How CRM Software Can Change Your Online Business

When you hear the word CRM, what comes to your mind? Do you see a software that helps you keep customer data or do you see an application that provides actionable insights? If you think of it only as a customer information repository, then you may not be taking much advantage of the capabilities of a CRM system. If you think of it as a way to grow your business, then you are on the right track.

But a CRM application is not just for your sales team only. It can also work for your marketing and customer service units. When you align your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy with other departments’ workflows, you can uncover more information about your customers, thus giving you a holistic view of them. Then you can have a better understanding of them, which can help you gain their trust and continuing business.

That is not all. A CRM solution has other benefits for your business such as the ones we discuss below .

1. It can help you understand your customers

The main purpose of CRM is right there in the name: to build stronger relationships with customers. This is preferable to finding new leads and prospects because they cost 5 times more than to maintain your business relationships with your current clients, according to an infographic by Invesp.

Finding new customers is more costly than keeping existing ones.

When used correctly, a CRM can boost your business with existing customers because it helps you see who is making purchases, who is engaged with your marketing activities, and who you need to watch to make sure they stay with your company.

The insights you gain from a CRM software can also help you personalize your interactions with your buyers one-on-one. It can be something as basic as using their names on emails or it can be something as complex as curating content that is tailored to their needs and interests.

2. It empowers you to appreciate your clients

When you store all of your customer data on your CRM system, you can see with a glance who among your patrons provide you with the most revenue. You can use this information for creating targeted marketing campaigns that can entice this percentage of customers to spend more.

You can do that by reaching out to them individually via a personalized email. This is when you can tell them how much you appreciate their business and give them offers and discounts exclusive only for them. You can also generate special coupons or codes for their use and enter those in your CRM platform to make sure that they are honored upon checkout.

3. It can aid you in making good use of your data

Big data is big. It is not just in size but in impact as well. Since your CRM process requires that you collect information from customers at every turn, it becomes a data mine that you can exploit. You can get insights from this dataset through reports and dashboards. The latter offers you a comprehensive summary while the former can provide you with in-depth information.

Additionally, you can utilize your CRM data to determine the performance of your sales team. Once you have the numbers, you can determine who the top performers are, who are lagging behind, and the areas where you need to work on.

That is not all there is to data, though. Modern CRM solutions are now capable of connecting with third-party software. You can take advantage of this by integrating it with a BI/analytics solution so that you can uncover more insights that can help drive business growth.

4. It automates tasks and boosts efficiency

If you started doing business without advanced software, it can be challenging to make teams use CRM. However, once you show them what such a system can do and ease them into adopting it, then they may embrace it fully in no time.

But what exactly can a CRM software do to make your workforce accept it?

For one, it can automate redundant tasks like data entry. Nobody likes inputting the same information over again into a system. With a CRM armed with automation capabilities, your employees can save time and energy because it enters the necessary information into relevant fields.

Moreover, this application relieves your employees of the task of having to follow-up with customers, leads, and prospects. That is because your CRM solution can trigger follow-up emails when it meets certain conditions (that you can set when you configure it the first time).

5. It lets you take your business wherever there is internet

The beauty of cloud-based applications is the way they offer mobility. This can only mean that you can work on the go, from home, or even in a cafe or another setting. Because of this, you can answer the queries of your staff and step in to resolve issues anytime.

What’s more, your being able to access your CRM technology from anywhere helps you stay in control and make sure that business is running smoothly even when you are not present in the office.

Putting customers first

A customer-first approach can help you put your business operations perspective. That is something a CRM can assist you with because of its rich data regarding your leads and purchasers. With the insights you uncover, you can enhance your engagement and marketing strategies to make them more attractive to your entire audience or to specific segments. Therefore, you can inspire loyalty and retain your best customers.

User stories as a key project management tool

One of the first challenges in software development is gathering clear requirements and keeping them unchanged during the implementation. Requirements documents can be lengthy and too technical.

