What is CRM?

In the digital age, it’s essentially impossible to be in sales, marketing or any other customer-facing role, without a system in place to keep track of customer and prospect conversations. When it comes down to it, what is CRM technology, really? How do you use it effectively? With so many options on the market, how do you identify the tool that will work best for you and your team?

CRM in a Nutshell

The abbreviation “CRM” stands for customer relationship management. While the concept behind CRM isn’t unique to the digital age, the “CRM” abbreviation has become synonymous with technology platforms that assist with managing customer contacts and communication. Effective use of CRM technology helps sales and marketing teams work more effectively to ensure that customers are receiving a consistent message across platforms and getting answers to all of their questions.

A good CRM will offer robust lead scoring capabilities, a record of all customer communications, and seamless integration with other marketing and sales tools (such as marketing automation, CMS and meeting software) to centralize all of the communication between your company and your customers.

How CRM Helps Marketing & Sales Teams

The modern customer expects the brands they choose to purchase from, to have a clear understanding of their needs, offer personalized content and offer genuine value. In fact, 72% of shoppers will only engage with personalized offers tailored to their interests and needs. Relying on external information to get this personalization data is unreliable. Even with advances in machine learning, search and social algorithms or purchased leads lists often contain errors or mistakes, and there are few things more off-putting than receiving a personalized message that misses the mark.

With a robust CRM, marketing and sales can work seamlessly to understand each customer’s unique journey. Whether a lead comes in via the sales team or the marketing team, CRM records indicate the source of the lead and their stage in the sales funnel, as well as a running record of any touchpoints between the customer and your company. This visibility allows marketing team members to understand the performance of each of their efforts. Meanwhile, the sales team has clear visibility into their pipeline, as well as opportunities to identify cross-sell or upgrade opportunities.

CRM Integration for Marketing Automation

When CRM tools are integrated directly into your marketing automation platform, you’ll be able to seamlessly capture leads from form fills, web traffic and clicks via search engines or social media. These leads can be added directly into various marketing automation workflows to receive content relevant to their interests based on the source of the lead, the personal information provided and the actions they take to interact with your marketing efforts.

What Makes SharpSpring CRM Different?

SharpSpring’s powerful built-in CRM application ensures that all of your digital marketing and sales efforts are perfectly synchronized. Leveraging a birds-eye-view of your full sales funnel, you can easily identify where objections are happening and what marketing efforts are working effectively. This gives you a clear understanding of the individual needs of each prospect and current customers.

Each customer record contains more than just a name and an email address — capture social media interactions, schedule individual follow-up messages and collaborate with your team with fully-synced communication, social notes and reporting.

Because it’s part of the full SharpSpring Sales and Marketing platform, each customer record also captures form fills, email and landing page clicks, and site visits. If you already have a CRM platform you love, SharpSpring easily integrates with hundreds of third-party CRM applications.

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