What is CRM Software and Why Your Business Needs It

Increasing Competition

In today's highly competitive and fast-paced business environment, companies must find ways to manage customer relationships to gain an edge effectively. Customer relationship management (CRM) software has become an invaluable tool for companies of all sizes and industries looking to streamline operations, improve customer service, and drive sales. This article will explore what CRM software is, its key benefits, and why it should be considered an essential component of any successful business strategy moving forward.

An Overview of What Is CRM Software

CRM software allows businesses to compile customer data from various sources into one centralized location. This creates a holistic view of the customer so that companies can better understand and meet their needs. The software encompasses many features, including automating tasks, tracking interactions, managing leads and opportunities, providing analytics, and enabling team collaboration. As companies scale up, CRM systems become even more critical to efficiently managing processes and relationships.

Operational CRM

Helps automate daily tasks like sending emails, tracking sales, and managing cases. It makes teams more efficient for both B2B and B2C companies.

Analytical CRM

Provides reports and dashboards to visualize data like sales pipeline, top customers, and team performance. Gives insights into the business.

Collaborative CRM

Ensures sales, marketing, and support teams are aligned by sharing customer details. Strengthens coordination between departments.

Strategic CRM

Collects customer data to understand needs and tailor offerings. It helps build long-term relationships.

“The key is to find a CRM that matches your goals. Now, these types of CRMs are not mutually exclusive, but for the most part, businesses find that an operational CRM delivers the biggest bang for the buck with your workflow automation.”

Michael Bernzweig

Benefits of CRM Software

Centralizing Customer Data

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is invaluable for centralizing customer data into one easily accessible and manageable location. Rather than having important customer information scattered across multiple spreadsheets, documents, and systems, a CRM consolidates contacts, interactions, transaction histories, and other data into unified customer profiles. This “single source of truth” enables anyone on your team to quickly find critical details about a customer with just a few clicks. A centralized CRM eliminates frustrating searches through disjointed files and ensures the entire organization has visibility into customer relationships.

Automating Processes

CRM platforms help companies automate repetitive tasks to improve efficiency. For example, CRMs can automatically send scheduled emails like newsletters, promotions, surveys, and drip campaigns. Reporting and analytics features generate insights without manual number crunching. Workflow automation standardizes processes for sales, marketing, support, and operations. With a CRM handling time-consuming, busy work, your team can focus on higher-value activities like building customer relationships. Process automation increases productivity and ensures consistent execution of critical tasks.

Providing Actionable Insights

Advanced CRM systems include robust analytics and reporting to uncover hidden opportunities. Interactive dashboards visualize trends, metrics, and KPIs to inform strategic decisions. Segmentation and filtering allow you to drill into data to identify high-value customer groups. CRM analytics transform raw data into actionable insights your business can leverage to drive growth. Instead of collecting customer data, you gain intelligence to tailor marketing, strengthen engagement, and predict churn. The insights from a CRM provide a competitive advantage for understanding customers and targeting efforts.

Improving Cross-Team Collaboration

An effective CRM breaks down silos and connects sales, marketing, support, and other teams. By sharing a unified customer view, different departments can better align efforts to provide a seamless experience. Collaboration features like account assignments, notes, and activity feeds foster transparency. Sales and marketing can share insights to refine strategies. Support can alert account managers about issues. With teams on the same page, you present a unified face to customers and improve relationships. A CRM facilitates company-wide collaboration to ensure consistency across touchpoints.

Tailoring Offerings to Customers

Advanced CRMs allow you to gather voice-of-the-customer data and feedback that informs product and service enhancements. Interaction histories, cases, and survey data provide insights into customer needs and pain points. Transactional information helps you identify usage trends. With a detailed understanding of customers, you can refine offerings to meet their needs better. CRM-enabled customer intelligence allows you to tailor pricing, packaging, positioning, and products to strengthen relationships over the long term. Suitable customizations boost satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value.

As marketing automation expert Xiaofei Zhang of ActiveCampaign noted in our recent podcast, “We are a platform company first and foremost. So that means that we not only have robust native features, but we integrate well with all the other solutions in the market.”

Our Video On What CRM Software Is and Why Businesses Need it?

