Have you heard about CRMs? Did you know that the best coaches regularly use CRM tools and platforms to make their businesses even better? We’ll catch you up and explain how different types of CRM systems help coaches, big companies, and small businesses alike reach new customers and improve businesses everywhere.
Businesses have realized maintaining long-term relationships with their clients requires keeping customers at the center of it all. Whether a large company or a small, independent business, CRMs are crucial tools to streamline client relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and drive growth.
You may have seen the rise in popularity of successful CRMs and their benefits — maybe you’ve even heard of Practice. But what’s driving this recent rise in popularity of CRM solutions, and why is this important to you?
What does CRM stand for?
CRM stands for customer relationship management; it’s software responsible for managing companies’ relationships with clients throughout the customer lifecycle. CRM tools handle customer service, customer support, e-commerce, marketing, and sales, making it easy for us to focus on our craft. Coaches, small businesses, and large-scale organizations benefit from CRMs to aid customer retention, gain new customers, increase sales automation, and improve business processes and performance.
In the past, companies relied on spreadsheets, databases, and other information logs to collect information. It was easy to muddle or lose data in the workflow as it shuffled between teams. Now, CRM tools are gaining popularity for businesses requiring automated updates for large client lists with complex data. CRMs benefit organizations by keeping all customer data in one place where support teams can access it.
As coaches, we know the importance of keeping client data organized and confidential, so we know CRMs are the perfect tools to manage our practices.
What does CRM software do?
CRM software provides data analysis and visualizations of customer interactions, client information, payments, and leads. It also automatically updates user data in real-time. CRMs make it easy for us to focus on our clients and their progress to achieve their goals rather than scheduling, logistics, tracking metrics, and other administrative tasks. In other words, it lets us focus on the work that matters.
The information CRMs gather helps us strike the right chord with our customers at the right time — based on previous interactions — and provides clients with a holistic, connected experience across different teams and touchpoints.
Why should you use a CRM?
Running a business is difficult and time-consuming, especially as we manage more clients and employees. Even coaches with their own practices face challenges when handling clients and growing their business. CRM solutions quite literally keep all parties on the same page, so miscommunication and mistakes happen less often or not at all.
Think of a CRM as a personal assistant with extensive knowledge of all of our clients, which we can pull up and review at any time. Handy, right? CRM software allows us to take this detailed data and convert potential customers into clients by creating data-driven, customized content like email marketing campaigns and offers for our expanding customer base.
CRM tools schedule and notify us about follow-up calls and meetings, and even create and schedule sending content ahead of time. It’s like having a personal agenda built specifically to increase sales by handling client relationships.
Types of CRMs
There are four different types of CRMs: Analytical, operational, collaborative, and strategic. While they all take different approaches, their end goal of managing client relationships is the same. Each type is made for different kinds of businesses with various contact management and customer experience goals and excels in different areas.
Here’s our breakdown of the different types of CRM software:
- Analytical CRMs take client information and categorize customers by patterns and trends, allowing content and offers to be tailored to specific client categories. An example of this is Zoho Analytics.
- Pros: Analytical CRMs focus on the data gathering process, using data mining to identify sales trends and build buyer personas. This insight into customer behavior allows us to better understand client wants and needs and improve marketing.
- Cons: Analytical CRMs aren’t as effective at providing widespread departmental access to client data, sales, and marketing automation. It’s also not optimized for scoring new leads.
- Operational CRMs provide a big picture view of customer interactions for the entire organization and focus on tools for service automation. Hubspot is a great CRM platform for operational solutions.
- Pros: Operational CRMs do best in the areas of contact management, lead scoring, and sales and marketing team automation. Information collected about the quantity and quality of lead interaction with our businesses is used to sort potential leads into different categories.
- Cons: Operational CRMs provide less specific customer data and provide less customized options to interact with clients.
- Collaborative CRMs allow teams to access a large customer information pool. Customer service department teams usually use these to view issues simultaneously. Copper is a prime example of a collaborative CRM.
- Pros: Collaborative CRMs specialize in keeping detailed logs of customer interactions and allow cross-functional access to documents, communications, and team notes.
- Cons: They don’t do well in the areas of automated marketing and sales, and put less of a focus on scoring leads and tailoring sales.
- Strategic CRMs optimize exact interactions between businesses and clients to increase sales. Oracle CRM uses this type to help businesses increase their profitability.
- Pros: These CRMs prioritize long-lasting client relationships over short campaigns. This client-focused type of software allows us to customize and adjust how we interact with customers over time while also receiving real-time insights.
- Cons: Strategic CRMs are even more specialized than analytical CRMs. The functionality of this type of software likely wouldn’t suit large cross-functional departments or customer service-focused teams.
One of these CRM categories will likely best fit our businesses based on our goals. An analytical CRM may be the most sensible choice for companies with a large customer base with differing needs. But if marketing automation and a broad view of customer interactions are the primary focuses, an operation CRM may be the way to go. Small businesses with a dedicated clientele might find strategic CRMs work best — and these are also great for coaches with small practices.
Even after narrowing down our choices by category, there’s a wealth of options. What should we look for to select the right CRM for our businesses?
How to choose a CRM
The best CRM is the one that fits a business’s needs best. For example, a CRM for small businesses might make better use of exact interactions than automation tools. Take a step back and consider your big picture. As coaches, what do we need to help our practices thrive? What do businesses of any type and size need in a CRM?
Here are 4 things to consider when choosing a CRM:
- Establish your goals and define what you want to accomplish with it. Is your customer base large or small? What sort of customer data would you like to have access to? How many touchpoints does your average customer come into contact with? How would you like to best optimize your team’s workflow? Do you value marketing automation? Would analyzing and categorizing your clients be useful? These are all questions to consider as any business owner or coach decides on a CRM.
- After narrowing the choices to some options that may align with the business’s needs, take the time to test out a few different CRMs systems to compare and contrast the functionality of each. Depending on the individual features each CRM software provides, one option may stand apart from the rest as a clear winner. We might be biased, but Practice’s CRM tools are amazing for coaches looking to address customers’ needs and ensure their clients enjoy services both in and out of sessions.
- Once we’ve decided on a suitable CRM for our businesses, it’s important to research best practices for implementation and then use them. This will involve connecting the CRM to our existing software solutions, and integrating a new CRM with existing apps that our clients are already familiar with will help ease the transition. You might need to ask clients to participate in this process, depending on the type of system you choose. Will they start receiving automated messages from the CRM? Can they schedule their new appointments on the platform’s dashboard? Think about how this will affect your clients.
- After everything is in place, familiarize your team members with the system so they can all use it seamlessly.
Do I need a CRM?
Yes, you probably do need a CRM. The rapid rise in popularity of CRM software shows its effectiveness in helping businesses of all sizes streamline their client experience and increase customer satisfaction. Gone are the days of lost memos and outdated databases as businesses turn to more effective and modern solutions. With the diversity of available CRMs on the market, finding tools to help manage client relationships is now easier than ever before.
Are you ready to dip your toes into the world of CRMs? Try Practice, and let us help you and your business thrive. We’re here to help coaches grow their businesses with our all-in-one platform to save you time so you can focus on guiding your clients.