If you're a business owner, CEO, CFO, marketing director, manager or anywhere in between, chances are you've sat in on quite a few meetings to help your company understand the best approaches to managing your customers, contacts, leads and opportunities. What began with telephones, a Rolodex and a date book has now evolved to the use of sophisticated customer relationship management software applications - better known as a CRM.
What exactly is the purpose of a CRM? How can a CRM help you attract and retain more customers? How can you integrate your CRM with your website?
Tell me about CRMs
A CRM helps you and your company manage your customers, your prospects and your sales. CRMs can be either web-based or stand-alone systems and can keep track of people, their relationships to you, whom they work for, what they're doing, what they're thinking about buying and how often they contact you, among an incredible number of other options.
Some use CRMs for other purposes - such as keeping track of technical support or marketing goals - but the majority of users find particular use keeping track of prospects, opportunities and other sales information. The benefits of using a CRM for you or your company are a more streamlined sales process, increased customer and prospect interaction, and the ability to not only keep track of the people you want, but also to nurture those relationships in any way you see fit.
What Types of CRMs are there?
The great thing about CRM software is that it has grown and evolved by leaps and bounds, giving you a wide range of CRMs to choose from, depending on your needs.
Some of the more well-known CRMs are SalesForce, Microsoft Dynamics, InfusionSoft, and NetSuite, but there are also other CRM alternatives such as Zoho, Highrise, Sugar, and various other custom-made CRMs.
Regardless of the CRM you use, the majority of CRMs hold the same types of information and have the same types of goals:
- Improve customer communication and retention
- Increase company profitability
- More targeted marketing
- Increase business focus
- Enhance customer and prospect tracking
What is CRM integration?
Simply put, CRM integration is building your website and CRM to function together seamlessly. Instead of using your CRM to just be a system that retains customer information based on manual entries, CRM integration promotes your CRM to work double-time, automatically bringing in valuable customer lead data directly into your CRM using information already found on your website!
Aside from the benefits mentioned above, CRM integration with your website helps streamline the sales process as leads come in through your site. Fields such as name, company, e-mail and phone are typical areas that will be populated from your site to your CRM, and in most cases, you'll be able to pinpoint when the lead visited your site, what they looked at, where else they visited and what information they requested - all viewable in a single area! Other custom fields are usually welcome in integration, depending on the needs of your company.
Better yet, with some CRMs, you can choose advanced options, so if a customer submits information from a particular part of the country, a representative from your company will be automatically funneled that information, without any other steps in between!
Why do I need CRM integration?
No matter what you or your company does, you must retain your customer's and your prospect's information, and this is where a CRM can be extremely valuable. A CRM can help you be better prepared, delegate tasks more easily, monitor company performance and spot customer trends as they happen. Your website is, in most cases, the face of your company, asking your audience to view information, comment on it, download it, and ask for additional resources. Utilizing CRM integration to capture their requests is ideal, as more and more customers look increasingly online to engage in company interaction.
How do I get started?
Whether you have a CRM already picked out or are looking for advice on where to begin, experienced companies such as LyntonWeb can provide information on the best CRM for your business, what kind of information your company requires, how the integration process works, and what steps to take to get you you streamlining customer interaction right away.