Maintaining customer relationships – an equally interesting and important topic for online marketers. The customer and his data are in the interest of every company. How is it possible to make all information about the customer and the respective projects accessible and up-to-date for everyone in the company? And why does it make sense to introduce a uniform solution? The answer to that: CRM systems (customer relationship management systems).
Customer relationship management systems
The relationship with the customer involves work. Letters need to be drafted, invoices created, offers sent and incoming payments checked. A huge amount of data is created, which although valuable, also carries a heavy burden and the risk of losing control. To some extent, this work can be organized using Excel and email programs. However, CRM systems offer the possibility of structural maintenance of customer relationships and their data – all in one place. So not only contact data can be recorded using a system, but also agreements, offers, sales opportunities, invoices, appointments – everything that revolves around the customer and has makes sense for the big picture of the business. However, only technical implementation and introduction of a CRM system does not lead to success. Systems must be kept up-to-date through regular data maintenance in order to create and increase value.
By using CRM systems, companies have the advantage that information about individual customers can be viewed by any authorized person and taken into account for advice or the like – customer history at a glance. This not only promotes customer-centric behavior, but also optimizes processes when used consistently and regularly across the business. It saves time as well as money.
The systems serve as a framework for the distribution of tasks within the company and the creation of appointments and, as a platform, bring team members together and keep them on the same level. CRM systems thus standardize the sales process and lead to more efficient work, which results in higher customer satisfaction and higher sales.
4 CRM systems in comparison
How do you decide on a special CRM system? And what kind of requirements should you have, especially as a small or medium-sized business?
It depends on the interfaces and options that the system should offer the company. A clear definition of the target for the use of a CRM system is required here. Nevertheless, ease of use, the possibility of using it from a smartphone or tablet, as well as connection to other online services (eg Gmail) and a good price are among the basic requirements. Four CRM systems are briefly listed below to provide a quick comparison.
Zoho CRM is web-based and used by around 30 million people. The system has a wide range of functions and can be connected to MS Office, Google, Facebook accounts and more using a plug-in. The pricing model starts at $12 per user per month, but is relatively flexible in terms of options.
Salesforce is the market leader among CRM systems and therefore expensive. With a maximum of 5 users, the monthly fee for one user is €25. However, you get a lot for the price, such as a huge range of functions, a high level of usability, a high level of customization, and a wide range of plugins. The system is suitable for large medium to large enterprises. Due to the many features and the high price, this tool is rather less relevant for small businesses.
The Pipedrive CRM system focuses on sales pipelines. The range of functions is kept simple. Pipedrive can be configured quickly, has a high level of user-friendliness and is characterized by an attractive pricing model. Connection to Google and other systems is possible as well as the app on the smartphone and tablet. The monthly fee for users is €10.
Insightly also tends to cater to small businesses. And offers ease of use with connectivity to systems like Google and Microsoft. Insightly offers good customer, lead, and opportunity management, as well as social media features. A complete solution that is limited to useful features. The monthly cost for a user is currently $29.
Integrating a CRM tool saves a lot of work if all users use it in the same way. It is therefore a wise investment for companies.
Nevertheless, it is true that the different systems of the customer relationship model must be dealt with in more detail before a decision is made. Additionally, many of these systems allow free testing with a demo version.