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CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is central to any business. It involves tracking all aspects of customer relationships and using customer data to make informed decisions about the business as a whole. The acronym “CRM” can also be used to stand for the software that a company used to manage this information.

Customer Relationship Management involves four main branches of a company: sales, marketing, support, and feedback.

When managing customer relationships, SaaS companies can track and analyze information such as:

  • Customer demographics
    • For example: Name, company, and position
  • Details of customer sales cycle
    • For example: Which representative the customer spoke to, when they spoke, and what happened in each interaction
  • Lead nurturing information
    • For example: What lead channel the customer came in through, when they signed up for a newsletter, when they reached out to talk about pricing
  • Customer support queries
    • For example: What questions customers asked
  • Customer feedback
    • For example: Suggestions or complaints that customers make regarding product or customer experience

When a company is small, it's easier to manage these facets of customer relationships with ad hoc tools and workflows. There is relatively little incoming information. In a small company, team members can quickly relay this information to one another and make sure that everyone is informed.

But managing this information becomes more of a challenge as a company scales. For this reason, companies will often adopt a CRM system. This system becomes the single source of customer truth for all team members.

As companies grow, they also find that CRM systems help them to:

  • Create reports around customer demographic data and analyze it to determine things like buyer personas
  • Adjust pricing information based on customer conversions
  • Create and edit marketing campaigns based on how well previous ones perform
  • Brainstorm ideas for the product roapmap based on customer feedback
  • Deliver personalized customer service to retain more customers
  • Forecast how the company can scale given current sales

The benefit of having a defined CRM system—with dedicated workflows and data storage software—is that it provides a scalable way to track all customer interactions and transactions. As you have more customer interactions and collect more data, it also becomes easier to mine this information for ways to improve the company.

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Further Reading

  • Sales Prospecting and SDRResources about the Sales Development or Appointment Setting function within sales, discussing the importance of this part of the sales process, techniques and best practices.
  • Sales Pipeline ManagementResources about building and managing a sales pipeline - a concept which helps sales teams track the progress of prospects through stages of the sales process.
    • Sales Agreement TemplatesResources providing templates and guidelines for creating sales agreements.
    • Sales Pipeline StagesResources about typical stages in a sales pipeline and how to use them in sales management - e.g. lead, opportunity, closed won, closed lost.
    • Sales Pipeline ToolsResources about tools that help sales managers and teams manage their sales pipeline, a visualization of their progress with leads that enter the sales process.
    • Sales Dashboards and ReportingResources about building dashboards and reports to visualize and provide information about sales activity.
    • Sales StrategyResources about strategies and best practices for succeeding in prospect-driven B2B sales.

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