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CRM Examples and Use Cases
Written by: Victoria Yu
Victoria Yu is a Business Writer with expertise in Business Organization, Marketing, and Sales, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.
Edited by: Sallie Middlebrook
Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.
Updated on October 11, 2023
CRM Examples and Use Cases
If you’ve been hanging around the business world and doing business for more than a little while, one word that might keep cropping up is “CRM,” which stands for customer relationship management. From context, you might be able to determine that CRMs are tools designed to improve your business.
But how exactly does it do that? Your sales process—not to mention your business operations as a whole—are awfully complex, and it’s impossible to imagine that a single tool could augment all of it at once. How do you know the exact actions that any CRM can perform?
It gets worse: if you research CRMs, you might discover that there were over 1,787 CRM vendors in the United States alone in 2023. How will you ever know which one does what?
At this point, you might be ready to wash your hands of this whole CRM mess. But don’t give up yet! To demystify CRM one step at a time, we’re here to provide you with five concrete examples of situations where you might use a CRM, while also explaining how a CRM could help drive business growth in those use cases.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software comprises a variety of different tools to help a business improve its marketing, sales, and customer service activities.
If you’re on the fence about purchasing a CRM or looking to improve your own CRM usage, studying the most popular uses for a CRM can help shed light on new ways to leverage a CRM.
The top five ways businesses can use a CRM are to manage its marketing campaigns, nurture leads, manage its sales funnel, improve customer service, and analyze sales and customer data.
Why Are CRM Use Cases Important?
First off, we’ll provide a precursory explanation so we’re all on the same page: CRM stands for customer relationship management and refers to software system tools that help companies manage customer information and interactions to improve customer satisfaction and drive business. As such, it touches on a variety of functions and customer-facing positions and tasks.
But what’s the point of studying CRM examples and use cases? Why can’t you simply purchase your own CRM and try it out for yourself?
While it’s good to be confident in your abilities to leverage a CRM system, it’s highly unlikely that someone fresh to CRMs will immediately understand all the features and intricacies of the tool and be able to make full use of it from day one.
If you’re new to CRM, reading examples and use cases can help you pinpoint exactly what features a CRM system might contain while helping to identify exactly what sort of benefits purchasing one may give you. In other words, use cases can serve as starting points for your own CRM usage, saving you the time of learning all those uses yourself.
Alternatively, if you already have a CRM in place, reading about CRM examples and use cases might give you some more ideas on how to leverage your CRM further to maximize its potential.
Five CRM Examples and Use Cases
Without further ado, let’s take a look at specific problems a business can use a CRM to solve, and give a suggestion as to which CRM provider might be best for each task.
1. Managing Marketing Campaigns
A small business might start its first marketing campaign by creating an email list, bcc-ing the same message to everyone on the list, and personally reaching out to the only two or three respondents. Not only is this unwieldy, it will become impossible to manage as the number of recipients and respondents increase.
Through marketing automation tools integrated with your email or other marketing channel, a CRM system can help you scale up and manage your marketing campaigns by tracking leads across different communication channels, segmenting your contact lists into different audiences, customizing messages to each segment, and personalizing emails with recipients’ names. This boosts the relevance of each communication, and in turn increases the chances that a potential customer might respond.
Then, when a person does respond to your marketing campaign, their information and the details of their response will automatically be added to their profile in your CRM, helping you build a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s interactions with your company over time.
A popular CRM system for marketing-oriented uses is Zoho CRM.
2. Nurturing Leads
Once your marketing campaign generates an interested lead, how do you nurture that interest, stay in contact with the lead, qualify them, and turn them into a loyal, paying customer?
Rather than using paper-and-pencil scorecards and relying on a fallible sales representative’s memory to complete these actions, a CRM can help sales reps nurture leads by objectively measuring a lead’s qualification score. If the lead exhibits a promising score, the CRM can then execute a designated nurturing campaign (by using templates to send nurturing emails), and can set reminders for reps to follow up on leads in a timely manner.
In other words, a CRM helps businesses perform and manage more lead nurturing actions than they could’ve managed manually, ensuring no leads are lost in the cracks while improving the business’s lead conversion rates. Plus, using a CRM can provide a more consistent lead nurturing experience for customers, boosting your brand reputation.
An example of a CRM focused around lead nurturing is LeadSquared CRM.
3. Managing the Sales Funnel
Your business’s sales funnel is a representation of how many leads are at each stage of the sales process, and how close each of them are to becoming a paying customer. Though sales reps might have an intrinsic sense of which leads are closer to making a purchase than another, it can be hard to qualify this information, track progress for multiple leads at once, communicate this information to other reps, or report it to a sales manager.
