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Jarosław Czyżewski
You'll read it in 12 min
Tags | Marketing
CRM is a system designed for managing customer relationships, encompassing sales, marketing, and customer service. It aids in better data management, business process automation, improving customer service, and data analysis. It enables companies to enhance efficiency and productivity. The CRM system facilitates building lasting customer relationships, personalized service, and making informed decisions based on data. If a company faces challenges in customer service, data management, or plans to expand its operations, implementing a CRM system may be essential.

In this guide, you will learn:

🡵  What is CRM?

🡵  What is CRM used for?

🡵  What are CRM functions?

🡵  What to consider when choosing a CRM system?

🡵  What benefits does the CRM system provide?

🡵  Should my company implement CRM?


What is CRM?

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) refers to strategies and systems for managing customer relationships.
The core of every CRM system is a customer database. CRM software allows for the collection and analysis of this data, leading to a better understanding of buyers' needs and preferences. It also enables the automation of business processes, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency for the company. Thus, CRM can contribute to boosting sales and the development of your business.
To better understand the mindset and strategy that CRM systems enable, consider the elements of their name:
Customer - CRM systems place the customer at the center of attention. To meet their needs and tailor actions accordingly, your team needs accessible knowledge about customers. CRM is a tool for collecting, acquiring, and analyzing this knowledge.
Relationship - CRM solutions are based on the belief that building lasting customer relationships is key to business success. Instead of focusing solely on closing transactions, they allow for the holistic management of the customer experience, turning them into brand advocates who return or recommend. CRM is a tool for maintaining the necessary contact for nurturing relationships.
Management - Regardless of the size of the business, there's a chance customers will interact with various representatives of the company. However, even in small organizations, relying solely on memory and ad-hoc solutions may not suffice. Customer relationships always require a degree of management: task allocation, information flow, procedures. CRM is a tool for organizing work in sales, marketing, and customer service teams.
At Grow, we view CRM not just as a basic database but as a comprehensive tool that accelerates business development, helps define goals, processes, and resources, and harnesses the power of data.
If you need a quick overview of CRM, check out our blog.

What is CRM used for?

You likely associate CRM with a system where salespeople have to input data. This is not entirely incorrect, although a well-chosen CRM system has nothing to do with annoying, mechanical data entry.
The primary function of CRM is to gather all customer data in one system, allowing for more effective management of the sales process, as well as marketing and customer service.
CRM is a source of the history of relationships with potential customers. In its basic function, it can, for example, allow a salesperson to record notes after a conversation or meeting and add information obtained to the contact database. This ensures that the salesperson remembers the topics discussed and can efficiently delegate tasks to other team members.
However, the capabilities of modern CRM systems, such as HubSpot, go beyond this. They include:
  • Business process automation, including Marketing Automation.
  • Personalization in customer interactions.
  • Customer service management.
  • Data analysis and report creation.
  • Better data management, including compliance with data processing consents, ensuring GDPR compliance.
Examples? In CRM, you create records with contact data, easily segment them, and communicate with selected target groups in the most suitable form. You can assign tickets to appropriate customer service employees. Create a report indicating which representative closed the most transactions or which campaign converts the most leads.
If you want to learn more about the differences between a CRM system and a simple database, such as Excel, check out our article "CRM vs. Excel."
Now, let's see what features and tools enable these tasks.


Functions of CRM

There are basic CRM functions that are available in all major systems on the market. There are also functions that are useful for specific departments in a company, which can be found on platforms that combine CRM with marketing automation or customer service. In most systems, access to specific functions depends on the chosen subscription level.


