The word CRM is commonly used but what does it mean exactly? It is a way of managing customer interactions and data in one secure place to improve customer relations and business productivity. But it is not only limited to customers. You can use CRMs to manage marketing, sales, customer service, HR, finance, and other business functions as well. CRMs also help with internal collaboration and communicating with external parties like customers, vendors, and partners.
Let us start with a simple example. Helena is at the store with her dad for the weekly grocery shopping. She sees candy at the cashier’s counter when they are paying for their groceries and asks her dad to buy her some. Her dad buys her a candy bar after she promises not to tell her mom. The cashier smiles at the exchange and rings up the candy.
A record of this transaction was created in the cash register, like a record in a CRM. Helena, her dad, and the cashier know about the transaction, but Helena’s mom is unaware. Similarly, some parties have access to a particular record in a CRM and some do not.
Moving on to a slightly more elaborate application of a CRM, let us see Peter’s interactions with Nike. Peter wanted a new pair of sneakers, so he browsed the Nike website. There was a pair that he liked so he added it to the cart, but it was a bit out of his budget. He closed the browser link and decided to buy it after saving up more money. A few days later, he saw an ad for a flat 30% discount on the pair that he wanted to buy. Excited about the deal, he went to the website, and placed an order.
This targeted advertising was a result of the marketing side of the CRM creating a profile for him when he browsed the website. Based on his browsing behavior, Nike knew that he was price conscious. Nike also knew exactly which sneakers he wanted to buy, so they converted him into a customer by offering a personalized discount on those shoes.
Now Nike needs to process the order. The payment processing and receipt generation aspect is the finance part of the CRM. Next, the packaging and shipment from the warehouse involves the operations features.
Peter receives the sneakers in a few days but, unfortunately, they are the wrong size. He contacts Nike Customer Service, who pull up his order information from the CRM. Realizing their mistake, they arrange for an exchange based on the company’s return and exchange policy. This is coordinated through the customer service function of the CRM.
How a CRM can be used by different Business Users in an organization
At every stage, the respective team only saw information relevant to their tasks. The Marketing team only knew his broad demographic details, that he is price conscious and added a pair of sneakers to his cart before abandoning it. They did not know his sensitive information. Similarly, the Operations team did not have access to his credit card number, the Customer Service team did not know that he was price conscious. The conclusion: business users use CRMs to the extent of their tasks and do not have access to any other information.
So, who creates these workflows and manages permissions for the different types of users? This is where a CRM Administrator comes in for setting up, managing, and fully utilizing the CRM. CRM Business Users and Consultants coordinate different aspects of Peter’s interaction with Nike. Discover more about the CRM roles, and then enroll in our Salesforce Bootcamp to pursue a lucrative Admin, Business User, or Consultant career in 12 weeks.
Now you know how a CRM can be used by different business functions to interact with potential customers, convert them, and manage the post-sale process.
CRMs are instrumental for large companies as well, serving as a single source of truth and data repository. Business processes can be mapped out in a CRM, allowing users to track the whole customer journey and ensure that the customer gets an optimal experience at each stage.
The Sales team at Apple is informed by the Marketing department that Disney plans to revamp the equipment for one of its post-production departments. They log this lead, pull up contacts for the Disney account from the CRM, and assign them to different Sales reps. These reps conduct research to narrow down the contacts to the relevant decision-makers and arrange a discovery call with them. Disney needs 10,000 computers and 10,000 licenses for video editing software. The Sales team now qualifies the lead into an opportunity.
This is where the Pricing (CPQ), Finance, and Legal teams will get involved to create a quote for 10,000 iMacs and 10,000 licenses for Final Cut Pro, Apple’s video editing software. The Pricing team checks the Apple terms and conditions for such clients as well as the current agreements with Disney on the CRM. They suggest a smaller discount on the iMacs and a larger discount on the Final Cut Pro yearly subscription. Then they add the iMacs and Final Cut Pro licenses to a cart-like feature to automatically trigger approval requests to the VP Sales, VP Operations, and VP Finance through the CRM.
After getting the approval notifications, the Legal and Finance teams help create a quote with pricing, terms and conditions, the licensing agreement, and yearly payment. They need to create an attractive proposal to edge out a coalition of Adobe, Microsoft, and HP trying to sell Disney Adobe Premier Pro licenses to use on Windows machines. The Apple team adjust the pricing and terms till their deal is more acceptable to Disney.
After the details are finalized, they are added to the CRM and the Legal team creates a sales contract. As soon as the signed contract is updated on the CRM, a sales order gets generated for the Operations team so they can start planning for its fulfillment. Based on the terms of the contract, the Finance team receives the advance payment and updates it in the CRM. This generates a notification to Operations to start manufacturing or sourcing the iMacs. The Software Engineering team starts planning for 10,000 new users of Final Cut Pro.
This way CRMs can be used to automate, streamline, and optimize complex B2B sales as well. All these teams need to be able to leverage the CRM to be productive at their jobs. Two other roles gain prominence in such situations: CPQ Specialists and Business Solutions Analysts.
CPQ Specialists manage products and pricebooks, configure pricing and product rules, and create quote templates and bundles. They enable the Sales, Legal, and Finance to focus on closing deals rather than waste time in preparing quotes from scratch. Business Solutions Analysts, on the other hand, drive the whole fulfillment process, suggesting solutions for problems by analyzing data and collaborating with internal stakeholders.
How a CRM may be used by a large organization to close leads
Now you have a broad idea about what is a CRM and how it is used by different businesses. With 500,000+ CRM jobs posted annually in the US alone, learning about CRMs accelerates your career trajectory towards high-paying jobs. Your starting salary can range from $60,000 to $146,000 depending on the CRM role you choose. Find out more about the different CRM roles available here.
Now let’s go over how you can become proficient at CRMs. Traditional degrees are out of question since they don’t teach you how to use CRMs. Similarly, material available online is disjointed and ill-organized, so you won’t learn practical skills that will help you land a job.
CRMBase has the quickest and most affordable solution: practical, job-oriented CRM training through 4-12 week bootcamps, starting with a Salesforce Admin Bootcamp and a Salesforce Developer Bootcamp. We will soon be introducing similar bootcamps for marketing, sales, and customer service roles. You will also find no-code and coding bootcamps for the most popular CRMs: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Adobe Experience Cloud. As successful bootcamp graduates, not only will you master CRM application in the career of your choice, but also earn 7-8 certifications that boost your profile and get job search support to land high-paying jobs.
Still unsure about CRMs? Go through our short CRMs for Dummies learning path to clarify any confusions.