CRM stands for customer relationship management. It is an effective system that links all the data from your sales leads as well as customers together and stores them in one location. A CRM documents and assesses all phone calls, emails, and meetings, assisting in improved customer care and sales. Having all customer data in one place improves operational efficiency and increases revenue.

You can obtain personal information and apply it to an individual level to delight each of your leads and customers with personalized messages. You can track, segment and also slice data to make your sales and marketing more intuitive, powerful, as well as much more efficient.

Customer relationship management is a literal description of what CRMs do, however, those three words do not inform the whole story. The large volume of data you can track for every individual customer in a cloud-based CRM system is incredible. Today we will take a look at the details.

What does a CRM do … and why?

Contact management on a large scale is the core function of any type of customer information system, whether it’s cloud-based CRM or software. You need to store and manage information for each type of contact, from leads to business partners, for effective sales relationship tracking.

A lot of small companies still use spreadsheets, email folders, or paper tracking to record progress with relationships. But eventually, those “systems” breakdown; as businesses get busier they cannot maintain their records accurately. If you have a hundred contacts in your database or more, it’s time to use a CRM.

You can modify each of the following fields as well as personalize them any time to fit your company’s requirements.

With an old Excel spreadsheet, you may track:
Contact number
Company address
Contact category
Purchase date

With a CRM, you can track all the above features plus many more:

Company size
Score leads based on triggers
Multiple contacts within a company
A Contact’s title
Notes of all communications
Current sales pipeline stage
Detailed reporting

A customer’s name and email address are the only information needed to get started with a good CRM. Once you’ve entered customers’ names, your CRM should continue to help you keep track of completed events or those in process. You will always know who replies to your sales efforts and can keep track of who and when to follow up with potential and current customers.

Additionally, a CRM offers space to add notes to give you a leg up on your competitors. Track details such as who makes decisions at each business you sell to, and you will further develop a meaningful, data-driven sales strategy. You can also segment information such as company size, industry, and customers’ preferred communication channels.

The best CRMs clearly show which leads to focus on and which to avoid. The more information you provide the clearer the picture becomes.

What is CRM marketing?

Marketing and sales run more efficiently with a CRM. Sales staff can work on their own and work together more smoothly. No longer will you need to ask questions such as “Who spoke to a prospect last?” “What did they talk about?” “What’s the next step?” because the CRM will track and store all the information. An effective CRM will assign a score or a value to each prospect in your sales pipeline and help you develop clear sales projections.

What is CRM marketing worth? A recent report compiled by IBM showed that businesses who adopted a CRM scored a 65% sales quota increase.

After identifying your most profitable customers, find and offer perks which will help them feel even more valued and delight them. Your CRM will help you sort data and refine marketing campaigns to send specific information to targeted audiences.

The Value of Merge Fields

Merge fields play a significant role in email marketing. A merge field helps you personalize emails by the first name, business, location, or whichever field you choose to include in your email content. Here is an example of an email including merge fields which are bolded.

Hi John Smith,

We are so excited to have LMNOP Enterprises as a new customer! Welcome to the ABC Company family.

Sales Rep Name | [email protected]

Excellent CRM software offers robust automation including the options to insert fields, trigger email automation and send reminders or calendar links for appointments based on your preferred criteria.

How Small Businesses Use CRMs

Small businesses, fewer employees wear multiple hats. A CRM provides you with a full view of your sales, marketing, and support for every customer.

CRM management lets you document sales calls, opportunities, as well as the name and title of the person you spoke with. Most CRM systems include features to remind you to follow up with sales calls and continue throughout the sales cycle. You can monitor each buyer’s journey individually at every step. This process helps in various ways. Stalled deals are also easy to identify, so you know where to focus your energy and avoid wasting your time.

Your CRM will help you identify which sales deals you are closing and those you lose. Using this data, you can develop targeted promotions and generate more qualified leads. A great CRM will automate lead scoring and email follow-up so your efforts will not increase your workload significantly and you can continue to focus on developing creative ideas that win new prospects.

Support and Service

Post-sales support is just as important as a smooth sales cycle. Your CRM will help you identify gaps in your customer service support. The more data you gather, the easier it is to identify problems and develop strategies to resolve them quickly.

The Customer

CRMs that allow for automation with e-commerce options are extremely valuable. When customers create and place their own orders, CRM add-ons should help catch if a customer is having issues completing an order. A quicker response to problems reduces the chances the buyer abandons their online shopping cart.

It’s Customer Relationship Management

It’s important to remember you are managing the relationship, not the customer.

Customers expect seamless support regardless of employee transitions. Your CRM will provide a central memory of each customer’s history making it easy for a new account manager to step in and place accurate repeat orders without having to hunt for old invoices.

Customers will feel known and valued with excellent service. CRMs work with VoIP telephone systems. A phone number will trigger a customer’s record to pull up on a customer service rep’s screen instantly. This small step provides a huge opportunity for friendly and knowledgeable communication between the customer and rep. That’s an excellent way to manage a relationship!

Ready to get started with CRM?

The process of adding a CRM information system to your small business should be manageable. Most CRMs will guide you on how to set it up. Start by collecting your existing contacts in a .CSV file and uploading them into the CRM.

You will need to map your contacts after you import them. After that, you can begin to create custom emails, segment contracts into sales stages and automate follow-ups. If you get stuck along the way, there are usually consultants available through the CRM company to help you develop your strategy and offer best practice ideas.

Finally, to best use all features of your CRM take time to train yourself and your staff. Change isn’t always embraced quickly but is easy to work through with the right tools.

How long does it take a CRM to show its value?

For quickest results, make sure that all leads are processed through your CRM. The right CRM creates value as soon as you enter your first lead.

You will see which sales reps are crushing it and which have bottlenecks in their sales process. The CRM will help you monitor deal progress and collaborate on brainstorming ideas with reps who need to move a stalled deal.

Use metadata to monitor your pipeline and see which leads and deals are far enough along to track revenue and cash flow goals.

Does CRM affect large and small businesses the same way?

Regardless of how big or small your business, the CRM is your marketing memory. A global team in a large company will use a CRM to collaborate on customers or sales processes and also to maintain discipline with sales reps.

A smaller company may find different features of the CRM system more useful. For example, the option to have a data hub for marketing campaigns and tracking sales pipelines are key.

All companies that keep detailed contact records will benefit from a CRM. Your business will run smoother with all of your customers’ information in one place. Data is powerful for any business. When tracked correctly you can save time on important sales steps such as customer follow-ups and have more time to create personalized customer experiences.

What can’t a CRM do?

CRMs are customer-focused. Generally, they won’t help with product aspects such as finance, shipping, production, warehousing, and engineering.

CRM research has shown that one of the top three reasons for failure is when a program performs tasks it’s not built for and lacks focus. That is why CRMs work well alongside tools which generate invoices.

A CRM can only manage the data it is given, so when employees work outside the system everybody’s effectiveness is reduced, including that of the CRM.

Here’s a fabulous list of CRM tools that will help your system function at its best.


Customer relationship management systems are a valuable tool to give you deeper insights, improve customer satisfaction, and increase the amount of closed sales deals. They help you add a personal touch to communications with leads and customers which will improve the overall experience for customers.

Start by downloading this free CRM Adoption Acceleration Checklist to help get everyone on the same page.

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