Basic Functions

Contact Management: The fundamental function of CRM involves creating a contact database and managing contact information, including details about customers and potential customers. The database consists of clear records that can include predefined or custom categories. This allows for easy connection, segmentation, and filtering of contacts based on selected categories. It gathers information about both individual recipients and companies.
Lead Management: In addition to managing current customer contacts, CRM also stores information about those who have shown interest in your offerings. In advanced CRM systems, you can track all their interactions with the company, such as website behavior, responses to messages, or Digital Body Language. This enables you to take appropriate next steps and effectively turn knowledge into real business opportunities.
Deal Management: The system also provides information about closed and ongoing transactions. This allows for monitoring the achievement of company goals or the performance of the sales team.
Customer Communication: Appropriate CRM features or integrations allow for contacting customers, such as sending messages or making calls, directly from the system. This ensures that all information about contact is automatically recorded in one system. Through CRM, you can also schedule meetings in the calendar or collect information from forms.
Task Management: CRM allows the creation of tasks and assigning them to team members, as well as transferring tasks between teams. It can also remind about tasks to be done.
Sales and Marketing Automation: Automation of marketing activities, such as email campaigns, automatic sales sequences to assist salespeople, or automatic task assignment within teams, are tools that significantly improve work efficiency. Basic automation tools are available in most CRMs, while more advanced features can be found in platforms that combine CRM with Marketing Automation, such as HubSpot, or through integrations.
Analysis and Reporting: CRM contains a powerful set of data about your customers, potential customers, and transactions. Therefore, most systems also include tools for analyzing this data, allowing you to monitor the effectiveness of actions and quickly generate needed reports. The level of advancement and the ability to create custom reports depend on the specific system.
Integration Capabilities: CRM systems have the ability to integrate with other tools and systems in the company. If you don't want to give them up, you can connect CRM with your email, Marketing Automation tools, or CMS system.

Functions for Sales Department

Of course, all the mentioned CRM features above will be beneficial for the sales department. Here are additional ones that may prove to be useful:
  • Sales Funnel Management: Helps monitor and optimize the process of turning potential customers into actual transactions. For example, you can assign contacts to specific stages of the funnel or indicate actions that will automatically change the status of a potential customer.
  • Sales Forecasting: Allows forecasting future sales results based on historical data.
  • Sales Performance Metrics: Provides tools for measuring and analyzing the performance of the sales team.
  • Sales Support: CRM can store information that supports salespeople in achieving better results, such as knowledge bases or playbooks.

Functions for Marketing Department

CRM is also a powerful lead generation tool that includes features to assist in acquiring potential customers and directing them into the sales process.
  • Email Marketing: CRM allows the creation of message templates, automatic sequences, content personalization, and segmented sending, providing similar tools to standalone email marketing applications.
  • Management of Marketing Campaigns: Assigning actions to specific marketing campaigns helps in planning, implementing, and monitoring their results.
  • Marketing Analytics: CRM provides tools for analyzing the effectiveness of marketing activities and identifying areas for optimization. Having all data in one system makes it easy to identify which actions generated qualitative leads and ultimately closed the deal.
  • Personalization and Segmentation: Personalization features enable the customization of marketing content to individual customer preferences and the segmentation of target groups.
  • Account-Based Marketing: CRM enables the creation of a personalized marketing strategy based on detailed knowledge of an individual customer's profile.
  • SEO: Built-in suggestions in the system help optimize the website, landing pages, or blog to be highly ranked in search engines.
  • Social Media: Publishing from the CRM system allows you to track interactions with posts on all social media channels in one place, making it easier to plan and manage content.

Functions for Customer Service Department

Even after the sales process, the information available in CRM can be useful for your customer service or customer success team.
  • Incident and Case Management: In CRM, you can record and track incidents and manage them to effectively solve customer problems.
  • Self-Service Portals for Customers: Provide customers with access to information and services over the Internet, allowing them to solve problems independently.
  • Knowledge Base: Helps organize and share information that is valuable for customer service.
  • Customer Reviews and Surveys: CRM allows for collecting opinions and feedback from customers to assess satisfaction and identify areas for improvement, such as through surveys and forms whose results can then be analyzed.
Different systems have many specific functions. For example, HubSpot allows you to connect CRM with a website creation and management system (CMS). You may also need functions for invoicing, shipment tracking, or offer configuration. It is important to determine which tools are crucial for achieving your business goals. Also, it's worth noting that the benefits of implementing a CRM system are not limited to departments with direct customer contact, so consider who else in your company can benefit from CRM.

What to Consider When Choosing a CRM System?

While features are important, they are not the only parameter to consider when choosing a CRM system. The comfort of use and system efficiency depend on a series of features that are part of the overall project, on how a given system is designed "by design." What features are we talking about?


