8 top benefits of a CRM system (and what to look out for)

8 top benefits of a CRM system (and what to look out for)

John PhillipsProduct Updates

You may have reached that point in your business where you are struggling to stay on top of things without Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. In this article we’ll discuss the top benefits of a CRM system and how the right solution will transform your business. We’ll also highlight a few pitfalls to avoid!

Many businesses use some form of antiquated or basic in-house CRM system without even realising it, such as multiple spreadsheets, to record and process data. The main benefits of a CRM system are about using technology to develop consistent processes and to manage your business’ data accurately and efficiently – something which becomes a real challenge when you’re relying on disjointed data.

At Strategy 365, we understand that making the leap to a CRM system can be a big decision, and although there will be an initial outlay to analyse your existing processes and move them to the new system, these costs can be swiftly recouped in saved time and efficiency gains.

An introduction to CRM systems

You may have already researched this topic quite a bit, but in case you are wondering what a CRM system actually is, you might want to read our other article on Customer Relationship Management software to discover some wider customer relationship management benefits.

Basically, it’s software that helps you accurately store and manage customer data, such as purchase records and notes on interactions with your sales or customer service teams. You can use CRM software to control your processes, be reminded to chase leads or renew contracts, improve your customer service, refine your marketing, boost your sales processes and much more.

What are the benefits of a CRM system?

1. All your data will be in one central place

If a business grows quickly, it becomes easy for a lack of regimented data storage to develop. Whether it’s files stored on individual PCs, paperwork in filing cabinets or attachments in emails, it can soon be difficult to track all customer information and interactions.

With the correct CRM implementation, there is now a simple first port of call when looking for customer-specific information or to begin wide-reaching data analysis. Imagine having all your prospect and customer information in one place, so your team can find exactly what they’re looking for – fast! This is one of the great benefits of a CRM system.

What to look out for: Consider the amount of data fields your CRM solution will offer and any additional charges to add more. Be careful of using too many data fields, as this could overwhelm your team and put them off using it. See if your solution allows for certain fields to be set as mandatory, with the option to add more information if required.

2. You’ll manage time more effectively

If time is a non-renewable resource, then it’s time to work smarter, and a CRM implementation will allow your team to do that. While manual calendar entries and task notes may be enough for an employee to manage their own time, it’s not ideal from a company perspective, and if activities are not being completed in a timely manner, how would you know?

A CRM system can provide overviews of employees’ tasks and upcoming activities, making it easy to prevent bottlenecks and identify potential capacity improvements. On an individual level, a good CRM system also makes life easier for the employee, allowing mobile access to their activities and providing timely reminders.

What to look out for: Consider how you would like this data presented. Will your managers require a clear visual representation of the capacity of their team members? Discuss what options are available with your CRM partner.

3. Employee performance can be accurately tracked

In a business where employees are responsible for managing their own tasks, appointments and phone calls, it can be difficult to determine how successful they are, as their information can be recorded in any number of ways. A centralised CRM system means that all activities are recorded in a uniform way, enabling straightforward reporting, and ensuring that targets are met and performance levels are maintained.

What to look out for: Before settling on a solution, it’s vital that you actively involve the staff and people who will be using the software and how it will serve them. Yes, it can track their performance, but this will also enable managers to identify areas where team members might need extra support. Or, if their time is being sucked up by admin, streamlining these processes and allowing them to focus on the areas where their skills shine the most can lead to increased job satisfaction.

If you take this approach, increased staff retention is by far one of the most powerful benefits of a CRM system, especially in the current recruitment climate.

4. Customers will feel valued

Any business wants their customers to be happy; making a sale is only the first part of the customer care journey. Handling customer enquiries and complaints in the correct way can improve loyalty and lead to additional revenue opportunities, but if this information isn’t recorded correctly, it can lead to customers feeling neglected or being contacted too often. After all, it’s a lot harder to get new customers than to keep existing customers. A CRM system can avoid these issues and ensure customers feel appreciated and looked after, increasing customer retention.

What to look out for: Check what kind of multi-channel support or customer sentiment reporting is available with the CRM system. Develop a clear vision of what excellent customer service looks like and tailor your CRM strategy around that, ensuring customer service experiences don’t remain siloed. Customers shouldn’t have to switch between channels to be heard, but if they do, there needs to be a way of tracking these interactions, so your customer service team is always up to speed.

5. You can scale your business

Having data stored in spreadsheets, emails and folders might seem a good idea initially, but once a business grows, it can quickly become a real problem, with storage and reporting implications. Plus, it can become difficult to find the right piece of information in a timely fashion.

A good CRM system scales with your business; whether you have one record or a million, it is always easy to find and filter your data. While scalability is often marketed as one of the benefits of a CRM system, just be sure to ask your CRM partner to walk you through any additional costs you might need to consider as your needs grow. We’d recommend reading our article HubSpot Pricing Vs Dynamics 365.

What to look out for: The whole aim of a CRM is to support your business and help it to thrive. Failing to consider the long-term investment or the cost of future enhancements or services can be a key reason a CRM project may fail.

6. You’ll understand the finances and data of your business more

Reports built manually in Excel etc. can be a good starting point for a business, but as the data gets more complicated and the number of sources increase, how can you verify its integrity?

Also, the complicated nature of building these reports can mean that only a handful of employees have the technical know-how to modify them or create additional reports. A good CRM system allows anyone to build straightforward reports to be able to analyse their data, but also facilitates advanced data manipulation for those requiring more in-depth analysis.

What to look out for: It’s worth checking to see if your new CRM system will be able to integrate with your accounting software in the way you would like. Speaking of integrations, you should explore any potential limitations of integration with other systems, as this will diminish the potential return on investment.

7. You’ll cut down on mundane admin tasks

Manual data entry, faffing about looking through folder after folder to find the one document you need, recording and transcribing meetings, ensuring contact records aren’t duplicated or missing key information, having to set manual reminders for this and that – it’s all a thing of the past with the right CRM solution.

Thanks to automation through software such as Microsoft Power Automate, or advanced AI capabilities such as Microsoft Copilot within Microsoft Dynamics 365, you won’t have to sweat the small stuff.  Your staff will have more time to focus on the tasks that bring the most value to your business, rather than spending their time on admin.

What to look out for: See what level of automation is available with any CRM solution you might be considering.

8. You can refine your processes

Ever read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber? It’s a great book about running a business, and one of the main points is the vital need to ensure you get your processes absolutely spot on. One of the best benefits of a CRM system is that you can record, test, manage and refine your processes until things are working smoothly.

Just think what a difference it would make to your business if your sales managers could have one central way of spotting any potential blockers or patterns, as well as spotting anything new which worked particularly well. Perhaps your project managers have a process they follow, but a situation occurred which really put a spanner in the works? What if you could learn from that experience and integrate a step into your process to avoid it in future? A CRM solution can provide a central hub to store and manage all your processes and is by far one of the top CRM advantages.

What to look out for: At Strategy 365, we ensure that we focus more effort on the wider business strategy and business needs, rather than focusing purely on the technology. We ensure that everything is taken into consideration – the processes, the people, the culture and the technology – to help improve acceptance rates and boost the benefits obtained. Not all CRM partners will work with you to get this right!

Choosing a CRM system

Once you have taken the decision to move to a CRM solution, then choosing the right system for your business needs is key. Two of the main choices are Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce.

It’s also really important to discuss the project with your staff, and truly hear what they need and what would make their day more productive. At Strategy 365, we can work with you to develop an effective plan and the most cost-effective solution for your business.

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