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What is a CRM? A Beginner’s Guide

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What is CRM?

CRM, or customer relationship management, is a system used by businesses to collect and organize customer data. A CRM helps you improve customer relationships by managing communications between you and your customers and storing that information on one easy-to-use platform.

Do you feel like your customer data is all over the place, and you can’t keep track of everything? If so, you may want to think about investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. But first, what is CRM, and what does it mean in marketing?

Keep reading to learn more about what CRMs are, why they’re important, and more:

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CRM 101: What is a CRM?

A CRM, or customer relationship management platform, is a platform that enables businesses to effectively collect and organize customer data in one centralized location. With it, businesses can maintain better customer relationships, manage sales, increase productivity, and ultimately streamline their sales process.

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Will Gordon Nutshell’s Director of Marketing

“Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a CRM for an SMB is time saved. In business, time is money. Yes, a good CRM will cost money to use. However, the amount of time you can save between data entry, communicating updates to the rest of your team, creating a smoother and quicker sales process and more can save you way more time for what you’re paying for a CRM.”

CRM software enables you to maintain information about your company’s interactions with potential clients and current customers, and stay connected with these customers, delivering tailored marketing information that personalizes the customer experience.

Who is CRM for?

Now that you have the answers to several critical CRM questions, like “What does CRM stand for?,” “What is a CRM?,” and “How can it help?,” it’s time to answer the next burning question: Who should use a CRM?

When looking at CRM software for digital marketing, you may wonder if it’s the right choice for your business.

Generally, two types of companies benefit from using CRM software:

  • Business-to-business (B2B) companies that rely on lead generation and nurturing for sales, as well as have a long sales cycle and need to keep track of customer data for a longer period.
  • Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies that have clients who take longer to consider a purchase and rarely impulse buy — think plumbers, landscapers, and painters.

Departments within B2B and B2C companies that can benefit from CRM software include:

Keep in mind, though — if you operate outside these departments, it doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from using a CRM program. Each company is unique, so it’s crucial to analyze whether a CRM software fits your department’s specific needs.

What does a CRM system do?

Now that you have an answer to “What is a CRM software?” and know the meaning of CRM, you’re probably wondering what CRM marketing software does. CRM software has multiple functions for your business:

1. Collects necessary information about your prospects and customers

First and foremost, a CRM platform is a medium for collecting customers’ first- & third-party data and keeping it organized in one place. You can collect and store information like emails, phone numbers, and social media profiles to help you have a working library of information related to your customers.

We are in the middle of shifting to a “First-Party Data” world of marketing. If you are an SMB who does any online or digital advertising, you will need reliable first-party data moving forward. The best way to get and retain that first-party data is with your CRM.”

Will Gordon

nutshell demo contacts dashboard

With this information, you can categorize and segment your contacts, keeping track of customer and lead actions to better understand how your customer interact with your brand across different channels.

2. Keep customers engaged with your business

A CRM system also helps you stay engaged with prospects. By having customer information on hand and easily accessible, like the content they interact with, you can deliver a more tailored website and marketing experience to your audience.

Instead of generic marketing campaigns created to appeal to all audiences, you can use your CRM to create and launch personalized marketing campaigns that target specific audience segments and their interests.

In that way, it’s similar to an enterprise resource platform (ERP), except that it focuses specifically on customer data.

3. Tracks where leads are in the sales cycle

nutshell demo sales funnel dashboard

Along with collecting and organizing customer data, CRMs allow you to keep track of where leads are within your sales cycle. With this information, you can deliver the right content at the right time to your prospects, increasing your chances of moving them to the next stage of the sales funnel and closer to converting.

Plus, CRMs make it easy for other sales team members to see where a lead is in your sales cycle and jump in to assist them at the opportune moment.

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4. Improves your customer service efforts

This next purpose of CRMs doesn’t just help you — it helps your customers too!

