CRM definition: CRM explained to my aunt

My aunt is getting into the “online business”. She launched her DIY creations business (do it yourself in English, translated as “do it yourself”). She asks me how to capture prospects on the internet, show them the products they will like, how to retain them and have more and more customers. I launch into the conversation, passionate about the subject.


I then talk to her about a brand new concept for her: the CRM. "What is this?" asks my aunt. Tata Suzanne, I'll tell you all about it!


CRM: definition


1. Definition

Let's start at the beginning Aunt Suzanne! What does the acronym CRM stand for? CRM means “Customer Relationship Management” in English, or in French “Gestion de la relation client” (“GRC”). Overall, CRM refers to the system that aims to maximize customer satisfaction, thanks in particular to the collection and centralization of data exchanged within a single customer relationship management software. All your customer data is centralized, and available to all members of your organization. If today you work alone, and your business is growing, you will need it!


No need to have excel files all over the place (and especially not one per team!): a CRM will allow you to have the history of all exchanges between your company and your prospects or customers. This history will allow you to gain relevance in all your future exchanges.

A good CRM software will allow you to build a “seamless” or even “frictionless” journey for your customer. A CRM tool will allow you to send the right message, via the right channel, at the right time, to the right contact (this is called “ATAWAD” for “anytime, anywhere, anydevice”).

“For example dear tata: the personalized email that arrives the day before or the day of your birthday to offer you 15% on the whole shop with the code TATA15”

A customer relationship management tool will also be your best ally to monitor the development of your business. Thanks to the analysis features, you will be able to follow your performance as closely as possible, manage the actions to be implemented, with the aim of developing your turnover, always in the philosophy of bringing more value to your customers!

2. How does CRM work Aunt Suzanne asks me?

The advantage of installing customer relationship management software in your company is that everything is automated! Who says automation says saving time, reducing the risk of error and forgetfulness. You will have all the information you need in real time!


Customers and prospects will be registered in your database from the first contact. You will obviously have to create the links between your different tools (e-mail box for example, invoicing tool for some if you decide to keep a different one from your CRM).


So, if you have a new contact, you enter it in your CRM tool. Subsequently, when your business has grown, if one of your salespeople exchanges emails with this contact, everything will be recorded in your CRM. If your salesperson goes on vacation and your client calls at that time, you will have access to the latest exchanges and you will be able to respond in the most appropriate way possible, while avoiding the pitfalls of style.


"It's my colleague who manages your after-sales service file, call back in 3 weeks, he's on vacation...."

You can also, for example, create, launch and automate communications to company contacts, according to their segmentation.


If it is linked to a good marketing tool and your website, you can also collect information from your website: pages visited, documents downloaded for example.


The whole advantage of a good CRM lies in the fact of being able to centralize all these functionalities in the same place.

3.  Why implement a CRM tool?

The first benefit that the implementation of a CRM will have is customer satisfaction. The effective use of a CRM will allow you to offer your prospects and customers a frictionless experience. Your customers will then be able to become loyal, and even recommend you.


It is then a virtuous circle that begins, because a satisfied customer, becoming one of your promoters, will bring you new customers, which will increase your turnover. It's common sense, and it has been brought up to date by the methodology of what is called the flywheel in Inbound Marketing.


The implementation of a good CRM will also allow you to obtain a competitive advantage in your market, by allowing you to have more appropriate and more impactful recommendations, during your interactions with your customers.


Finally, you will be able to manage commercial activity and sales forecasts, thanks in particular to the existence of dashboards updated in real time.


ATWho will benefit from CRM in your business?


1. For prospects and customers


A good CRM will allow you to ensure a modern customer experience, throughout the customer journey (before / during / after). A customer who lives a pleasant and fluid experience will be a more loyal customer, who will then become the 1st ambassador of your brand.


For your prospects, an effective CRM will allow you to make them aware of their problem, and to share content adapted to their needs, throughout their reflection. If your content is high value-added and timely, it's a safe bet that they will become customers of yours.

2. For teams


When you have a team, know that using such a tool will have a very beneficial effect on the sharing of information between the different teams. Inter and intra-team communication will be significantly improved.


Indeed, a CRM makes it possible to keep the history of all the exchanges that have taken place between the company and its prospect or customer. The information on the channel used (email, telephone, sms, etc.), the content of the exchanges, the transactions if any, are all centralized in your customer relationship management tool. So, farewell them;


“Ah, but you didn’t tell me that such a client had called and was waiting for me to call him back!”.

It will also allow marketing teams to optimize customer touchpoints, through an analysis of the customer journey and their interactions with the company. Thus they will be able to design and launch personalized automated marketing campaigns and then monitor their performance:.


  • measure open rates,
  • email clicks sent
  • most consulted pages on the site and therefore to know what interests your customers the most.

This will then make it possible to design even more attractive content, generating even more leads, and therefore potential customers. And a better ROI.


Your sales teams will, for example, be interested in the possibility of monitoring the evolution of the pipeline and transactions. Customer service will be interested in quality customer feedback, thanks in particular to the sending of satisfaction questionnaires such as the CSAT or Promoter Score (NPS), which makes it possible in particular to estimate the intention to recommend a customer.


