What is CRM?

What is CRM?

CRM Explained

CRM stands for “Customer Relationship Management,” and it refers to the tools, techniques, and technology used to manage customer relationships. The goal of a CRM system is to provide small businesses and enterprise customers with a central place to store prospect/customer information, track interactions, and manage these relationships. 

Here’s a model from IndiaMart that explains what a CRM system is in a nutshell:

CRM wheel


Some examples of CRM systems include: 

  • Salesforce—integrated CRM system

  • Hubspot—inbound marketing CRM

  • Zendesk—sales CRM

6 Critical Benefits of CRM

CRM Keeps Customer Data Organized and Accessible

The more info you have about customers, the more you can target and delight them with the right messaging and offers. What’s even better is having this data available all in one place for stakeholders to see and make customer-informed decisions.

CRM Systems Increase Conversion Rates

Since you have access to prospect and customer data, it’s easier to track and qualify leads based on activity, and you can use the insights to launch personalized, targeted campaigns.

CRM Boosts Customer Retention Rates

Repeat customers are the key to your business’s long-term success. CRM gives you an insight into customers’ needs at different stages of their journey. The more you learn about customers, the better positioned you will be to anticipate and satisfy their needs over and over again.

CRM Platforms Empower Teams to Make Accurate Data-Driven Decisions

Most CRM tools analyze customer data and uncover hidden insights you ordinarily would have missed. You can track and measure to see if you are meeting expectations, and learn more about what resonates with customers and what needs to change.

CRM Enables Personalized Interactions with Customers

A CRM gives you access to your customer’s contact details, buying habits, as well as their intent. With this info, you can have conversations based on data, not assumptions.

CRM Saves Time

You can automate processes like sending out bulk emails, qualifying leads, re-engaging old customers or leads, and establishing a stronger bond with customers.  The image below shows these benefits: 6 Critical Benefits of CRM

How Does a CRM System Work?

A CRM system stores prospect/customer data obtained from different channels such as your company website, live chats, social media, PR, and others. You can also manually add data from offline sources, such as events, in-store purchases, third parties, etc. After storing the data, you can leverage CRM and email marketing to automate interactions between you and your customers, nurture and convert prospects into repeat customers, and establish long-term, mutually beneficial customer relationships.  You can also track subscribers’ behaviors to learn about their buying habits and preferences. These insights can help stakeholders make accurate customer-informed decisions, as well as empower your sales reps to identify and bridge gaps in the sales funnel.

Types of CRM Systems: Which is Right for Your Small Business?

There are three types of CRM systems:
  • Operational CRM
  • Analytical CRM
  • Collaborative CRM
We used this image from Fit Small Business to sum up the three types of CRM and their primary functions: 2 types of CRM Let’s see what each one does:

Operational CRM

An operational CRM takes a holistic approach in helping busy marketing and sales reps manage their schedule, maximize cross-selling and upselling opportunities, improve cross-functional collaboration, and increase revenue, ROI, and customer satisfaction.   Salesforce is a good example of an operational CRM.

Analytical CRM

An analytical CRM gathers prospect and customer data based on their interactions with different touchpoints. The goal is to get to know customers better, increase overall satisfaction, and boost retention rates. To achieve this, analytical CRM gathers and analyzes critical user data behind the scenes.  Hubspot is a great example of an analytical CRM.

Collaborative CRM

A collaborative CRM unifies customers, business processes, and teams to delight and retain customers better. In other words, this CRM shares data in real-time to help teams collaborate effectively, learn about the customers, and improve customer experience. SAP Business One is an example of a collaborative CRM.

How Can Small Businesses Use CRM For Email Marketing Campaigns?

Here are three ways small businesses can use CRM to create targeted, personalized email marketing campaigns and turn prospects into repeat customers:

Segment and Mass Email Recipients

The combination of CRM and email marketing makes it easy for you to identify where a prospect is in their journey, identify strong leads, group them into related segments, and send out personalized, bulk emails to them. This way, you can save time instead of trying to analyze and segment on your own. 

Track Engagement

It helps to know if your messaging and strategy resonates with the recipients of your email or not, and you can track and elevate your email marketing engagement with CRM. 

You can see how many recipients interacted with your email—open rates, clicks on links, and other relevant metrics. You can A/B test email subject lines, designs, and messaging until you hit the mark with your readers. 

Automate Email Responses

Instead of sitting by your computer waiting for email responses (or asking someone to occasionally check), you can create email drip campaigns with automated responses at each stage of your customer journey. These automated emails should be triggered based on certain actions like completed purchase orders, abandoned carts, etc. 

Build Stronger Connections with Customers 

The goal of email marketing is to qualify and nurture, convert leads to customers, and turn one-time customers into loyal, repeat customers. 

You can build stronger connections with customers by:

  • Educating prospects and customers on the value of your product—show them how your product can solve their pain points.
  • Sending out emails frequently, but not too much to avoid overwhelming customers.
  • Being consistent. Set the right expectation from the get-go so that your audience knows when to expect a new email from you.
  • Sending out friendly reminders to customers about your product offerings.
  • Offering exclusive deals occasionally to keep them interested.
  • Creating a loyalty and affiliate program.

iContact ‘s integration with Salesforce CRM can help you achieve this goal.

Salesforce is optimized for sending bulk email messages to large numbers of leads or customers. iContact, on the other hand, lets you create captivating email templates that make it easy for your subscribers to find the most important info they need to take action faster.

With the integration, you can create and send personalized, relevant emails to new leads and existing contacts, track, and nurture your email marketing campaigns. 

You can also learn how your recipients behaved—who opened your emails, who didn’t open them, and who didn’t receive them at all. 

iContact Campaign

Knowing your open rates and other critical metrics helps you track your progress, identify gaps, and improve your next campaign.

Overall, you can leverage the integration to learn what your customers like, and create exclusive offers, content, and products they’d find relevant and irresistible.

Use Email Marketing x CRM to Turn Prospects Into Repeat Customers

As a busy small business owner, combining CRM and email marketing will do wonders for your brand. These tools will give you more time to focus on other equally important tasks while offering maximum, relevant, and targeted value to your audience.

You can build your entire email marketing campaign based on insights from the CRM tool, uncover gaps in your sales funnel, and position your business to delight more customers and hit your business goals.

Email marketing has never been easier

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