This introductory CRM video explains how customer relationship management software centralizes customer data, automates workflows, and provides insights to strengthen customer relationships over time. CRM software becomes essential as a business scales up to manage more customers efficiently. The presenter gives examples of how CRM solutions have improved customer retention, sales performance, and service satisfaction at his companies. He emphasizes finding the right CRM to match your business goals as you grow.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

Choosing the Right CRM

The best CRM depends on your business goals. Most businesses find an operational CRM provides the most value by automating workflows. Analytical features help uncover insights, while collaboration connects teams. As your business grows, the CRM should be able to scale with you. Be sure that you take the time to take the potential solutions on your shortlist out for a test drive. We have included links to our picks of the best solutions in the category. Each offers a free trial, so this is a great opportunity to kick the tires and put each through its paces.

Our Top 9 Picks for Best CRM Software

Implementing a CRM

Getting Leadership Buy-in

Gaining buy-in from leadership is critical for ensuring the success of any major initiative. To do this, tailor your pitch to appeal directly to the goals and priorities of senior leaders. Frame the issue regarding how it impacts strategic objectives and organizational performance. And leverage relationships with influential executives who can champion your ideas further up the chain of command. With the right framing and advocacy, you can persuade leaders to provide the support and resources needed to accomplish your goals.

“In summary, CRM centralizes your customer data, helps automate processes, and provides insights to improve relationships. It's a must-have for any growing business.”

Michael Bernzweig

Involving Users

Involving end users directly in software selection and configuration leads to better outcomes. Users know their own needs and workflows best. By participating in requirements gathering, design sessions, prototyping, and testing, users can provide invaluable feedback to developers. This results in software that is intuitive and fits seamlessly into existing processes. Appointing a product owner to represent users and organize their participation ensures user needs are prioritized throughout the development process.

Michael Bernzweig looking at the CRM software category on the Software Oasis website during a video filming.
Michael Bernzweig films a video about CRM software while browsing the Software Oasis website's CRM category.

Data Migration

Migrating data and integrating systems requires careful planning and execution. First, choose an appropriate migration method based on factors like downtime tolerance and data model compatibility. A dedicated migration system can extract data, transform it as needed, and load it into the new system for complex migrations—schedule migrations during periods of low activity. Validate results thoroughly to ensure completeness and accuracy. Proper data migration allows you to retire legacy systems and avoid data loss or corruption.

Training Employees

Successfully training staff on new software requires a multifaceted approach. Prioritize training on the most frequently used features. To accommodate different styles, offer flexible learning models like self-paced online courses, mentoring programs, and interactive workshops. Actively engage staff by soliciting feedback and addressing concerns. Setting aside dedicated training time shows the organization’s commitment. Employees need opportunities to gain hands-on experience in a low-pressure environment. With proper training, staff will utilize the software effectively.

As CRM expert Jeroen Corthout, CEO and Co-Founder of Salesflare, said on our recent podcast, “We make it super easy to get that information – all of the stuff you need to track on a day-to-day basis into the CRM without you having to do that.”

Refining Processes

The implementation of new software is just the beginning. Set up mechanisms to continuously gather user feedback on their experience. Monitor usage data to identify adoption rates and pain points. Use this information to refine configurations, enhance training, and optimize processes around the software. Schedule after-action reviews to discuss lessons learned after significant milestones. Process improvements should focus on smoothing workflows and enhancing user productivity. With an iterative, user-centric approach, you can ensure the software delivers maximum value over time.

“Trying to juggle hundreds or even thousands of customers in spreadsheets, paper, or notes is just impossible. A CRM centralizes all that information so you and anyone else on your team can get the full picture of a customer with a quick search.”

Michael Bernzweig


CRM software delivers many advantages that can significantly impact a business's bottom line. It enhances customer experiences through improved service and support. It boosts sales with streamlined workflows and data-driven insights. And it increases productivity by eliminating redundant manual processes. As competition intensifies across every industry, leveraging technology will build lasting customer relationships and sustain growth. Any business looking to get organized, enhance operations, and drive profitability should strongly consider implementing a robust CRM solution. With the right platform in place, companies can be confident they have the tools to manage customers effectively and efficiently well into the future.

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