Customer Relationship Management software, or CRM as it is more commonly known, has traditionally been recognized as a sales tool. tells us, “A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system helps manage customer data. It supports sales management, delivers actionable insights, integrates with social media and facilitates team communication. Cloud-based CRM systems offer complete mobility and access to an ecosystem of bespoke apps.”

In recent years, CRM software, like Salesforce, has morphed into a companywide tool integrating with departments such as finance, field service, customer service and aftermarket sales, among others. Let us take a top-level look at the basic features of a CRM and the specific ways this tool can improve your organization.

The most basic advantage to implementing a CRM is better connectivity between your sales staff and management. CRM tools allow sales staff to report customer interactions. These may be in the form of calls, e-mails or meetings. These documented communications are easily viewed by management, allowing them to better connect with the “boots on the ground.”

A core feature when implementing a CRM into your sales department is the ability to track business opportunities. Salespersons can enter an opportunity and fill in fields such as timeline to close, probability, dollar value, primary competitors and next steps (to name a few). This opportunity can then be linked directly to an account and specific customer contact. Other items such as quotes, budgets and supporting documents can be attached to the opportunity.

Perhaps the most underutilized feature in any CRM is the ability to incorporate non-sales functions. Departments such as marketing, technical support, customer service and finance may all have a place in your CRM. Marketing might use the CRM to identify a target audience when launching certain ad campaigns. Technical support and customer service can use it to log conversations with customers or reference historical data. Finance can use opportunity information to forecast projections and track progress toward goals.

Typically, CRM systems have dashboards or home screens that can be customized. For sales staff, this page might display fields such as “year-to-date sales” or “hot opportunities.” For management or finance, you could have a list of opportunities projected to close in a given quarter. Field-service departments could see information on billable versus non-billable time or track upcoming jobs. The dashboard for a technical-support hotline may have a list of unresolved or pending “cases” that need further action.

As you can see, the usefulness of the CRM tool is only limited by your own creativity. In its most basic form, a CRM is a platform that encourages and enables information sharing throughout your organization.

At Ipsen, the primary goal in using our CRM is to provide a world-class experience for our customers. We provide CRM access to over 200 users. This ensures that anyone with customer contact can become educated about a specific account, case or opportunity.

For example, a service technician is scheduled to fix a machine at a customer site, or a new salesperson is asked to stop in and introduce himself or herself. Maybe an executive is working to establish a strategic partnership with a company that has multiple locations. In any of these situations, the individual can access a plethora of account information with a click from any phone, tablet or connected device.

This allows an employee to quickly come up to speed on an account. The ability for someone in an organization to be capable of visiting a customer for the first time and be well informed is really quite powerful. Being knowledgeable about the customer builds trust, rapport and ultimately earns long-term customers. 

About the Author – Matt Clinite is the Midwest sales manager at Ipsen. He has been involved with several focus groups and launch teams for the use of Salesforce at Ipsen. Matt is currently part of a global team working on rolling out new Salesforce features in 2019. He is the regional sales manager over nine states in the Midwestern U.S. Matt is 29 years old and resides in Rockton, Ill., with his wife, Rebecca, and son, Landon.

About Ipsen – Ipsen designs and manufactures industrial vacuum and atmosphere heat-treating systems, supervisory controls systems and predictive-maintenance software platforms for a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, commercial heat treating, energy and medical. With production locations in America, Europe and Asia, along with representation in 34 countries, Ipsen is committed to providing 360-degree support for customers worldwide. Choosing Ipsen means choosing a partner in success. 

About Salesforce - Over 150,000 companies use Salesforce CRM to grow their businesses by strengthening customer relationships. Customer Relationship Management helps companies understand their customers’ needs and solve problems by better managing customer information and interactions — all on a single platform that’s always accessible from any desktop or device.