What is CRM?

What is sales pipeline visibility?

What is Customer Relationship Management? How should a business choose a CRM software? What are the benefits of adopting a CRM solution? We’re here to answer all this and more.

What is sales pipeline visibility?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an umbrella term for all the structures your company uses to guide interactions and relationships with customers.

It includes not only guidelines for how direct interactions take place, but also systems for organizing and tracking all the relevant information — meetings, proposals, sales conversions, and more.

A CRM system pulls together lots of data to show your business how well (or poorly) the relationships with customers are being handled, and how that’s affecting business.

So in simplest terms, think of your CRM as a unique system for managing client relationships.

Why CRM is necessary

Many businesses don’t have an organized system for managing their relationships with customers. And that’s a big problem. Executives are used to managing their employees. But often, they leave it up to salespeople to manage their relationships with customers however they want — whether those customers are individuals (in B2C) or other businesses (in B2B). This means that multiple people at the same company may have wildly different ways of operating. This lack of direction often leads to failure. It’s a big reason that nearly half of salespeople miss their annual quotas.

Adopting a CRM solution changes that.
What is sales pipeline visibility?
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What is sales pipeline visibility?
What is sales pipeline visibility?

CSO Insights, a firm that delves into sales metrics and strategies, found striking figures:

Only 54.6% of sales reps make their quotas.
But when companies adopt a formal process for how their employees handle the sales process, success rises to nearly 60%.

And when they switch to a “dynamic” process, 72.2% make their quotas. A dynamic sales process starts with a formal structure but also allows businesses and individuals to make alterations and tweaks to keep improving.

Sales process efficiency vs % of quotas hit

What is sales pipeline visibility?
The upshot

Companies that do CRM right have an 18 percentage point higher chance of making — or even exceeding — their quotas. Put another way, those businesses increase their chance of making quotas by 33%.

It’s a huge leg up on the competition.

Did you know?
  • Top business schools, such as Wharton, teach entire courses on CRM.
  • Business sites like Harvard Business Review cover CRM from every possible angle.
  • The U.S. government’s Small Business Administration sponsors events on CRM.
  • Even the International Labour Organization studies and recommends CRM.
What is sales pipeline visibility?

CRM = Put your customers first

There’s also a mindset that comes along with adopting a CRM system for your business. The idea of “putting customers first” is an old adage, but it doesn’t always happen. CRM helps make sure it does.

Businesses that adopt CRM solutions build and grow stronger relationships with their customers, leading to “customer satisfaction and loyalty, which enhances an organization's competitive position and increases its profitability,” the university adds.

“CRM is a strategic methodology that recognizes customers as the core of the business,”

- DePaul University says in describing a CRM certificate program.

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The CRM data you need

Data is the beauty of today’s modern CRM systems. Most salespeople use a CRM system to do more than just organize their workflow. They use it to keep track of their successes and failures, and to track their sales metrics.

Hard data helps executives pinpoint challenges and opportunities. A long list of rewards comes from great CRM, including better customer service, more efficient call centers, more effective cross-sales, faster conversions and the improved discovery of new customers, Boston College says.

To reap all these rewards, you need great tools. And that brings us to technology.

Boston College offers this list of “just some” of the figures that should be collected in managing customer relationships effectively:
  • Responses to campaigns.
  • Shipping and fulfillment dates.
  • Sales and purchase data.
  • Account information.
  • Web registration data.
  • Service and support records.
  • Demographic data.
  • Web sales data.

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CRM software

Because it’s so important for businesses, CRM has become an emerging industry of its own. Numerous tech companies (including us at Pipedrive) are in the business of creating platforms that help companies manage customer relationships.

This is why the term “CRM” has become synonymous with technology. When people use the term, they’re now often referring to the platforms businesses use to manage relationships with customers.