A CRM platform provides an intuitive interface from which sales reps can view, edit, and manage multiple leads in the sales funnel, ensuring that all leads are properly accounted for and represented when it comes time for sales managers to make decisions.
Using the CRM’s live data on how many leads are in each stage, how fast sales are moving, and if there are any bottlenecks in the funnel, managers and decision-makers can adjust the company’s sales strategy accordingly to optimize the company’s efforts. Some CRMs also provide insight into each sales reps’ activity, helping managers hold reps accountable for their actions.
Another large issue with sales funnel management is aligning marketing and sales, two intertwined departments often impaired by information silos preventing customer information from passing through. But as we mentioned earlier, CRM systems help close this gap by automatically logging any new leads from marketing campaigns into the CRM platform, ensuring no leads are lost in the process.
An example of a CRM that could help with sales funnel management is Pipedrive CRM.
4. Improving Customer Service
Beyond providing a more consistent and cohesive lead nurturing experience, potential and current customers will also benefit from the improved customer service experience that a CRM provides.
Say, for example, that a customer calls the company with a question or complaint about their order. Without a CRM, customer support agents would be forced to spend an extended amount of time on the phone with the irate customer, asking them detailed questions to try and track down their customer profile, order details, and product information. Even after all that, the support agent might not have the knowledge or authority to help the customer at all, thereby wasting everyone’s time!
In a 2018 Statista survey, customers reported that they were most satisfied with customer service when service reps were knowledgeable, issues were resolved in a single interaction, and they didn’t have to repeat themselves when transferred to a new agent.
With access to a CRM that hosts all of the company’s client data, customer service agents will quickly be able to pull up and read customer profiles and order details, giving all reps the information they need to help any customer with any question or concern they might have. The CRM can also serve as a document warehouse for call scripts and product information, allowing reps to gain more acumen and answer questions quicker. CRM-powered support agents will not only be more capable and knowledgeable about the company, but also about the customers, providing speedy and personalized service.
As an added bonus, some CRMs that integrate with your company website also support AI-powered chat bots, which can help answer common queries from curious visitors. This provides immediate service and frees up your support agents for more high-level questions.
A popular CRM for customer service is Zendesk.
5. Analyzing Sales and Customer Data
Finally, CRMs can help sales managers and decision-makers track and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates, sales velocity, average deal value, and more.
Rather than trying to crunch these numbers manually, a CRM system will calculate and display these KPIs on a live basis based on the information logged into its system. This ensures that leaders have the most up-to-date view of the company’s health and are making decisions using accurate information.
Plus, a CRM can segment customer data into different segments such as demographics, location, acquisition method, lead qualification, products, customer lifetime value, and more, running analyses to unveil hidden purchasing trends.
For example, your CRM might tell you that leads generated through your website tend to spend more than leads generated through your social media accounts. With this information, you could shift your sales strategies to focus more on your website, and improve your sales figures.
An example of a CRM with powerful analytical abilities is Salesforce CRM.
Understanding the benefits a CRM can bring to a company can be confusing. That’s why we’ve highlighted the top five examples and use cases for CRM use, to help you paint the broad strokes of a CRM system’s capabilities and benefits, and show you the individual strengths of each vendor’s platform.
After reading this guide, we hope you’ve gained some clearer insight into when a CRM could be useful for a business, helping you decide whether or not to buy one for your own organization and which vendor might suit you the best.
Some popular vendors of CRM systems include HubSpot CRM, Salesforce CRM, and Zoho CRM. But as we mentioned, there are over a thousand different CRM vendors, so you’re not strapped for choices if these three don’t appeal to you.
However, beyond simply tracking leads through your sales process, CRM platforms can have different features depending on the vendor and any add-ons you pay for. Though we gave an example CRM for each use case, we are in no way unilaterally endorsing these CRMs for all businesses. Instead, we recommend you research other vendors who support those specific functions you want, and ensure that your chosen CRM meets all of your business needs before purchasing.
To reiterate, CRM stands for customer relationship management. This means that it usually only deals with customer-facing employees and tasks, and doesn’t touch upon internal business operations such as accounting, financials, supply chain management, and order fulfillment.
If you’re looking for a software solution that manages all of a company’s data and operations, we’d recommend you look into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which also tend to have CRM modules integrated into them.
Though we’ve gone over the five most important examples and use cases for CRM systems, there are still a wide variety of other tools a CRM platform could use to help your business, such as sales reporting and forecasting, sales territory management, sales employee compensation management, document warehousing, and communication tools.
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