If you have heard the term “CRM” a million times but still can’t quite understand what it means, what it does, or whether you need one, don’t worry - you are not alone. The good thing is you’ve come across this article - we promise that by the time finish reading it (~5 minutes), you will have understood everything there is to understand about CRMs.
Let’s take a closer look at the very concept of CRM and see what it has to offer us in the sales, marketing, and customer service departments.
What Is CRM Anyway?
As you may already know, CRM stands for customer relationship management but that’s too vague of a definition. What’s there to manage anyway? What it actually means for an average business is that you use certain specific software tools and methods to collect, process, and manage data on your potential (leads) and existing customers. Still not quite clear, is it?
Now, What Does CRM Actually Do?
This is where we turn to analogies. Now, let’s say you want to build a car. If it’s just one car, you can easily purchase all the parts by yourself, and (being tech-savvy enough) put them together working as long as you have to.
What if it’s ten cars? Well, you probably have to hire some people to help you out, especially if there’s a strict deadline involved. Still manageable but slowly getting out of hand. Plus, you can’t really grow this way as your productivity and potential output are limited.
But what if it’s a hundred, thousand, or a million cars? You will never be able to pull that off without using a different approach. Well, it turns out that humanity has already solved this problem, thanks to Mr. Henry Ford and his assembly line where the complex process of manufacturing a car is broken down into a series of logical operations performed by professionally trained staff functioning as a single team.
Going back to the CRM concept, this is exactly what happens here - the complex process of selling an item to a customer is broken down into several stages, partly managed by humans, partly managed by an algorithm, with a centralized hub where all the data is accumulated, processes, and stored. And if you add some integrated communications and marketing tools, you’ve got nothing but a sales powerhouse.
The Good, The Bad, and The Great CRM
Like all things in life, CRM systems can be good, bad, and great. Bad CRMs are the easiest to define as they do NOTHING for you. Plus, they are not as common anymore (thankfully), which means we’re left with good and great CRMs.
Now, a good CRM will help your business to turn:
• random people unaware of your product into leads
• leads into customers
• customers into repeat customers
• repeat customers into loyal advocates
That’s what a good CRM system does. A great CRM system, however, can do even more as it helps businesses not only with organizing and managing their leads but also with client communication, sales team collaboration, sales process automation, and analytics.
Speaking of great CRMs, there are enough CRM offerings on the market to drive any customer crazy - from well-known brands and complex sales solutions whose interface looks like an alien spaceship dashboard to some lesser-known, niche CRM system offering targeted solutions for specific industries. And pricing is all over the place too, mostly leaning towards the pay-per-user model, which really adds up the costs if you have a company of more than 10 people.
However, there is a CRM system that falls right into that sweet spot in between the big guys and the niche solutions - a CRM that perfectly balances functionality, ease of use, and affordability for SMBs. It’s called Bitrix24 and it deserves a closer look - let’s do it.
Bitrix24 As a Perfect Example of a Modern CRM
A bit of backstory: Bitrix24 CRM was first released back in 2012 as a part of Bitrix24, which is a multi-component online collaboration suite featuring 35+ tools for marketing, sales, project management, and communication.
Through constant updates and improvements, this CRM has managed to earn respect and trust from more than 8 million users from all over the world. In fact, it is currently ranked as the world’s biggest CRM by the sheer number of users (which is a feat in itself).
Being a CRM, Bitrix24 shares some of the common features most CRM systems have but also has a few rather unique capabilities not found in other similar software. Let’s point out just some of them.
Lead Generation in Bitrix24 CRM
First off, if you’re switching from another CRM, Bitrix24 will assist you with transferring your data. Plus, you can always upload your spreadsheets into the system and it will add your leads from there as well.
As for the active lead generation, here’s what Bitrix24 has to offer:
• CRM web forms (completely customizable and editable)
• Live chat (a widget that you can embed on your website)
• Social media platforms and messengers (Facebook, Instagram Business, WhatsApp, etc.)
• Telephony (incoming calls added to your CRM)
• Landing pages and online stores (created using the Bitrix24 website builder)
All of those can be connected to your CRM and managed via a Contact Center inside the product. Having all the data on your customer interactions is really convenient, and that’s exactly what Bitrix24 does here.
Marketing Campaigns in Bitrix24 CRM
You can also run your marketing campaigns right from Bitrix24 CRM via a tool called CRM Marketing. Here, you can create customer segments and launch email marketing campaigns (up to 1 million emails per month), SMS and messenger campaigns, voice broadcasting, and more.
In addition to that, you can run retargeting campaigns in ad networks like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Sales Automation in Bitrix24 CRM
This is where Bitrix24 CRM really shines. Here are just some of the automation scenarios you can use:
• automatically assign leads to agents in CRM based on the given criteria
• create custom stages for your deals and move them down the pipeline automatically using rule-based triggers
• automate approval workflows - business trips, expense reporting, purchase requests, and more
Comprehensive Analytics in Bitrix24 CRM
Bitrix24 features a tool that’s aptly named Sales Intelligence. Here, you can see the full breakdown of your marketing spendings and see which promotion channels yielded the best results.
In addition to that, Sales Intelligence provides you with a wealth of actionable marketing metrics, stats, ROI, and more. All you have to do is connect your ad traffic sources and start collecting marketing data right away!
Access Permissions in Bitrix24 CRM
Bitrix24 is one of the very few CRMs that give their users the ability to configure CRM access right - up to the point where you can control which employee sees which fields in your CRM. This may come in handy if you want to restrict access to certain information like a client’s address or the amount of a deal.
What Else Makes Bitrix24 CRM Great?
Here are just a few more things that make Bitrix24 CRM stand out:
• Free to start for an unlimited number of users (no per-user pricing)
• 360-degree view of customer activity
• Quotes and invoices inside CRM
• Lead acquisition and qualification processes are optimized to the point of perfection
• Tools to monitor your sales team efficiency
• Myriad of possibilities for marketing and sales automation
• Sales forecasting and detailed reports
• 100+ integrations with third-party apps, including QuickBooks, MailChimp, Gmail, Outlook, RingCentral, etc.
Available as the default browser version, desktop app, or mobile app, Bitrix24 CRM is essentially a whole online workspace for you and your employees. And it takes little to no time to set up - create your free account using just an email, invite your sales team, and get down to business!