Customer Relationship Management software has been on the market for more than 20 years. These started out as large, complex enterprise tools to help integrate the sales process. Nowadays, CRM tools are available on the cloud, or even on the company server. It also creates a measure of team work and management for better sales and marketing campaigns.

When a company reaches a certain size, or if it has a wide reach, a CRM software becomes necessary to provide data gathering and analysis about the customers. The information does not have to be from outside sources. In fact, the most important information is generated by the customers via the sales force. This is “free” data which can be used to increase sales and marketing ROI.

Here are some ways to boost marketing results with the use of CRM software:

Better understanding of clients. The typical things, which sales personnel need to know about a client include, annual, quarterly and monthly sales; sales cycle length; seasonality; and total volume of sales (for the whole company, including the competition). Most of this could already be seen from the company’s database. Understanding the effect of this information can impact on the timing of sales, as well as getting a leg up on the competition. It allows sales to be at the customer’s doors just when they need something.

Generate referrals. Sales is still a person-to-person task. It may look like a company is working with another company, but it is the personnel going out to meet their counterparts who make it happen. When the client is happy, they would be more than willing to give testimonials, and referrals. A company should be able to keep track of these in their CRM software.

Create focus around existing clients. It is hard to generate new clients, however, it is so easy to lose existing clients. Focusing on existing clients strengthens the relationship between the vendor and the customer. It can also increase sales between the two. This is practically a captured market, and the vendor should go out of his way to keep the customer happy.

Automated Alerts help keep the customer happy. The alerts can include everything from birthday notices, to low client inventory volumes, sales cycle notifications, and others. Sales and marketing people can be sent email alerts for these instances. These are actionable events and the sales people can do their job by following up on their clients.

Integrate with Sales for faster action. This can be done via email marketing, or content marketing campaigns. Information from CRM can be extracted and used by sales or marketing, creating a bigger and better system. This integration should be deliberate and with forethought. This is not just to automate for automation’s sake. Integrating CRM with sales efforts should take into account the personnel’s role when interacting with the customer.

Use mobile devices to keep the team up to date. Most CRMs can integrate with tablets and smartphones. This allows team members to have access to the same information, no matter where they are. A smart manager would also be able to use the mobile nature of business to send his staff to go and do whatever needs to be done. Late deliveries can be averted. If not, at least a sales staff can meet the client and explain the problem.

Use the reports, and act on it. The biggest advantage of CRM is the information on the dashboard. There is no need to generate reports, all the important information can be seen on the dashboard in the form of graphs. For most reports, there is a drill-down for a clearer look at the data. These are instant, and real-time. Up-to-date and relevant reporting can help in the department’s and the company’s decision making.

A CRM is a big investment. A properly working CRM creates procedures which optimize task and resources management. What should be clear is that CRM is not the company, and that it does not solve every problem. However, if done properly, it can have an impact for the company, as well as its clients. CRM software is a tool which can help a company create focus, as well as help them understand their market and clients. There are a lot of things that a company can do. The investment in CRM can be worth it if it is allowed to live up to expectations.