At Crust, we implemented user stories as part of our project management and business analysis process and we acknowledged that this is a powerful way of defining the required functionalities from a user’s point of view. They reflect what a particular user needs and what value is gained from using ‘plain English’ without technicalities and implementation details.

A typical user story template looks like this:

As a [role], I want to [requirement] so that [benefit].

The role describes who is going to benefit from the feature. We want it to be more specific than “the user” so consequently, the first step in the process is to successfully identify all types of users involved as end consumers. In our case, these are usually, but not limited to, “CRM admins” with administrator privileges and “CRM users” with restricted access.

The requirement part briefly describes what the user wants to accomplish. The story shouldn’t be specified in too much detail and it has to reveal the perspective of the user who will benefit from the function, not the developer who will be coding it. We also try to avoid using technical terminology (e.g. we might write “I want to remember my login details” instead of “I want to store my login credentials into a cookie”.)

The benefit states why the user wants this feature and what value it brings. This part helps product owners to better prioritize the requirement and gives the development team more freedom to find innovative ways of implementation to solve the objective. If the benefit can’t be articulated, it might be a good sign the feature is not necessary.

I recommend checking out INVEST technique to validate if you’re writing efficient user stories:

  • Independent – can the story stand alone by itself?
  • Negotiable – can this story be changed or removed without impact to everything else?
  • Valuable – does this story brings value to the end-user?
  • Estimable – can you estimate the size of the story?
  • Small – is it small enough?
  • Testable – can this story be tested and verified?

From our experience, this approach empowers product discussions along with the product development team and external stakeholders. Writing user stories often saves us time as it helps us to define high-level CRM requirements without necessarily going into too many details too early. It gives us cross-team clarity on what matters most to the user – what do we need to build, for whom exactly, why and what’s the priority.

User stories are easy to define and understand so they became a standard way to summarize the functionality by both technical and non-technical team members. Instead of confusing specifications with complex terminology, we provide our clients with a requirements list that they can understand and with which they can identify. If you want to encourage the participation of non-technical team members, why not give user stories a try?

Cross-Application and Federated Automation with Crust Corredor

5 August 2019
Cork, Ireland

Crust Technology has announced the impending release of Crust Corredor, its new backend technology for cross-application and federated workflow automation.

The original philosophical intent behind Crust was for the platform to be a seamless three way marriage between identity, communication and business logicsays Niall McCarthy, CEO of Crust Technology.While Crust’s flexible and scalable micro-service architecture helps make it the ideal private cloud technological alternative to Salesforce’s centralised public cloud, Corredor delivers on our philosophical intent”.

What is Corredor?

Corredor is a trigger-based automation plugin designed specifically for the Crust platform. Corredor adds more safety, resilience, consistency and flexibility to the existing front-end javascript automation engine that ships with Crust CRM and Crust Compose by default. Extending your key CRM and Service Cloud workflows across your entire Crust deployment and beyond is about to become a reality.

Automations Across Crust CRM and Crust Compose Applications

Corredor will enable customers to build automations and CRM workflows across any Crust Compose-based component or namespace, reducing duplication of effort and maximising synergies between your Crust applications.

Federated Automation Across Instances of the Crust Platform

Via Crust API’s it will be possible to generate automation actions across different instances of the Crust platform, opening up a world of opportunity for efficient third party collaboration. With Corredor, your organisation can share native Crust data anonymously and securely, decouple critical records-based systems gradually and smoothly, or simply deploy multiple free-standing systems with tight data inter-relationships.

System and Messaging Triggers (Coming Soon!)

Corredor will soon extend to all parts of the core Crust platform, delivering automation capabilities for both the Crust System and Crust Messaging services, thereby ensuring the marriage of identity, communication and business logic is complete.

Version Control with Git Integration (Coming Soon!)

