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What is CRM, and how or why should I use it?

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  • What is CRM, and how or why should I use it?

    Hey everyone, I've been hearing a lot about CRM lately, but I'm still not entirely sure what it is or why I should use it. When I try googling this topic, I mostly find lots of long reads on different blogs about it, but they only confuse me even more. Can anyone share their experience with CRMs and explain the matter a bit?

  • #2
    Hi, I will try to keep it short

    CRM tries to mirror the business processes in companies as well to the client side as to the providing companies (which deliver services or goods).
    It is common in - I would say - all CRM`s, that there are a few default sections of the processes, as there are:

    Contacts: The first entity, where any contact will be stored, as far it is not yet an active business contact
    Accounts: These are companies providing you with services and goods.
    Leads: If a contact gets interested in your business, you may switch it from contact to lead, what more or less is a chance to catch an interest, i.e. will lead to something. Here you would have to work to convince this interest to buy something.
    Opportunities: If a lead for example asks you for a quote, it becomes an opportunity. Good chance to sell something.

    In case of success an opportunity transforms to a sales order, which means, you will sell something indeed.

    This explains in a very rough form, what CRM is. In the best case you will execute all your communication up to quotes and invoices inside the CRM. The data you input can be used in any stages and entities of the CRM.
    A good pampered CRM will make you work faster, more error free and more efficient.

    Furthermore a good CRM provides an Email client, all other communication channels, documents and templates. To make it short: It provides all, what espoCRM is offering, the most part even for free.

    Disclaimer: I am not any person from the espoCRM staff. I recommend espoCRM, because it is the best CRM, which you can get, without getting poor, before you ever will need a CRM.


    • #3
      Thanks for the explanation. So, it's like a database for keeping track of customer information and sales details?


      • #4
        That and beyond. Important is not only to kbow, what a CRM does but alos how it does it. As mentioned, the communication, handling of users and so on makes a CRM stand out or not.
        For example, there are many functions and processes possible in espoCRM, for which you will not have to pay. Other CRMs handle many things by plugins or extensions, that are sold for extra cost.


        • #5
          Don't worry about wordings of the CRM.

          Just think of as a Business/Data collection software, how you want to collect information or use it, it is up to you. For example, shalmaxb use it for Artworks and Artist.

          Some people use it for other more mainstream things like Sales and Products

          I use it for a mix of function as we need but the core is "People and related thing"


          • #6
            Now, I understand. CRM is not just about storing data; it's more about how efficiently you can manage this data and other processes related to your business. And the best part is that it can be tailored to meet your specific needs.


            • #7
              CRM can be seen as a versatile business tool which can actually adapt and be used both for a traditional type of sales business or any other type of business with rather specific processes and workflows.

              P.S. We've also created a long read about CRM where we tried to break down this topic in detail, maybe it can provide some additional clarity on CRM for you.​


              • #8
                The ability to customize CRMs to your needs is definitely the best part. When everything is adapted to your processes, it definitely makes your life easier. But from my own experience, I can tell that open-source systems are more flexible when it comes to customization.


                • #9
                  The capability to tweak and personalize the system through source code access, alongside the benefit of low to no cost, makes these CRMs highly desirable for small businesses and startups.

                  List of CRM systems:
                  Name of CRM License Date of First Release
                  EspoCRM AGPL-3.0 2014
                  SuiteCRM (fork of SugarCRM) AGPL-3.0 2013
                  Odoo (formerly OpenERP) LGPLv3 2005
                  OroCRM OSL-3.0 2014
                  YetiForce YetiForce Non-commercial License 2015
                  CiviCRM AGPL-3.0 2004
                  Vtiger Sugar Public License Version 1.1.2 2004
                  Last edited by tracy_jordans; 03-28-2024, 03:17 PM.


                  • #10
                    The real truths about popular SaaS/Cloud CRMs you can find there:

                    Last edited by tracy_jordans; 03-28-2024, 03:25 PM.


                    • #11
                      I did not expect somethin so desastrous as these judgements. And I can give 5 Stars without doubt to espoCRM.
                      I already worked with some of the OpenSource and only with espoCRM I had the best experiences, not only for my own projects, but also for other`s projcets.


                      • yuri
                        yuri commented
                        Editing a comment
                        We can't judge about a product only by 1-star reviews. It would be a huge selection bias. When the product is very expensive ("big enterprise"), people tend to be more often frustrated if something went not as they wanted. Or maybe not all of those reviews are real?

