage product lists, price books, vendors, and more.
Use #2: Customer Tracking
Identifying customer spending patterns
In order to find out what customers are buying, how much they’re buying, and how frequently, you’ll need a good tracking system. This is one of the main benefits of CRM software. Digital loyalty platforms like Fivestars (see our review) can gather loads of data because the software integrates directly with your POS. This data can be used to customize experiences for each of your customers, or used on a global scale to track how well certain products are doing. Having access to your customers’ spending patterns, habits, and preferences allows you to make more knowledgeable decisions about promotions, pricing, and advertising, as well as improving the customer experience.
For those who need instant access to client correspondence, be it email, phone calls, or in person conversations, CRM software is vital. Many CRM software systems offer correspondence tracking from the first transaction to the last. The CRM software solution Base (see our review) does just that, storing call logs, emails, documents and other forms of correspondence for each customer.
Use #3: Targeted Marketing
A staple in most loyalty programs, email marketing plays a big role in generating repeat business and acquiring new business. Email marketing keeps your business connected to your customers in a non-intrusive way. Marketing campaigns serve many purposes: offering discounts, alerting your customers to new products, inviting them to events, or even just saying hello. Digital programs like Fivestars’ AutoPilot Program allow you to manage campaigns based on customer activity, sending emails when a customer has been inactive for more than a certain number of days.
Alternate Media Marketing
If you’re looking for additional ways to access your customers, many loyalty and CRM providers offer mobile and social media campaign tools. SMS text messaging campaigns, social media blasts, and even mobile app notifications, such as the one offered by the loyalty platform Perka (see our review), are all great ways to connect to your customers beyond the traditional email method.
Campaign and Promotion Management
Digital marketing tools can be used for more than long term relationship building. Campaign and promotional applications can be used to solve the short term needs of your business. When your business needs a boost, digital marketing tools give you instant access to your customers to encourage foot traffic for your business. The Flok (see our review) loyalty program has a “happy hour” tool that lets you set up rewards on certain days and times to increase traffic. Certain mobile app programs like Perka and Flok can send promotions to customers when they’re within a certain distance from your location.
Use #4: Integrations
Social Media Integrations
Loyalty programs like the one Belly (see our review) offers can bring all your social media applications together and give your customers access to those platforms in one location. They also offer the ability for customers to like your social media pages and review your business on Yelp. Zoho and Nimble (see our review) also offer social media integrations, enabling you to monitor and engage with your customers on their social media feeds.
CRM software plays an essential role in bringing different programs together to seamlessly interact and provide you with an intuitive, fluid system. In addition to numerous data migration and export options, many providers are able to integrate with Google applications (such as Gmail, Contacts, Maps, Drive and others), MailChimp, Constant Contact, eCommerce platforms, Accounting software, Helpdesk software, and countless others.
Use #5: Customer Feedback
CRM and loyalty software offer great tools to make monitoring review sites and your social media pages a lot easier. Some programs monitor review sites like Yelp to give you up to date information on where your business ranks and what people are saying. The Sweet Tooth (see our review) loyalty platform for eCommerce offers reward tie-ins for product reviews posted directly on your website, stellar motivation for your customers to leave reviews. If your system will allow it, in-house reviews are a great way to give your customers an opportunity to express concerns or comments before they end up on the world wide web.
Chatter feeds, like the one offered by Salesforce (see our review), allow you to stay connected with employees with the same speed as other social media outlets. Chatter feeds are ideal for group collaboration.
Use #6: Data Analysis
Trends and Insights
Most loyalty programs, and some CRM programs, offer a pretty useful level of data analysis to give you actionable insights into your business. The more thorough your tracking tools, the more in-depth the analysis can be. On a product level, data analysis can tell you what products are selling and which aren’t, so you can determine if you need to make adjustments on quantity levels, or start a promotion. In a sales environment, analytics can tell you how well each member of your sales team is doing, so you can make the best choice when assigning tasks. The Base CRM offers in-depth sales analytics to do just that.
Use #7: Sales Tracking
CRM software gives you the ability to track the stage each sale is in across your team. You can prioritize sales by opportunity and manage all aspects of your workflow as well. Sugar CRM (see our review) offers real-time pipeline management to give you the most up-to-date information, as well as management tools to help you assign tasks to your sales team.
Coupled with sales tracking is employee tracking. Many CRM companies offer tools that track what employees are doing, their progress on assigned tasks, and the stages of each of their sales.
Use #8: Mobility
If your business necessitates frequent travel, then having access to your contacts, as well as other aspects of your business, is critical. Some CRM providers offer mobile apps and remote access options so you can access the information you need from wherever you are. Zoho CRM and Solve360 CRM (see our review) both offer mobile apps in addition to their main software. Pipedrive CRM (see our review) offers an iPhone mobile solution as well as a remote access option for android and windows users.
Use #9: Task Management
Use your CRM to manage everything from personal tasks to business deals, meetings, and more. Sync the software with your calendar, create and assign new tasks, and link projects and tasks with specific contacts.
Use #10: Document Management
CRM software can be used to collect, manage, and distribute documents, as well as track which documents have been sent to which client, or employee, or vendor. Zoho CRM, Clevertim CRM (see our review), and Contactually CRM (see our review) all offer document libraries with varying levels of tracking.
Final Thoughts on the Uses for CRM Software
Quality CRM tools make managing the relationship between you and your customers efficient, effective, and, hopefully, a little easier. There are many great CRM software providers and loyalty programs available that can fit the needs of your business. I encourage you to research CRM software reviews as well as loyalty software reviews to learn more about each of these programs.