Target Audience for CRM

Different CRM solutions are aimed at different types of businesses. Consider the characteristics of your business and which systems align with them.
Some solutions are targeted at large enterprises, assuming that additional personnel will be needed for their implementation and operation. Others may require coding skills for minor enhancements for personalization, requiring collaboration with a programmer.
Many CRMs are primarily focused on the sales department and have limited features in marketing or customer service. While they may seem less expensive and user-friendly, they may not be sufficient for your needs.
Consider whether the CRM will handle B2B or B2C customer interactions.
These are just sample issues worth considering when looking for a solution. If you're unsure how the characteristics of your business impact the choice of specific CRM features, you can seek assistance from advisors or refer to materials available online, such as our articles, which can help tailor CRM to your company's size:

User-Friendly CRM

User comfort is a crucial feature for CRM from the perspective of your employees. Even the best system won't fulfill its function if users don't want to use it and, consequently, don't input data. This is a common reason why a CRM "doesn't work."
Intuitiveness is an elusive feature that can mean different things to different people. However, there are several criteria you can check before deciding whether a particular platform is user-friendly. We have compiled them for you in our blog post about the least annoying CRM.
Mobile application friendliness also significantly contributes to the ease of use.


CRM with Future Potential

Choosing a CRM system is an investment for the coming years. Perhaps your company is small today, but you anticipate growth, right? Your CRM system should grow with you. Therefore, the balance between what you need now and the system's future capabilities is crucial. If it allows easy subscription upgrades, the purchase of additional features, and additional user seats, it indicates scalability and a promising future.
Another important feature is whether the CRM you've chosen is evolving. Regularly introduced new features and updates present an opportunity for you to leverage the latest technologies in your business operations. Without integration with emerging tools, the system may become challenging to use in a few years. In summary, check whether the provider you choose is also evolving its business. Here are some of the latest CRM development trends.

CRM System Support

Even the most intuitive tools need support from time to time, especially during purchase and implementation. You may also need answers to questions related to your CRM in the future. This applies not only to problem situations but also to new needs and related personalization or configuration requirements.
Therefore, it's important not to be left alone with the system. Most providers currently offer CRM services in the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, so ensure that, besides software access, you actually receive "service" such as technical support. In the case of foreign solutions, this service may take the form of collaboration with a licensed partner.



The flexibility of a CRM system depends on its integration capabilities. Moreover, if a particular system does not offer ready-made integrations with tools significant to you, building them can entail significant costs.
The most important integrations to consider include:
  • Email and Calendar Integration: Facilitates CRM integration with email platforms (e.g., Gmail, Outlook) and calendars, making schedule and communication management easier.
  • ERP Integration: Allows connecting the CRM system with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to manage data and business processes cohesively.
  • Marketing Automation Tools Integration: Connects the CRM system with marketing automation tools, eliminating the need to abandon previously used applications.
  • API: Provides open application programming interfaces, enabling CRM integration with other applications and tools.

Is CRM Secure?

One of the fundamental benefits of a CRM system is gaining complete control over protecting the company's stored personal data. Features of many CRMs guarantee:
  • GDPR Compliance: Data processing consent features ensure compliance with GDPR regulations, protecting customer data privacy.
  • Data Security: Software providers ensure that the data entered into the system is stored on secure servers.
  • Adherence to Industry Regulations: Configurability allows considering specific industry regulations, adapting CRM system features to the requirements of a particular industry.
Pay attention to whether the CRM system you're considering is designed with security in mind. You can read about CRM features relevant to data protection, including personal data, in our article on CRM and GDPR.
Refer to our article if you need to have the key criteria for choosing CRM at your fingertips.

What benefits does the CRM system provide?

A CRM system selected according to the above criteria, tailored to business needs, and containing all necessary tools, allows building a competitive advantage in many areas.
Let's examine step by step in which aspects you can achieve benefits.

Better Data Management

Accurate and up-to-date customer information is key to building lasting relationships, effective sales, successful marketing, and excellent customer service. Therefore, focusing on efficient customer data collection and personalization of service is extremely important.
Efficient customer data collection is the first step in the process of improving data management. CRM systems provide tools that allow for the gathering, storage, and analysis of customer information in one central place. This not only facilitates access to data but also helps maintain its highest quality. No more scattered databases, manual transcription, or duplicated records.
crm-02Example of a contact record in HubSpot
Example of a contact record in HubSpot
By leveraging customer data gathered in the CRM system, you can then deliver personalized experiences to your customers, tailor offerings and communication to the individual needs of each. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also increases the chances of loyalty and long-term relationships.
In summary, better data management allows for time savings for employees, consequently reducing costs, and elevates satisfaction levels for both employees and customers. 


