What does CRM stand for? 

The term CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management software. 

What is a CRM system and what are the benefits? 

A CRM system is a platform where businesses can store important customer data, including preferences and purchase history, to help better manage customer relationships. Using a CRM system can help boost the performance of workers in customer-facing roles, such as sales, marketing and customer service. For salespeople CRM tools can help track and nurture leads and monitor the sales pipeline with ease by providing a central location for all critical sales data. From a marketing perspective, CRM software enhances customer communications by providing enhanced insights. 

Providing a holistic overview of customer data, CRM systems help businesses ensure there is alignment between sales and marketing departments, meaning salespeople and marketers can unify their efforts to target new customers and foster stronger, more profitable relationships with existing customers. Below we discuss more of the benefits of implementing a CRM system;

Optimise customer service – As CRM platforms provide a central location for customer data, important information like past interactions and recent purchases is easily accessible to salespeople and marketers. Being equipped with the most accurate and updated customer information allows teams to better understand consumer needs and preferences so they can tailor their sales and marketing strategies to create more meaningful and memorable experiences with the business. In an era of hyper-personalisation, delivering customised experiences and interactions in this way is the key to elevating customer service.  

Boost sales – Using a CRM system can help streamline sales processes with workflow automation and create a more seamless sales cycle. This means that sales teams can close deals quicker and reach revenue targets faster. Moreover, the reduction of manual tasks to be carried out by sales teams means that salespeople can focus on more valuable work like interacting with customers and developing sales strategies, which can also have a positive effect on sales revenue. 

Maximise data quality – Centralising customer data via a CRM system not only provides organisations with a holistic view of the information they need to enhance sales and marketing processes, but also ensures that data remains accurate and consistent. Adopting a CRM helps organisations eliminate data silos and avoid the problems that can arise from using disparate information systems. Further, having an accurate read of current trends and historical data allows managers to make data-driven decisions quickly and enables sales teams to more accurately forecast future revenue and sales trends.  

What is Dynamics 365? 

Dynamics 365 is Microsoft’s customer relationship management solution, a robust software that allows sales and marketing to streamline processes and harness the power of artificial intelligence to boost productivity and efficiency across teams.  

Who can use a CRM solution? 

Regardless of company size, organisations across all industries can benefit from a CRM solution. A good CRM like Dynamics 365 Sales can be customised to meet to your organisations specific needs. Large businesses with complex sales processes can avail of the Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise subscription, which has full sales capabilities, while smaller businesses with simpler sales processes can opt for the Dynamics 365 Sales Professional subscription which offers essential functionality at a lower cost.  

What is the difference between CRM and ERP? 

CRM, or customer relationship management platforms, are solutions that centralise customer data and assist people in customer-focused roles, such as sales and marketing, in managing relationships with customers. ERP, on the other hand, refers to enterprise resource planning software, and is primarily concerned with consolidating core business data across functions, including finance and human resources. While both systems operate using different types of data, they can be integrated to share information between systems, which can be useful to facilitate automation and further streamline business processes. 

What is CRM automation? 

CRM automation means automating various sales/marketing processes within your CRM environment. CRM automation can help reduce the time and resources required to carry out tedious manual tasks, reduce the risk of human error, boost efficiency and create more productive sales and marketing teams. The following are some examples of tasks that can be automated in CRM. 

  • Automatically score leads based on predefined criteria so sales teams can prioritise leads more effectively. 

  • Streamline various marketing processes by automating email campaigns such as reminders or follow-up emails – typically requires activation of or integration with a marketing plugin 

  • To reduce pressure on customer service agents, responses to common queries can be automated. You can also automate the routing of specific queries to the relevant support agent, ensuring issues are dealt with as soon as possible. 

  • To maintain an accurate and up to date database, CRM tools can automatically update new customer information such as contact details or a purchase.  

  • Foster data-driven decision making by automating the generation of reports and dashboards to provide teams with clear insights into customer behaviour or key performance indicators. 

How do I choose a CRM? 

Choosing the right CRM for your business requires a deep analysis of your organisations current and future needs, as well as an evaluation of the solutions available on the market. Below we outline some important things to consider when choosing a CRM system.  

What capabilities do you need in your CRM? - Assess whether your business goals are aligned with the features the solution offers. For example, if one of the goals is to reduce manual tasks and eliminate the risk of data input error you might seek a CRM that offers automation capabilities. Or if one of your goals is to boost overall worker productivity and efficiency you may want a solution that has AI-powered features. 

Can the solution meet both current and future organisational needs? - Choosing a customisable cloud-based solution will ensure the CRM will support your business now and into the future. Plus by opting for a cloud-based solution you can quickly and easily scale in line with business needs, ensuring your organisation is set up for future growth.  

Does the solution guarantee the security of your data? - When considering a system like a CRM that stores sensitive customer data, it’s a good idea to research the solution vendor to make sure they have a strong reputation when it comes to security. You should also find out what security capabilities the solution offers. Some valuable security features include encryption, multi-factor authentication and integration with security tools like Entra ID (formerly Azure AD).  

Are there flexible pricing options? - Opt for a CRM vendor that offers flexible pricing options. This will not only ensure you choose the most affordable solution, but as your business grows it will be easier to upgrade to a package that offers further capabilities rather than migrating to another solution built for larger businesses. As mentioned previously, Dynamics 365 Sales offers different subscription models to align with your business’ specific requirements. 

At Storm Technology, we have the expertise and experience needed to help your organisation successfully adopt a CRM solution. To learn more about CRM and its benefits, contact one of our solution specialists today. Alternatively, check out our case study with SalesSense International, who partnered with Storm to transform sales processes with a growth-ready CRM.