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Why you need a CRM

Why CRM is important for sales

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is an integrated suite of—usually—cloud applications, such as marketing cloud, sales cloud, and service cloud,  that collects and stores all customer data. It provides a centralized platform for sales teams to manage customer interactions and prioritize activities so that no customer feels ignored, thereby boosting the customer experience (CX). CRM software is one of the most important sales tools in sales reps’ arsenal, because it allows them to spend more time with customers, and the more time spent with customers, the more deals are closed, and the more loyal customers remain.

Companies of all sizes will benefit by using a fully integrated, cross-functional CRM solution.

Create lasting customer relationships with Oracle Sales (1:53)

Signs that you need a customer relationship management (CRM) system

So why do you need a CRM? As with most cloud software purchases, CRM software solves a problem. Sales are slipping. Customers are leaving. Growth is stagnating. By intelligently storing and managing your customers’ data, a CRM system increases lead volume, helping your marketing team find new customers faster. It supports your sales teams in closing more deals faster. It also enhances customer service. For example, by adding customer intelligence to your customer service software, contact center agents become more productive and efficient.

To get more specific, here are eight signs that it’s time to invest in CRM software.

1

Sales is a struggle.

At some point, all companies need to enter new markets or introduce new products. But if you are struggling to keep up with the business you are generating now, you might need to invest in an integrated CRM solution. A customer relationship management system can sort, analyze, and prioritize your sales leads so that your sales team can focus on opportunities that are likely to close and provide accurate answers to customers—quickly and efficiently—and your customer service team has the information they need for upselling and cross-selling.

2

Customer profiles are difficult to build.

If you cannot locate all your customer data points, all you can do is guess when it comes time to build your ideal customer’s profile. Not only that, you will have no visibility into your sales team’s activities. To find out this information, you will have to hold status meetings, which will take your salespeople out of the field and exacerbate the issue. For more information on understanding an ideal customer profile, check out this blog.

3

Customer service is not good.

Is your customer retention rate slipping? Do you have an abysmal net promoter score (NPS)? Are contact center handle times in the stratosphere? What is your average first response time? If your customer service reps are reacting to customer issues and not proactively working with customers, it’s time to invest in a service CRM system—one that can not only provide a unified view of your customer so that reps have the tools they need to provide spectacular service, but also provides:

  • Digital assistants/chatbots to handle low-urgency, high-volume questions and route cases to the right agents
  • Knowledge management tools to help agents answer questions and can be used for customer self-service assistance
  • A variety of digital customer service tools including live chat, video chat, telephony, and cobrowse functionality that allows customers to interact with your customer service team how and when they want   
4

Marketing and Sales departments aren't collaborating.

Since a good CRM can hold all types of information, it can be the rallying point for different departments in your company. A lack of inter-departmental cooperation is the source of many customer pain points. They’re forced to repeat themselves. Promises made to customers slip through the cracks. No one seems to know the customer’s history. Without smooth cooperation between all teams, customers will leave.  Coordinating sales, customer service, marketing, and even some back-office roles (such as billing, inventory, or logistics) is a tricky affair. But if all the components of a CRM share a common data model, all employees can access, use, and add data. Then your staff can work collaboratively and share insights, leads, issues, and purchase history. When information is shared across teams, productivity and efficiency skyrocket, data silos disappear, and your entire company appears as one cohesive unit to the customer.

Interactive demo: Explore Oracle Marketing and Sales solutions

5

High-value accounts are unknown.

You don't want your best customers to feel unappreciated, but that is hard if you don't know who those customers are. A customer relationship management (CRM) system can identify them so that any customer-facing employee can acknowledge them, provide the right incentives, and nurture them to increase customer loyalty.

6

Contacts within an account cannot be identified.

CRM solutions can help keep track of contacts within a business, to allow both sales and marketing teams to personalize communication. Good CRM solutions can supplement their account and contact data through third-party data sources so that all information is complete and up to date. So, if a contact has moved to a new job, your sales, service, and marketing teams know about it, allowing them to maintain and rebuild these important relationships.

7

Customer data is incomplete or inaccurate.

Some solutions automatically flow second- and third-party account and contact information into your CRM system, filling in missing information that salespeople left out and intelligently removing duplicates. For more information on cleaning up dirty data in your CRM system, check out this blog.

8

Forecasting and reporting is difficult.