All the data integrated into the CRM is likely to interest and serve the entire company, for example the accounting department which needs to export and then analyze the data collected in order to identify potential optimizations.

What are the benefits of using a CRM?


The advantages of using a CRM are of several orders:


  • better customer knowledge: all exchanges between the company and its contacts are recorded, in a clear and standardized way, and therefore readable and understandable by all members of the organization,
  • better sharing of information between the teams, and therefore better communication, and thus better processing of customer requests and expectations, thus transforming them into loyal customers and promoters of your services,
  • process automation allowing you to save considerable time and reduce the risk of errors,
  • support for performance analysis, allowing you to closely monitor the growth of your business,
  • a tool accessible from anywhere with a downloadable application on your phone (like Hubspot), which just requires an internet connectionIs a CRM suitable for all sizes of business?

At first glance, regardless of the size of your business, you can use a CRM. This is the customer file and therefore the goodwill. The solutions are more flexible, more agile and less expensive than a few years ago.


Therefore, whether you are alone to maintain exchanges with your different customers on the different channels, or as a team to share information and optimize future exchanges with your prospects and customers, a customer relationship management tool will save you time, and relevance.


Depending on the size of your business, you can choose a suitable CRM. For example, you could opt for:


  • desktop CRM software if you are a freelancer,
  • the working group CRM for structures of less than 12 people,
  • cloud CRM, suitable for large companies, especially those practicing telework,

Enterprise CRM for very large groups processing thousands of data per day.


Which CRM to choose?


There are different types of CRM. The choice will be made according to your uses. You can decide to have your solutions “locally”, on your machine(s), via the purchase of a license, or “on the cloud”, outsourced..

If you have specific requirements for your CRM, you can opt to purchase a license. Otherwise, the cloud solution has more advantages, such as cost control and limitation (servers, updates, maintenance are managed externally), or even accessibility from everywhere (mobility).


6 key steps to setting up a CRM


To set up a successful CRM, you will absolutely have to go through the following 4 steps:


1. The definition of clear objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

These objectives and KPIs shared by all, will allow you to stay on course, to have a common vision. This shared vision will help you then define ways to achieve your common goals.


2. Analysis of the existing and current processes

The analysis of the existing situation and the needs of your employees when you have them will be essential: what are the tools and functionalities already used by your various departments (marketing teams, sales teams, customer service, human resources, accounting, …)? What are the features they might need next, in order to be more effective and efficient in their activity? What could help them in their daily tasks? What are the sticking points today? What are the irritants?


Workshops are essential with all stakeholders: sales representatives, marketers, customer relations and information systems management for integration with any other tools.

3. Implications and access rights

Then, it is important to involve the different teams and define the rules and access rights to the tool that will be put in place.


When carrying out a project, there are different profiles: people who will be promoters of your project, others to whom the project will be totally equal, and others who will be refractory. The ideal is obviously to have as few refractories as possible.


Without giving yourself a course on change management here, think about involving promoters in your framing workshops, and why not neutral people, but for whom you will identify a leadership potential that can be favorable for your project.

4. The deployment

To deploy your CRM, you will need to be methodical and organized. For example, you can rely on tools such as the GANTT for your planning. Knowing who does what, when, how, and why is vital to the success of your project. Identifying the interconnections between the different sites, as well as the dependencies will allow you to deploy your CRM in good conditions.

5. Training and change support for your employees

In order for the transition to take place as smoothly as possible, it is essential to support your employees in their skills development in handling the new tool.

6. The right maintenance & SLA

When choosing your CRM provider, also think about post-implementation. Having a powerful tool, over time, is essential. Thus, the question of maintenance is crucial. Be sure to choose a company that will be there when you have questions or problems. Find out about the SLA (Service Level Agreement): this is the expected quality of service, as well as the contractual terms of intervention, restoration or maintenance of your CRM.

How much does a CRM implementation project cost?


The cost of a CRM implementation project will depend on several factors, including:

  • the number of people who will use the software
  • the number of contacts heldthe mode you have chosen: locally, or in Saas (Software as a Service), i.e. in the cloud


There are 4 main types of costs:


  • the cost of acquisition, i.e. the licenses
  • the maintenance cost (when not in SaaS)
  • the cost of integration, including the cost of employee training
  • infrastructure cost

Tip: you can very well start with an evolutionary software: for example, Hubspot has a free version, with specific functionalities,


To conclude dear Aunt Suzanne, setting up a CRM is essential in order to ensure:


  • a seamless customer journey for your customers, increasing their satisfaction,
  • better sharing of information between the different teams, accompanied by better communication,
  • management of the commercial pipeline and transactions as close as possible to reality,
  • to follow the development of your company and your turnover with precision thanks to the performance indicators.

If you are wondering what is the best CRM tool to implement in your company, and you want this project to be done in the best conditions, you can also get help from professionals who have successfully implemented it in other companies. clients !

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