By Leah Kidd
Happy customers are the lifeblood of any business. And one of the most powerful ways companies can connect with customers and deliver the service and support they expect is with customer relationship management software, or CRM.
CRM software is a set of sales, support, and marketing automation tools that help a company manage all of its interactions with customers and potential customers in one place. Customer relationship management software can often be referred to as a CRM database, CRM software, CRM tools, a CRM solution, or simply CRM. Businesses that implement successful CRM systems and deploy thoughtful CRM strategies to manage customer relationships can gain a deeper understanding of customers, improve the quality of customer service, increase sales, and create more efficient workflows that connect multiple teams.
CRM solutions make it possible for companies to create long-term relationships with their customers based on fast, personalized marketing campaigns and high-quality customer service and support. CRM databases also provide companies with sales automation tools and deep, actionable analytics and insights that can help manage customer relationships over the long term.
CRM databases can help companies of all shapes and sizes improve its long-term customer relationships. In this article, we’re going to define CRM databases, outline the benefits of CRM systems, explore ways to keep a company’s data secure, and look at the top CRM solutions that are available.
What is a CRM database system?
Customer relationship management was once thought of simply as a sales tool executives could use to understand their sales pipeline and plan for the next quarter or the next year. For some companies, managing their sales information meant using simple tools like spreadsheets.
Modern CRM solutions have since evolved into powerful, complex databases that connect to all the software tools that a company uses to manage its relationship with customers. This can include help desk software, sales and marketing automation tools, customer shipping and billing systems and more. CRM automatically pulls data from these disparate systems and makes it available to a company in one customizable dashboard. In fact, CRM is a tool that is used by sales, customer support, marketing, product development, and management to get a holistic picture of their customers and manage their entire lifecycle.
CRM tools give everyone in a company access to all the information they need about their customer interactions in one dashboard—from social media posts and voice calls to messaging apps and accounting software. This makes it easy for support teams to solve customer problems with real-time data like purchases, support history, and other historical data quickly and efficiently, without shuffling them between departments. It enables marketing teams to understand the efficacy of their marketing automation efforts and seamlessly pass marketing qualified leads through to sales reps. It helps sales teams access analytics that allow them to understand the lifetime value of a customer, and find new cross-sell opportunities. And in addition to helping management to instantly see their sales pipeline, CRM databases help business leaders deeply understand their customers and what makes them happy.
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