by Nick Durrant, CEO Bluegrass Digital
CRM has evolved immensely from being a customer register to a dynamic customer experience management system. It is no longer just a sales tool, it's a pillar of the customer experience (CX) and an ecosystem that comprises the entire customer life cycle.
Companies have now realised that modern CRM solutions provide an effective platform for their sales and marketing teams. It allows them to build a 360 degree view of the customer’s journey and ensures customer communication is much more connected.
According to HubSpot’s UK Sales Enablement Report, CRM software has become more popular than ever. It states that businesses that were using CRM for prospects increased from 25% to 40%. This is the only tool that has seen increased usage, with 7% of businesses having moved away from the traditional and laborious method of keeping spread sheets.
The website has become the new front door for most businesses - this is where the digital journey begins and all the interactions with the customer need to be captured. CRM tools help businesses collect all the information of all the touch points during the customer life cycle.
It helps track customer preferences on all the different channels - online and offline - so that the same level of service is offered seamlessly on all channels. Modern CRM solutions should provide an entire end-to-end customer experience.
The cloud, mobile apps, data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) have changed the meaning of CRM forever. Data analysis and AI have become essential to the customer experience.
Cloud CRM allows businesses to make changes instantly; they can add new modules or extensions to quickly address the changing needs of the company. It also enables them to extend the CRM to a larger audience through multiple channels.
Unlike before, where CRM was used internally, CRM now extends to anyone interacting with the company. The modern cloud CRM allows staff, stakeholders, consultants, clients and prospects to enter their information via a self-service portal.
Data analysis and AI
There is more data today than ever before, but without the correct tools, this data is useless. Up-to-date customer information must be available to all those working with the customer and must be available to everyone in a comprehensible form.
Modern CRM connects the data entered by different users and allows one to link all this information to better measure the customer experience.
Data analysis and AI also enables businesses to develop in-depth marketing strategies using all the available data of their customers to automate their campaigns. It allows marketers to make more informed decisions from the data and to achieve a better conversion rate of prospects.
The central database should be owned by everyone working with the customer during the customer journey, from the moment they land on the website. If this data is spread across various systems, it is nearly impossible to have a single view of the customer.
Automation is a powerful tool for marketing, sales and customer service – it can be used effectively to nurture customers in every stage of their life cycle. Automation can also save valuable time.
Modern CRM applications allow marketers to automate customer interactions, including personalisation, social, analytics and collaborations across the organisation. They are highly effective in analysing and managing customer interactions throughout the entire customer life cycle.