To work for a business, a CRM tool must offer leaders all the information they need and offer individual salespeople a smooth system for tracking their work. And all this information must integrate into a cohesive whole, providing each business with all the information necessary to make the right decisions — at all times.

“CRM encompasses a variety of tools (databases, software, and internet capabilities) used to help an organization manage customer relationships in an organized way,”

- the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Office of Research Services says.

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Selecting a CRM system

We’re proud of what we’ve created here at Pipedrive, and we would love for you to give it a try. Our goal with this guide is to help you understand the complexities and realities of CRM. This will also help you understand why we’ve created Pipedrive as we have — to fill a void. And we’ll happily tell you that Pipedrive is not for everyone. We’ve designed our system for small and medium-sized businesses — not the giants of enterprise.

No matter what you decide, here are key elements to look for in choosing your CRM software:

  • What is sales pipeline visibility?
    Daily activity tracking

    On a Friday afternoon, can you recall every single action you took that week? What if you’re busy on Friday and wait until the following Monday to input the information? Good luck remembering all your sales activities. This doesn’t just prevent you and your business from gathering the basic information that makes CRM work. It also makes it tougher for you to remember the next activities you need to take — the follow-up phone call or email, the proposal deadline... Deals fall through this way. So any good CRM software should fit right into your daily life. It should become a habit that you barely have to think about.

  • What is sales pipeline visibility?
    Ease of use

    If your CRM tool is complicated, it defeats the purpose. You and everyone else in your office needs to spend precious time on actual sales activities, not wrestling with a complex program to input information. This means having a simple interface that’s both easy to use and easy to update.

    Good rule of thumb: If it takes hours and hours of training just to learn how to use a CRM, it’s not for you. It should be intuitive and clear from the get-go.

  • What is sales pipeline visibility?
    Accessibility

    Your CRM solution should be available to use anywhere. Finish a lunch meeting? Just pick up your phone, tap a few buttons and the update’s done.

    Working from home one morning? Great — just sign into your CRM system. On a flight to a sales meeting? Just hop online, finish up your work, then enjoy the movie.

  • What is sales pipeline visibility?
    Customization

    You have your own way of working. A good CRM should be designed so that you and every employee has the ability to move some things around. All the information will still be there, but the user experience will work best for you.

  • What is sales pipeline visibility?
    Collaboration

    At all times, the entire team should be on the same page about where things stand. A good CRM system will pull together information and give you access to all the data that your whole team needs so you can work together.

  • What is sales pipeline visibility?
    Integration

    Every business uses multiple software systems for multiple tasks. Your CRM solution should integrate smoothly with those — email, bookkeeping, HR and more.

Mastering your sales pipeline

This is one of our favorites — and one of the many reasons we believe so deeply in Pipedrive. CRM works best when it’s an integral part of every step in the sales process — from the initial call to the first meeting, to demonstrations and follow-ups, all the way through to sales conversions. At Pipedrive, we’ve created our CRM solution to make this work the best way possible. And we’ve seen it succeed for so many customers.

We continue to update our CRM and add features based on our customers’ feedback — which brings us to another important feature for any CRM system you choose: It should keep growing, along with your business.

"We've used multiple CRMs to manage tens of thousands of rental homeowner contacts . . . but Pipedrive still has our favorite visuals for deal pipeline and conversion rates throughout the funnel. If you are looking for an easy, intuitive, CRM for your company, try Pipedrive."

- Mickey Kropf, COO of Rented.com

What is sales pipeline visibility?

CRM keeps evolving

Just like your business, Customer Relationship Management keeps evolving. New opportunities, challenges and ideas will give the term new dimensions. To stay up-to-date on CRM, follow our sales blog. To learn more or get answers to frequently asked questions, feel free to contact us here.

And if you decide to give us a shot, keep in mind: You can always count on Pipedrive to put you, the customer, first. We do all we can to build strong, lasting relationships with our customers. After all, we’re all about great CRM.

What is CRM? | Pipedrive
What is CRM?
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