Automation of Business Processes

In today's competitive business environment, operational efficiency is extremely important. With a CRM system, you can optimize and streamline many operations that have previously required significant time and effort. Using the right tools, you can automate processes related to customer service, data management, and marketing. Creating automated sales sequences is one example of such action.
Another advantage of a CRM system is that it automatically records a lot of data, such as information about customer interactions, email openings, and form data. This saves salespeople from manually recording all activities, providing a significant edge for CRM over simple tables and databases.
All of this, in turn, translates into time and resource savings that can be allocated to more strategic activities.
Example of an automated sales sequence

Improved Communication and Collaboration Between Teams

CRM also helps increase team productivity by enabling better task, deadline, and information management, which can be automatically conveyed to the relevant members. Through the centralization of data and communication within the team, each employee can be more efficient in their work. Furthermore, the analysis of data provided by CRM can assist in identifying areas requiring improvement and optimizing operations.
However, a key benefit of implementing a CRM system in this area is the improvement of communication between departments, such as enhancing collaboration between marketing and sales. By utilizing a shared customer database, marketers can promptly pass qualified leads to salespeople. It is also much easier to examine the effectiveness of marketing activities from a transaction perspective or tailor customer service to individual needs.

Enhanced Customer Experience

Excellent customer service not only attracts new customers but also encourages existing ones to remain loyal. Improved communication with customers is the first step towards enhancing their experience. By consolidating data in one place, company employees have easy access to information about customers, their needs, and interaction history. This allows for more personalized and effective communication. The customer feels more valued and understood, contributing to the building of stronger relationships.
With a CRM system, a company can monitor every interaction with the customer, from the initial contact through purchases to after-sales service. This enables an understanding of which actions are most effective and identifies areas that need improvement. Analyzing the history of interactions helps tailor customer service strategy to individual needs and preferences.


Data-Driven Decision-Making

Making data-driven decisions is a necessity in business management. The CRM system gathers vast amounts of information about customers, their behaviors, preferences, and interaction history. This allows you to better understand your audience and market trends, providing a competitive advantage and enabling more informed and accurate business decisions.
Analytical and reporting tools in HubSpot
Analytical and reporting tools in HubSpot
The analysis and reporting features allow you to process accumulated data into clear reports and analyses. You can track sales performance, the effectiveness of marketing activities, and customer service. This gives you a complete picture of the situation, allowing you to react promptly. CRM helps identify areas that need improvement and determine the business strategy. You can adjust offerings, plan investments, or optimize processes based on actual data. This leads to more effective company operations and maximizes profits.


Convenience, Time, and Money

Summing up all these benefits, it is worth emphasizing once again that they relate to key areas from the perspective of company development. A well-implemented CRM system enhances work comfort, allowing for significant time savings on data entry and routine tasks that can be automated. Time, as we know, directly translates into costs incurred by the company when employees cannot focus on key tasks.
From the customer's perspective, a company using CRM is able to provide information and solutions that address their real problems, better tailor communication and service, thus improving the purchasing experience. This, of course, also translates into profit when satisfied customers stay with the provider or recommend them to others.
If you need more information on the benefits of implementing a CRM system, check out our article on "How to convince the boss to implement CRM?".


Should My Company Implement CRM?

The implementation of a CRM system is an important business decision that can bring many benefits to a company. However, there is a question of when is the right time to consider CRM implementation. The answer to this question depends on various factors, but there are certain signals and circumstances that indicate the appropriate moment.
The first key factor is complex customer service and data management. If a company notices that customer information is getting lost, it's challenging to track the history of interactions, or efficiently handle customers, it's a signal that CRM can help streamline these processes.
Another factor is company growth. As a company develops, managing customer relationships becomes more complex. CRM can assist in scaling business operations, enabling more efficient handling of a larger number of customers.
Additionally, if a company plans to actively engage in areas such as marketing, process automation, personalized customer service, or data analysis, CRM becomes an essential tool to achieve these goals.
It's worth considering CRM implementation before the company's growth leads to difficulties in managing customer relationships. Our article outlines warning signs that indicate this moment may be approaching. Ineffective data management can result in reputational and financial losses.
It's important to note that CRM systems are successfully utilized not only in large enterprises but also in small and medium-sized businesses.
If you are wondering whether it's the right time to implement CRM in your company or if you want to learn more about CRM systems, feel free to contact us. We are happy to share our knowledge and answer all your questions. Also, check our blog regularly for discussions on critical aspects of CRM selection and usage.
Jarosław Czyżewski
Jarosław Czyżewski