As we close out 2022, it’s clear that business automation is no longer thought of on a whim or considered a rarity; instead, it’s become a real necessity. CRM-systems are actively used in both large corporations and SMBs alike. What tasks do CRMs perform and what benefits do they provide? What is custom CRM software and does your business need it? Let’s take a look at these questions (and answer them!) in our new article.
CRM (customer relationship management) is software for automating customer interaction processes, which includes the functions of collecting, storing and analyzing data about consumers, suppliers, and partners, as well as internal processes of the organization.
There are both cloud-based and boxed CRMs. Their main difference is in the location of the program. A cloud CRM solution is hosted on the developer’s server; a boxed CRM is bought and installed on your server.
In addition to the fact that you can purchase your own CRM solution, you can also create your own CRM with the functionality you need. But first things first.
There are several types of CRM, each differing in their functionality.
Operational CRM provides access to functions such as registration of applications, invoicing, storage and systematization of information on customers and orders, reminders of tasks and executing their completion.
Analytical CRM not only captures and automates interactions with the client, it also analyzes these processes, identifying and tracking patterns. The main purpose of this type of CRM is to analyze sales information to optimize the strategy of working with clients.
Collaborative CRM is designed to work closely with customers and receive feedback from them. The results of such interaction can be used to adjust the range of goods, service style, list of services, etc.
It is important to understand that despite the large number of ready-made CRM solutions, many companies are free to independently determine the functionality they need for their business and create an individual system tailored to those needs. There are no uniform standards for CRM systems — the program may consist of various components required by a particular business. However, there are some basic modules.
CSS (Customer Service and Support)
The functionality of this module is aimed at providing quality customer service. It includes:
SFA (Sales Force Automation)
The sales automation system automatically registers all stages of a company’s sales and includes such functions as contact management, sales planning, order and documentation management, sales analysis, and product information management.
MA (Marketing Automation)
The marketing process automation module is responsible for analyzing the target audience, developing a marketing strategy plan, calculating budgets and analyzing results, identifying and analyzing consumer requirements, etc.
Next, let’s look at the scheme of operation of a basic CRM system.
Customer Inquiry –> Sales Launch –> Engagement Strategy –> Communication Effectiveness Analysis
The organization receives an inquiry from a client. At this stage, the system determines through which channel the client came to your company, records the fact of the appeal and assigns a manager to them. When setting up VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, also referred to as IP telephony) for your system, the program will be able to record calls, save correspondence from clients and record the communication of a sales manager with a client.
The system launches a sales funnel, a model that includes all the stages that your client must go through until the moment of purchase. In simple terms, this is the “path” that the buyer goes through from the moment the product first attracts their attention to the point in time when they decide to buy it. At this stage, the program can automatically issue an invoice or send the necessary documents for approval.
At this stage, the system analyzes the client’s actions and builds a strategy for further interaction to increase engagement — this may include personalized offers, mailings, launching targeted advertising, etc.
Now the system will collect data on the entire sales process and prepare a report on the business metrics you need (for example, key performance indicators for managers), analyze the sales funnel and identify weaknesses.
Optimizing the process of interaction with a client allows you to track the actions of that buyer from the moment they first come to your site. This enables you to provide relevant offers at each stage of the funnel. As a result, you will not only be able to increase sales volumes and shorten the transaction cycle, but also capture the interests and preferences of your target audience, which will allow you to create effective marketing strategies.
So, what tasks can a CRM system automate?
Today, the market is full of various CRM-systems with wide functionality. Consider these few examples of ready-made CRMs.
Despite the abundance of ready-made solutions, the presence of a unique and complex sales process in your company can lead to the decision to create your own custom CRM system. What is custom CRM? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with your own CRM? Let’s consider these questions.
A custom CRM system is a business automation platform designed from the ground up for a specific organization, built by either in-house programmers or a hired development team.
Often, a customized CRM software is suitable for eCommerce businesses, as many stores have a unique approach to sales and marketing strategy. If you’ve decided that you need your own CRM platform, here’s how to develop a CRM solution from scratch.
Remember that creating your CRM is a large and complex project — this process will require you to do more than find a team of experienced developers or entrust the task to full-time specialists. You will also be required to have the maximum amount of involvement in the process — meaning a complete understanding of what you want to see as a result of development, as well as the most specific and detailed terms of reference.
It should be noted that factors such as the number of features and options, the integration of third-party services, the availability of a mobile version, or the level of process automation can significantly increase the development cost.
Stages of custom CRM development:
Today, CRM software is a universal technology for large, medium-sized and small businesses. It allows you to increase sales, and effectively optimize both customer service processes and internal company processes.