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What is CRM?

How to choose the right customer relationship management software to benefit your business

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CRM 101: What is CRM?

What is customer relationship management and how should you choose the right CRM solution for your business?

The topic of CRM and the challenge of selecting the right CRM system for your business can be intimidating.

We want to explain customer relationship management and help you understand how CRM software can help you build a foundation for sustainable business growth.

What is CRM: a definition

So, what is the definition of CRM? It’s an umbrella term for all the structures your company uses to guide communication and relationships with your prospects and customers.

The practice of customer relationship management includes not only guidelines for how direct interactions take place, but also CRM tools for organizing and tracking all the relevant information you need to find prospects, nurture leads, close deals and retain customers.

Think meetings, emails, proposals, sales conversations, and much more.

CRM systems pull together lots of data that reflects how well (or how poorly) the relationships with your customers are being handled. This helps you analyze your performance and determine what it means to the business.

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

What are the benefits of using CRM software?

Many businesses don’t have an organized system for managing their relationships with customers, and this can be a big problem.

Executives are used to managing their employees, but they often leave it up to salespeople to manage their relationships with customers and contacts – whether these leads are individuals (in B2C) or other businesses (in B2B). This means there may be multiple ways of operating at the same company.

An inconsistent sales process and lack of cohesion and direction can often lead to failure. It’s a big reason why nearly half of salespeople miss their annual quotas.

Adopting a CRM solution changes that.

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45% of sales reps without a process miss quota

Sales research experts CSO Insights discovered this striking fact during a recent analysis of sales metrics and strategies, and it’s enough to alarm sales managers everywhere.

However, when companies adopt a formal structure to help their employees handle the sales process consistently, success rises to nearly 60%.

When they switch to a “dynamic” process, 72.2% make their quotas. Consistent customer service leads to financial success and a CRM system will help your sales team stay aligned with one single approach to selling.

A dynamic sales process starts with a formal structure, but also allows businesses and individuals to make alterations and tweaks to keep improving.

How does CRM software help your business?

Companies that consistently use CRM software right have an 18% higher chance of making – or even exceeding – their quotas.

Customer relationship management software gives you a significant advantage over competitors not using a CRM.

Successful CRM Users
  • 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 Labor Organization studies and recommends CRM

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 a sales cliche, 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.

The CRM data you need

Data is the beauty of modern CRM systems. Most salespeople use a CRM system to do more than just organize their workflow. There’s just so much you can do with CRM, but the best sales managers analyse their CRM data to determine their successes and failures, and to track, forecast and report 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

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.

How to choose the right CRM system?

A good CRM system should address the biggest problems salespeople face. From day one, the seasoned sales managers who founded Pipedrive — a cloud-based CRM — have designed a tool to do just that.The following features are what we, and the 100 000 teams using Pipedrive, have found to be crucial in a CRM software.

Track activities

Schedule activities like meetings, calls and emails to keep leads hot and deals progressing, then get reminders so you’ll never drop the ball.

Easy to use

Import data from spreadsheets or other CRM tools and start managing leads in minutes. No day-long training required.

Fully customizable

Tailor your account to your sales process, not the other way around. Put the features you use most close at hand to save time.

Quick access

Update your CRM whenever you need to. Securely log in to Pipedrive from any computer or download our top-rated mobile app. The Pipedrive CRM app makes updating your CRM even easier, giving you immediate access to everything you need.

Ideal for teams

When your team is using a good CRM system they genuinely enjoy using, you get the most up-to-date performance information. Get your salespeople following a proven sales process.


Connect your CRM account with your favorite tools. Pipedrive offers 400+ apps & integrations with services like Asana, Slack and Mailchimp.

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Visualize your sales with pipelines

The key to Pipedrive’s easy to use layout is the pipeline approach to sales. Simply label your sales stages, add deals and drag them from one sales stage to the next. This intuitive interface is one of the many reasons Pipedrive is the #1 CRM in comparisons of top-rated CRM solutions.

"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

CRM keeps evolving

Just like your business, customer relationship management keeps evolving. To learn more about customer relationship management and the CRM technology you can use to scale your business, subscribe to our sales blog, Selling and Scaling. To learn more about CRM or get answers to frequently asked questions, contact our team.

At Pipedrive, we strive to build strong, lasting relationships with our customers. After all, we’re all about great CRM ;)

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