To help protect your organisation and deliver clear version control over your automations, HTTP support for Git-based repositories will be included with Corredor. The truly flexible enterprise needs to be able to examine, re-use, evolve and even roll back its business logic easily and safely. Combined with Crust Compose’s unlimited namespace feature, Corredor delivers the complete business logic automation solution.

In line with Crust Technology’s open source policy, all software code for Crust Corredor will be contributed to the Corteza project at https://www.cortezaproject.org where it will be freely available to users on a permanent basis.

Crust Corredor will be released in early September 2019. For Proof-of-Concept trials please contacts Crust at sales@crust.tech.

10 Reasons why Crust CRM is the True Salesforce Alternative

Many CRM applications claim to be an alternative to Salesforce, the cloud-only market leader, but very few can actually justify this claim. Crust CRM has been designed to be superior in many ways to Salesforce whilst delivering a competitive feature set. If you’re looking for a Salesforce alternative, here’s why Crust CRM should be the top of your list. Read more

Crust Technology Announces “Crust Service Cloud”

16 July 2019
Cork, Ireland

Crust, the most advanced open source CRM in the world and the No. 1 private cloud alternative to Salesforce, has announced the upcoming release of Crust Service Cloud.

Crust Service Cloud will deliver the following feature set:

  • Agent console with 360 degree view of any customer
  • Advanced Case Management with integrated omni-channel communications
  • Attachments Management
  • Products Module
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Tracking and Monitoring
  • Knowledge Base
  • Integrated Response Templates
  • Dashboards
  • Escalation Automation
  • Scripts Module
  • Self-service Portal
  • Integration with the Corteza Application Ecosystem
  • Skills module for intelligently and automatically assigning tasks to the most appropriate staff member
  • Complete integration with Crust CRM and Crust Messaging
  • Mobile ready

Read more

Customer Identity and Access Management with Crust

With Crust CRM, customer engagement is secure and seamless. Of course, having an Identity and Access Management specialist investing in your business helps – Crust is part owned by DAASI International, Europe’s leading open source IAM consultancy. Balancing customer security with convenience is an important design goal in Crust which been expertly implemented by DAASI International and the Crust team.

Here are some of the key features for enterprises: Read more

High Trust “Customer Scale” Messaging with Crust

Every business needs an effective and secure messaging system. However, that system should also be able to scale to customer populations, bringing your automated processes, workflows and your team itself into a closer and richer collaboration with your customers than ever before.

Crust Enterprise Messaging is a self-hosted or private cloud enterprise messaging system with a comparable feature set to Slack corporate messaging. It provides a important communication layer for Crust CRM, but exists as a standalone offering too. Read more

The Best Customer Service Experience is Built on Crust

Building a great customer service platform is no easy task. Mapping customer experience and user journeys is complex and ever-changing. Ensuring your technology keeps up requires a platform sufficiently flexible and extensible – but it can’t be a headache to maintain either. Unifying identity, customer records, communications and interactions, marketing requirements, processing queries and complaints and delivering varied customer engagement applications securely requires the right tools at your disposal.

As the world’s most advanced open source CRM and the No. 1 secure private cloud alternative to Salesforce, Crust delivers a unified approach to co-ordinating and simplifying the customer user experience for both your organisation and its customers. Read more

Why choose Crust and Corteza? Because Customer and User Trust are Sacred.

I’ve been asked a good number of times over the last few days why Crust Technology decided to donate all its software intellectual property to the Commons Conservancy Foundation and created Corteza “The Digital Work Platform for Humanity”. Why give away what many tech businesses consider to be the crown jewel in their commercial portfolio?

Read more

7 reasons why Crust CRM is Reshaping the Open Source CRM Landscape

Crust CRM, the open source Salesforce alternative, looks to market leaders such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics when ensuring we build a competitive feature set. We also have an innovative approach of our own, centered on marrying identity, communication and business logic, which underpins our platform architecture and guarantees maximum flexibility and extensibility. Read more