                      • yuri
                        yuri commented
                        Editing a comment
                        > And I can give 5 Stars without doubt to espoCRM.

                        Thanks Also thanks for your essential contribution to the community.

                      • murugappan
                        murugappan commented
                        Editing a comment
                        We did a full evaluation of nearly all the CRM software listed above, We did that as part of due-diligence exercise.. We found that every one of them have their merits and should be awarded at least a 4-star rating based on how they fit the business needs. Generally all of them do fit the needs of a generalized Customer Relationship Management. Naturally, jewels like Sales is not in this league as they are expensive (perhaps overloaded) and meant for large scale enterprises such as Banks,Manufacturing etc.

                        Based on our needs, as Medical Insurance Claim processing company, we found that Espocrm deserves a 6-star rating for the following reasons:

                        (1) Ease of installing
                        (2) Comprehensive documentation and support
                        (3) Extensive functionality and flexibility
                        (4) Provide no-code mode and hacking-mode (we stick to no-code mode)
                        (5) Conforms to PHP MVC architecture and strategy (we have extensive expertise in PHP backend, Laravel, Codeigniter, Python and Vuejs))
                        (6) Well suited for SMEs and Service Oriented Businesses
                        (7) Developed by people who know CRM business functions
                        Last edited by murugappan; 03-30-2024, 02:07 AM.

                    • #12
                      Over the past few weeks, I have been researching this topic and found out a lot of interesting stats about CRMs. I thought that these facts might be interesting to you, so here are some of them that really caught my attention:
                      • 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use a CRM;
                      • Within their first five years, 65% of small and medium-sized businesses adopt a CRM;
                      • CRMs can shorten sales cycles by 8-14% by improving data accessibility;
                      • 70% of sales reps believe that CRM software helps them close more deals;
                      • 74% of companies stated that a CRM gives them better access to customer data and it allows them to provide personalized service;
                      • CRM systems increase customer retention rates by 27%;
                      • Approximately 82% of organizations use CRM for sales reporting as the software can improve the accuracy of sales forecasting by 32%;
                      • A CRM can increase company sales by up to 29% and sales productivity by as much as 34%;
                      • A well-implemented CRM system can have a return on investment of $45 per $1 spent;
                      • Teams using CRM have shown 17% more job satisfaction;
                      • According to 55% of sales teams, ease of use is the most crucial CRM feature;
                      • CRM systems can improve communication between sales reps and executives by 56.9%;
                      • CRM systems have the potential to increase revenue by 29%;
                      • Using a CRM system can help increase cross-selling and upselling revenue by 39%;
                      • Average purchase value can improve by 40% with CRM;
                      • The cost of leads decreases by 23% on average with CRM;
                      • 32% of sales reps spend more than one hour each day on manual data entry due to the lack of CRM.

                      As you can see from the figures, CRM is not just a trending tool, it can really have a positive impact on business.


                      • #13
                        I’ve read this discussion and here’s what I’d like to add - your CRM will be as good and effective as the data you store there. CRM software is just a tool. If you fill it with inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated data, you will receive either very poor or completely bad results regardless of the type of solution (open-source or proprietary) and its price.
                        Since I had a really bad experience with poor data previously, I created a list of practical steps I follow to maintain good data hygiene in my CRM. I’d like to share it with you here since I think it may be useful for other people as well.

                        Create data validation rules. I try to make sure that the data entered in my CRM is already of good quality and the new record contains the necessary details. The CRM system allows me to configure required fields (email addresses and phone numbers I consider mandatory for example), select the formats for phone numbers, and set up the required file format for attachments. This prevents the creation of incomplete records.

                        Do regular data checkups. I check my CRM data regularly, at least once every three months, but it depends on the quantity of the new records of course. During checkups, I delete unnecessary documents from my CRM (my business deals with lots of papers) and, of course, check the system for duplicated records and merge or remove them.

                        Automate data entry where possible. I noticed that a lot of mistakes were made during manual data transfers from one platform to another. That’s why we set up lead capture and other integrations to minimize the need to re-enter contact data and calendar events.

                        Assign records to users. From my experience, if the record is unassigned, it is often lost. Assigning specific records to users or teams improves accountability. It allows you to be sure that someone is responsible for keeping that data accurate and up to date. That’s why we automated records assignment using a few simple workflows.