If reports are still produced by downloading data into spreadsheets, they are taking way too much time to create and are probably inaccurate.  Inaccurate reports lead to faulty planning and forecasting. While time-consuming administrative tasks keep your sales team from doing what they should be doing—selling. A good CRM system keeps data in one centrally located, easily accessible place, making accurate, real-time reporting and forecasting a standard.

Why use a customer relationship management (CRM) solution?

When your data is organized and managed by a CRM platform, you have a more comprehensive understanding of your customers, which, in turn, leads to more aligned messaging. Many activities (both behind-the-scenes and direct interactions) can be digitized and automated, which helps you target your marketing efforts, speed sales cycles, and deliver better, more efficient customer service. Finally, with a fully integrated CRM, data silos are eradicated, making cross-departmental collaboration easy so that you can present a united front to customers.

What are some examples of a CRM?

Let's take a look at two scenarios from a customer's perspective.

You need service on a product you've purchased from a business you’ve done business with before. You even registered the product. When you call the customer support line, the representative has no idea who you are, what you've purchased, or when the purchase took place. You now have to go through the tedious process of supplying information that should be readily available to the representative, such as a model or serial number (which turns out to be hard to access). Not only are you wasting valuable time providing this information to a company that should have it on hand, you feel that you're not very important to them since they seem to know nothing about you. Even though you did receive the service needed, you look hard at the competition the next time you think about purchasing from that company.

Now consider another scenario. You make that support call. By merely taking down your name and verifying who you are, the representative has your entire purchase and service history available and treats you like the valued customer you are. Even with a product issue, this type of personal treatment will keep you coming back.

CRM supports the second type of customer experience. Every interaction based on CRM creates an opportunity for your customer to have a more personal, compelling experience. It's also an opportunity for you to build brand equity, improve satisfaction, and make more sales. And that’s how you create customer loyalty and increase revenue.


What do CRM systems provide?

Sales and marketing automation

A CRM system provides automated workflows that enable your marketing team to spend more time on strategic tasks, such as creating marketing campaigns that resonate, analyzing the data from those campaigns, and testing different approaches based on those analytics. Customer service agents can spend their time working with customers who have more complex questions, problems, or needs. In short, with more efficient customer care processes, companies can build better customer relationships.

AI-enabled sales and marketing tools

With AI-enabled CRM, you can:

  • Score leads to automatically to prioritize quality marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales opportunities
  • Use machine learning to examine data around each sales opportunity to forecast the likelihood of an early close date
  • Leverage digital assistants, chatbots, and other automated messaging systems to handle simple customer inquiries, such as order status and payments due
  • Gain access to AI-curated company data for dozens of firmographic and types of signal data to better target your audience and power more precise account-based marketing (ABM) strategies
  • Use machine learning to automatically predict the best-performing mix of send time and channel for each customer based on their interaction history, profile, and content metadata
  • Use AI-curated data and machine learning to create an ideal customer profile that can be used to identify lookalike sales opportunities
  • Provide smart talking points to improve content relevance to increase email campaign conversion rates and to support more productive sales conversations around relevant topics

Better collaboration across Sales, Marketing, and Service

Your CRM system serves as a single source of truth for all transactional, business, and customer data that has been gathered on your customer. Employees across the company can work with the same customer or follow a customer's progress through marketing, sales, and service. Everyone who has access to your CRM can work together because they have the latest information.

What is the ROI of a CRM system?

CRM provides a high ROI. Of course, you can get by without making that investment. You may be able to cobble together CRM solution from excel spreadsheets and email. But as you grow, you’ll quickly hit the law of diminishing returns. In 2014, Nucleus Research found that the return rose to $8.71, a 38 percent increase from 2011.

A fully integrated CRM can drive even more profitability. Nucleus also found that CRM integration with other internal applications brought "productivity increases across sales, service, and operations and a 20 to 30 percent growth in business."

Leading companies who fully utilize CRM report:

  • 52% more delivered proposals, quotes, or RFP responses with 11% more quotes resulting in orders
  • 32% higher overall team attainment of sales quota and 24% more individual quota attainment
  • 23% higher lead conversion rate

—Source: Aberdeen, CRM+ Sales Workflow: Removing the Friction from Your Pipeline

ROI is not the only key performance indicator (KPI) that you should track. Other KPIs you should track include data that measures your net promoter scores (NPS), customer acquisition costs (CAC), length of sales cycles, marketing campaign effectiveness and email distribution list growth.

Learn more about Oracle Sales—designed to help you sell more, faster.