Today’s tools help the entire organization nurture customers through every touchpoint, addressing their unique needs and personalizing the customer experience so they become loyal brand advocates.
In this article, we’ll cover the 11 main applications of CRM software and explain how a solution like Pipedrive can help your organization streamline processes and boost revenue.
What are the types of CRM software?
CRM systems help manage and track all information about your current and potential customers, employees and partnerships. By storing all data in a centralized system, your teams have quick, reliable access to key insights, boosting sales and improving business processes.
Sales, marketing and customer service teams use CRM software to align across the organization, making the tool ideal for many use cases.
The three main types of CRM are:
Collaborative CRMs. Tools aiming to break down silos between marketing, sales and support teams to improve collaboration
Operational CRMs. CRMs that streamline how companies manage their staff and customers, usually through integrations, visualization and automation
Analytical CRMs. These use artificial intelligence to help teams understand customer data and uncover key insights
The best CRM software gives you a wide selection of features from the above categories so you can tailor it to your unique business needs.
CRMs originally replaced address books and spreadsheets to improve contact management. New CRM solutions are much more sophisticated. For starters, cloud-based systems enable businesses to work anywhere with the same access to information as they’d get if they were in the office.
Let’s explore more specifically how CRMs can help businesses make smarter decisions. Here are 11 of the main applications of CRM software:
1. Centralize customer and lead data
The main function of customer relationship management (the activity) is to bring all customer and lead data under one roof. Contact information stored in spreadsheets or address books often gets siloed, making it hard to recover when needed or causing a potential loss of valuable documentation.
CRM software makes customer information:
Discoverable. By using intuitive software with search features, you can quickly find all information about a person the moment it's required.
Shareable. CRMs store customer data on a centralized platform, so sharing information with team members is simpler – especially on a cloud-based solution.
More valuable. With data stored in one place, it’s possible to generate more insights about your customers.
CRM software holds more than just contact information. Many CRMs store data from web forms, social profiles, contact history and order history. They also preserve notes about personality traits, preferences and more.
For example, with Pipedrive, you can import, sync and grow your database with unlimited contacts, organizations, projects and activities.
You can then add your own labels to help organize each contact. In the detail view, you can see all information related to each person, including a Contacts Timeline and any activities or deals related to that individual or organization.
2. Collect data for marketing purposes
CRM applications help marketers better understand their customers and target audience. With a 360-degree view of each customer, marketers can understand their needs and how to approach them effectively.
Rather than scrolling through email threads or trying to find a particular note, all the details are right there. This availability of information makes it easier for teams to create targeted marketing material.
Many CRMs automate the collection of additional customer data, including geographic information, personas, outcomes, behavioral information and more. This automated data collection allows for a deeper understanding of customers while eliminating extra manual work.
Pipedrive’s all-in-one sales CRM takes data from every customer touchpoint. If a potential buyer visits your website, has a conversation with your AI Chatbot or fills out a form, your CRM will automatically add the information to their profile.
3. Segment customers and personalize communication
Every customer is unique. Beyond preferences, they’re also all at different stages in the sales cycle and have different needs. This variation makes sending generic marketing material less effective than sending tailored communication to customers grouped by their preferences.
CRM tools not only store and collect customer data but help you put it to use. With new insights about your customer, you can create different campaigns that target key groups.
For example, say you want to run a marketing campaign for your online electronics store. You find that most of your active customers are 20 to 29 years old. Based on behavioral data your CRM has collected, you see that these customers are split into three main groups:
Customers who only buy during sales
Customers who repeatedly buy new camera gear
Customers who are only interested in gaming
Based on this information, you can create segmented email lists and engage each customer when they’re most likely to be interested. For example, you could use specific messaging to email customers who buy camera gear when you add a new brand to your stock.
Pipedrive’s powerful CRM includes an email marketing software add-on where you can personalize communications, segment your audience and create custom campaigns.
By using merged fields, you can pre-populate email marketing templates with information like name, company or the deal you’re currently working on.
Snug, an Australian subscription-based digital rental housing platform, used Pipedrive to segment its audiences and better plan communications. After integrating Pipedrive with their existing marketing automation tools, they reduced their sales cycle by 66% and increased their list of prospects by 40%.
