The history of CRM software has been the story of clunky, single-purpose systems that are generally hard to use and challenging to integrate. This reputation is slowly changing as CRM moves to the cloud and gets easier to use. It also is changing with the emergence of all-in-one CRM, which goes beyond just contact management to include useful business functions such as email campaign management, deal tracking, sales automation and customer support ticketing.
While there still are many CRM systems that just manage contacts, the most exciting systems today also make this data easy to use for real business needs.
This is the world of all-in-one CRM, and here is why you should be using it.
1. Better Customer Journey Management
They customer journey is increasingly complex and nonlinear; customers today require more touch points, and the relationship between marketing, sales and customer service is integrated. Good customer service ties into sales opportunities and can be used for social and word-of-mouth marketing efforts, for instance.
Since the customer journey cuts across marketing, sales and customer service, so too should the tools that track this customer journey. All-in-one CRM improves the flow of leads from marketing and sales to support by incorporating all three into a single platform. This improves handoff and coordination, as well as customer tracking.
2. More Sales Opportunities
Because these CRM systems serve as the hub for several areas of a business, there are less operational silos. This improved coordination translates into more sales because less lead opportunities are lost in the handoff between marketing, sales and customer service.
Areas such as automation are easier and more complete if marketing and sales are connected at the CRM level. Upsell and customer retention work better when customer support integrates deeply with the sales operation. Marketing gets more precise, and lead qualification improves when sales and marketing processes are connected. The list goes on.
3. Deeper Insights
Integrating customer data yields better business intelligence. All-in-one CRM systems start to deliver on the promise of Big Data without the extra effort by bringing together customer data from all parts of the business into a single system.
A single-purpose CRM might track the notes from conversations with the sales team, for instance. An all-in-one CRM, however, also might include a list of web pages that the customer has visited, the email campaigns they’ve received and acted upon, and customer service interactions in the past. This integration creates better, more actionable insights.
4. Less Data Leaks
Managing multiple customer databases is a chore and an operational nightmare. Data experts frequently stress the need for a single source of truth—a master location where all customer data is stored so nothing gets lost or goes outdated by mistake.
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All-in-One CRM helps businesses create this single source of truth by including the features that each department needs without requiring integration of several external systems. All customer data resides in the all-in-one CRM, and all departments use the system for their lead and customer interactions.
5. Improved Usability
The best-of-breed approach of patching together several different systems for sales, marketing and customer service might make sense for some large enterprises, but the minimal gains for standard business functions such as deal tracking and marketing campaigns aren’t worth the added complexity.
Businesses that use an all-in-one CRM bypass the integration complexity, the time and training required to master several different systems, and the incompatibilities that come from a best-of-breed approach. All-in-one CRM systems are easier to use, require less training, and integrate business functions more tightly for better efficiency. All-in-one systems actually achieve the promise of CRM by tying contact management to the business functions that need this data.
6. Added Features
There’s a lot that businesses can do with customer data. Most don’t invest in the tools and the integration required to fully use this data, however. Even when a business does use its customer data, it must pick and choose among a few core features.
All-in-one systems not only integrate features into a unified product, they also enable businesses to take advantage of functionality they otherwise might not have been able to use if cobbling together technologies. A good all-in-one CRM will include website and email tracking, marketing and sales automation, deal tracking, notifications, telephony, automated appointment scheduling, social media management and many more functions that work well together. Businesses get capabilities from such CRM systems that they otherwise would not get.
7. Reduced Cost
Perhaps most important, all-in-one CRM systems save money.
There is less software to buy when core functions are all rolled into the CRM. There’s less integration costs when businesses don’t have to glue together standalone systems. There’s less operational costs when employees only need to learn a single system, and when they get things done faster because core technologies are rolled together and already integrated.
This type of CRM is far more cost-effective. While this might not be as much of a consideration for Fortune 500 companies, it should be a huge factor for smaller firms and those that must stay nimble.
The CRM landscape is dramatically different than it was even 10 years ago. Cloud services have made CRM more approachable and the nerve center of a business, and the emergence of all-in-one systems is delivering on the promise of CRM by combining contact management with the functions that use this data.
Finally, CRM is sexy. We can thank all-in-one CRM for this change.