Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) are the backbone of modern-day marketing. There has been unprecedented growth in spending on CRM systems; according to Gartner the CRM software industry grew 15.6% to reach $48.2 billion in 2018 and CRM software remains both the largest and the fastest growing enterprise application software category.
Why has the CRM software market grown so rapidly?
Because the rising popularity of pay-per-use SaaS models means that now even small companies can afford sophisticated CRM software. Also, CRM software has had a design and accessibility overhaul in recent years; UX designers have worked out that the “data in” component is so important. CRM systems now consider what it’s like for your team members to input data and many systems are now accessible from mobile phones and tablets. So if you have 100 franchisees or 10 retail outlet managers and a website, or a fleet of 25 sales reps on the road, they can all input customer data into your CRM no matter where they are or the equipment that they have to hand – and it will be quick, easy to do and will make sense.
This means that if you’re a small business, have a franchise model, a multi-product distributor, a B2B operator, a retailer with multiple outlets or a brand holding company, a CRM is an essential tool for maximising your marketing budget and building rock-solid, expansive relationships with your clients or customers.
Why is a CRM system critical for marketing in 2021 and beyond?
Because your clients and customers are humans not robots. Humans can be emotional, erratic, unstable, impulsive and capricious. They have hundreds of ways to view and interact with your brand and probably have 3-4 ways to make a purchase. A CRM system allows you to pull in data from many sources and find patterns of behaviour. With more data, you can start to build robust patterns of behaviour and start to predict customer needs. Which means your marketing stops being an annoyance or distraction and starts to make sense to customers and is a welcome addition to their day
A CRM turns data into patterns, patterns into predictions and predictions into sales. This is data-driven marketing and makes everything from product development to edms more effective.
Some of the lesser known or hidden benefits of a CRM system are:
- It stops employees from needing to use multiple spreadsheets, post it notes and apps to keep track of your all interactions with all potential, new, current and past customers. This is messy, time-consuming, inaccurate and very, very common.
- Imagine the power of 100 franchisees all inputting their customer data into the one place; it means that discount periods per region, new products and stock levels can be predicted and shared.
- For franchise model businesses or those with multiple retail outlets you can gain central control of all your sales and marketing efforts. This allows for “head office” campaigns and for protocols and guidelines to put in place for local area marketing. Your franchisees or Area Managers will know when it’s time for an edm, a call, a visit, a thought leadership piece and when central marketing efforts like remarketing and targeting is in market.
- It helps you to maintain strong relationships with existing customers because you will know when they need more or less of your time, attention and products.
- By having one CRM system, it forms a closer bond between your sales and marketing teams. Both teams become customer centric and, for B2B businesses in particular, lead scoring and nurturing can become automated.
- The right CRM system should be capable of handling all your privacy compliance needs. This is a huge issue for marketers around the world and knowing that your CRM can help with GDRP and Privacy Act compliance is a huge asset for your marketing, legal and compliance teams.
If you have been considering investing in a CRM in 2021, it’s time to think about it seriously; the hidden benefits are too powerful and numerous to ignore.
Next we will explore the hidden world of marketing data. If a CRM system is the backbone of modern marketing, data is the lifeblood.