The CEO of Snug Justin Butterworth says:
The solution to complex issues like managing multiple communication channels and scheduling sales calls is often as simple as keeping everything in one place. Something that Pipedrive has done very well for our team.
4. Track customer interactions and improve communication with contacts
By monitoring customer interactions, businesses can track customer satisfaction and identify potential issues that could impact sales.
However, manually transferring every interaction to your CRM database is time-consuming and prone to errors. Powerful CRMs let you set up workflows that automatically populate your customer record when a conversation occurs.
For example, if you use an integrated ticketing sales tool, you can set up a workflow that populates your customer’s profile with that ticket as it’s opened and closed.
These interactions create a comprehensive view of your customer’s habits, preferences and needs, which can help boost customer retention and revenue.
A CRM like Pipedrive will provide a contact timeline, showing when and where you’ve previously communicated with each customer.
Knowing when and how you last communicated means you can follow up with customers when it matters, using their preferred channels. It also helps you avoid over-contacting (and potentially annoying) your customers.
5. Identify and convert more leads
Finding new customers and moving them through the sales pipeline is crucial for sales teams. Important contacts can easily slip through the cracks, so lead-tracking software is necessary to help you monitor and prioritize them as they move through the sales funnel.
Many CRM solutions integrate with lead generation and tracking software to help you find and convert leads from a single dashboard.
Some sales CRMs do more. Pipedrive has an automatic assignment feature and a lead generation module called LeadBooster, designed to optimize this process without needing third-party apps.
LeadBooster helps you generate and communicate with leads via a 24/7 sales and marketing Chatbot, Live Chat and easy-to-build web forms. You can also use LeadBooster to discover new, optimized prospects from a database of over 400 million profiles and 10 million companies.
6. Generate insights and automate sales reports
The data stored in your CRM can be vital to finding sales opportunities to grow your business and increase profitability. An analytical CRM with sales reporting functionality can help you uncover insights, find trends and optimize your workflows.
CRM software can generate sales reports that provide detailed information about customer transactions, product sales, customer demographics, etc. These reports are invaluable for businesses that want to monitor their sales performance and make informed decisions about their sales strategies.
Many CRMs offer reporting features for generic KPIs, including pipeline analysis, sales performance and lead source analysis. Some provide reporting based on custom fields and KPIs specific to your business.
Use sales reports to track customer satisfaction levels, allowing you to identify areas of improvement and take necessary steps to ensure satisfaction throughout the entire customer journey.
For example, Pipedrive generates insights and reports based on deal performance, conversion, duration and progress, lead conversion and performance, activity performance, email performance and subscription revenue.
7. Create more accurate sales forecasts
CRM software can create accurate sales forecasts by collecting detailed data on customer purchases, preferences and interactions.
CRM solutions also track customer loyalty and trends and predict potential future sales. By tracking customer relations, businesses can determine what products are popular and how demand for certain items may change over time.
Use this information to create sales forecasts that better reflect the overall customer base and likely future purchases.
Take the UK marketing agency CreativeRace as an example. Without a CRM solution, they were struggling to track their leads and forecast revenue for the year. They were losing leads until they invested in Pipedrive.
With Pipedrive’s Insights feature, CreativeRace could easily make accurate forecasts and lead velocity. This increased visibility and led to more informed business decisions and a 600% increase in client acquisition year-on-year.
Oliver Lee, Sales Director at CreativeRace, says:
Pipedrive has improved our targeting and accuracy in data. Using the customized fields has helped us to create relevant lists to target, as well as maintaining the most up-to-date data that feeds through to our dashboards and reporting.
You can use operational CRM software to streamline and automate processes, including customer support, marketing and sales activities.
As mentioned, you can use CRMs to break down customer data. Knowing how to arrange sales activities (such as offering account management to a top spender) according to each person’s status or preferences is important.
CRM software can track customer engagement, such as open and click-through rates, to better understand how people interact with different channels. This data can be used to personalize marketing messages and contact customers using the right method.
Since CRM software also helps with forecasting, it’s useful for ordering stock, staff planning and making informed decisions about pricing and promotions.
Additionally, CRM software can help to track customer feedback so businesses can make informed decisions about resources and how to improve after-sales service.
