This article was originally published in Destination CRM.

In today’s world where everything you need is just a click away, customers value relationships over transactions. If you don’t treat customers as expected, it will be easier than ever for them to leave you to one of your competitors. And in a precarious business climate like this, the last thing anyone needs is to lose customers to something that is completely preventable. To treat your customers the way they would like to be treated, you need to know them inside out. The only way to do this is to use data to create an HD image of them.

Your CRM solution must allow you to collect and use customer data at every point in their journey so that you can offer each of your customers consistent brand experiences from the first touch across the entire customer journey. To do this successfully, you need all of your customer data in one place. With a unified CRM, all of your marketing, sales, delivery, and support applications are on the same data platform, so there is less chance of customer data being lost or corrupted. This will pixelate the client’s HD image and affect your ability to create lasting relationships.

There are tons of reasons why you need a unified CRM to build lasting customer relationships and compete in the digital age. However, here are the five most important ones.

1. Alignment of sales and marketing

With a uniform CRM, sales and marketing can work closer and closer together. From lead disposition to customer interaction, they work together to guide leads through the funnel. They no longer work in silos with their own separate software systems or have to figure out ad hoc data synchronization processes.

Alignment between teams is critical to closing more opportunities and building a business. Automated workflows and real-time analysis as well as other system functions and functions, including lead disposition, bridge the gap between the two teams. These roles also add accountability to each team and force them to work together in new and innovative ways.

As a bonus, storing all data in a central database, which can be easily accessed by everyone, helps promote CRM acceptance among sales employees and create transparency across the company.

2. Accessibility and reliability of the data

By entering data collected from each team into the same system, you eliminate data discrepancies that occur when different contact or other data is entered into two separate systems. Everyone works within the same data structure, increasing data integrity exponentially. As new data enters the system it is updated in real time for everyone to see.

A CRM where everything is on one platform eliminates the need for additional integrations between systems and reduces the likelihood of damage to customer data. It also ensures that everyone who interacts with customers has access to a complete customer profile and history of interactions, whether they’re in marketing, sales, delivery, or support. And that’s great for your customers.

3. Stronger, more personal customer relationships

Unified CRMs store data about every customer and prospect – including demographics, search and purchase behavior, interactions with your brand, purchase history, challenges, and more. With quick and easy access to this data, customer-facing teams can quickly gain insight into who the customer is, what products they own, and how satisfied they are with products or services. This gives customer support teams a chance to speak to customers on a more personal level. Your teams can build close customer relationships and personalize interactions to help customers feel more comfortable and build trust. This sends the message that you are invested in her and her personal success. This in turn drives loyalty, generates brand attorneys, reduces customer churn and increases recurring sales.

4. Better insights and analysis

Unified CRMs constantly collect data on a wide range of measurable metrics – from engagement in marketing campaigns to customer satisfaction and retention. You decide on your key performance indicators (KPIs) and how the reports are used. By tracking and analyzing metrics, organizations can determine which strategies and tactics are producing the desired results and which are not. That way, you can draw attention to the tactic that works and remove the ones that flop.

Additionally, some unified CRMs offer custom reports that provide insight into the metrics you need to see the most. Typically these can be automated and emailed to you, or viewed on a custom dashboard that you configure to suit your needs. Stay up to date, test assumptions and easily share the results with other stakeholders to make data-driven decisions.

5. And perhaps most importantly … increased customer satisfaction

Experts suggested years ago that 2020 would be the year when customer experience overtook price and product as the main differentiator in consumer purchasing decisions. We still believe this is true. To create and deliver exceptional customer experiences, you need a unified CRM. To sum it up: With a unified CRM you provide your teams with accurate data, a deep understanding of the needs of your customers, efficiency and the ability to provide personalized interactions throughout the entire customer journey. A great customer experience increases customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention, and accelerates business growth.

In summary, Unified CRM is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to gain insight into every aspect of your customer relationships, make informed decisions, and create customer experiences that align with your brand vision. You are not buying CRM for a CRM – you have business goals to achieve and a CRM is your means to an end. Choose your resources well.

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