9. Improve collaboration with teammates
Collaborative CRM systems help teams stay organized, allowing each team member to access customer data from one central location and collaborate with colleagues. You can create workflows and easily automate processes, streamlining manual work and saving time.
Teams can easily send messages, share documents and provide feedback to each other in real time. This collaboration helps teams stay on the same page and ensures everyone is on task.
CRM software can track progress and keep team members accountable. It can easily assign tasks to individuals, set deadlines and monitor performance.
This is especially true for cloud-based CRM systems like Pipedrive that:
Enable access from anywhere with an internet connection
Integrate with collaborative tools like Trello and Slack
Pipedrive is designed to streamline collaboration within sales teams. In Pipedrive’s dashboard, you can mention team members, leave notes and set up reminders. Your team members will receive a notification when mentioned so that no task goes undone.
10. Manage your sales team
Beyond collaboration, CRM software is a powerful tool for sales leaders and business owners to manage their teams better and improve sales performance. It’s important for sales managers to guide teams and grow their business
CRM platforms can help sales managers:
Assign tasks automatically. Leads come from a variety of places, so CRMs like Pipedrive let managers set up filters to assign them to reps based on location, lead score or source. This helps improve project management and reduces manual work like data entry.
Track progress and improve the sales pipeline. By tracking individual sales reps’ activities and performance, sales leaders can identify areas of improvement and determine the best course of action.
Improve customer service and sales. Sales leaders can use CRM software to accurately view the customer lifecycle, providing insights into customer needs and preferences. These insights can help sales leaders direct their teams toward better results.
Build scalable workflows. CRM software can help you outline every sales cycle stage so your reps can perform well. Some CRMs offer workflow automation, which saves sales teams time and minimizes administrative tasks.
Take Pipedrive as an example. Using Pipedrive, salespeople can unify their team’s efforts by implementing an end-to-end sales cycle. Then they can set up key metrics (like conversion rate and average deal size) to track the progress of deals.
This is exactly why Belkins switched to Pipedrive. Using their previous system, Belkins struggled to juggle hundreds of deals at a time, causing many to slip through the cracks.
Pipedrive allowed them to aggregate and track email correspondence, save 50 hours weekly on repetitive tasks and effectively manage their deals. This resulted in a sales revenue of $100,000 in the first six months after switching.
Dmitry Chervonyi, CMO at Belkins, says:
With Pipedrive, we are able to integrate hundreds of mailboxes just in one click and without the high price tag. We are able to support our sales growth in a meticulous and structured way by operating our pipelines in Pipedrive. That’s why we are growing our sales every month.
11. Monitor competitors and generate market insights
CRM software offers a powerful tool for businesses to monitor competitors and generate market insights by tracking website visitors, social media interactions and search engine rankings. By analyzing this data, businesses can understand current sales trends and identify areas of potential growth.
A good CRM will also allow you to add custom fields to help track competitor activities, such as new product releases, pricing changes and marketing campaigns. This helps businesses keep track of their competitors and adjust their own strategies accordingly.
You can add notes for each customer. For example, if you’re pitching to a lead and you keep hearing about a particular competitor, you could log this information so that it’s easy to retrieve the next time you talk to that customer.
Use CRM software like Pipedrive to monitor customer feedback, identify areas of improvement and understand what your customers want. This 360-degree view will help you make informed decisions and better serve buyers.
Who can benefit from CRM software?
Businesses of any size and industry can benefit from the right CRM software. Whether you’re a solopreneur or run an e-commerce company, small business or multinational corporation, you’ll improve with a CRM.
The types of businesses that will benefit most from CRM software are:
Businesses with a sales and marketing team. Nurturing your customers is essential if you want to grow your business. CRMs can help you reach the right customers at the right time, improve sales processes and create a more consistent customer experience.
Companies that need to improve efficiency. If your current approach isn’t working and your leads are slipping away, CRM software could be the answer. By keeping customer data in a single place, automating processes and reducing errors, you can keep your customers happy.
Businesses that expect to grow. If you expect your company to expand, you need a customer relationship management solution that can scale with you. Otherwise, your company will be impacted when you have too many leads to track using insufficient techniques.
Customer relationship management systems are no longer limited to contact management features. With applications in customer support, marketing automation, salesforce automation, management and more, a solid CRM strategy can help your business streamline operations, save money and drive revenue.
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