With customer information on hand like who they are, how they interact with your brand, and where in the sales funnel they are, you can deliver quality customer service to people, and do so at the right times.

nutshell demo lead statuses

Instead of connecting with customers well before or after they need assistance, your CRM can help you pinpoint the right moment for you to step in and offer customer service, and even use your customer data to better understand what they need help with. This way, you can provide personalized customer service or even connect them with the best equipped sales representative to help them.

Great customer service goes a long way — it sticks with customers well after they’ve left your site and can make all the difference in who they decide to do business with in the future.

Why does a CRM matter for your business?

With CRM software for digital marketing, you can help your business grow online.

Here are some key CRM benefits that make the software well worth investing in for your business:

  1. Stronger customer relationships
  2. Better organization
  3. Targeted marketing campaigns
  4. Increased competitiveness
  5. More time saved
  6. Better customer service

1. Stronger customer relationships

Your company is fighting with dozens of other businesses for your prospects’ attention. You must personalize your audiences’ experiences to keep them interested in your company. With CRM software for digital marketing, you help build a better relationship with your prospects.

More than 74% of businesses say that using a CRM gave them improved access to customer data. With CRM statistics like that, using a CRM platform is one of the best way to learn valuable information about your audience.

A CRM enables you to keep all the information about your prospects in one place. It allows you to keep track of important information about your leads so that you can engage with them. You know all you need to know about your leads, like what they like, dislike, and say about your company.

When you have all that information in one place, you can provide your audience with a more tailored experience. This experience helps you build a better relationship with your prospects. You send them the information they want, or that’s relevant to their interests.

As a result, they’re more likely to engage with your company and your content.

2. Better organization

CRM software for digital marketing is the key to keeping your sales team organized.

CRMs can help SMBs simplify. If you have multiple tech apps and subscriptions that you’re using each month, choosing the right CRM might help you cut down on how many individual logins and bills that you have — and also save you a little bit of money. Look for a CRM that offers additional items like email marketing, online scheduling software or any other feature your business is currently utilizing to funciton.

Will Gordon

If you have multiple people engaging with one prospect, it’s easy for information to get lost or not get passed on to another team member. Instead of relying on your team to transfer data, you can keep it all in a central hub that anyone can access.

You won’t have to worry about people mixing up information, either.

Human error happens, and it can sometimes affect a sale. So, instead, you can use CRM software to keep your information clear and organized, so your sales team doesn’t miss a beat. CRM marketing software helps you organize the information logically, too.

Software like Nutshell, for example, enables you to track the lifecycle of your leads, from their first interaction to the time they purchase. Having all this valuable information, in a logical sequence, helps you stay organized and understand your prospects’ journeys better.

3. Targeted marketing campaigns

Another CRM benefit that can’t be ignored is targeted marketing campaigns. With better data collection and organization, you’re setting yourself up for better marketing campaigns that are expertly tailored to your most valuable leads.

You have the right customer data on hand (via your trusty CRM platform) to better understand who you’re marketing to, including their interests, values, and even Internet browsing habits! Using those insights, you can create personalized ads, newsletters, social posts, and more, to ensure you’re sending marketing messages to the right people at the right time.

4. Increased competitiveness

You want to stay competitive with your competition.

If you don’t already have CRM marketing software, you’re falling behind. Your competition is already using CRM software to help boost their sales process, and you should use it too.

Using CRM software will help you compete with your competition.

CRM analytics enables you to gather your prospects’ information efficiently and gain valuable insights, like your competition, and remain competitive in reaching your prospects and personalizing their experience. If you have competitors that aren’t using CRM software for digital marketing, you’ll put yourself a step above them by building better relationships with your prospects.

5. More time saved

When you invest in CRM marketing software, you save your company time.

You don’t have to spend hours logging data to make sense of your customers’ journeys. Your team doesn’t have to take the time to update other team members about clients they’re working on together. Instead, all the information gets logged and stored in one place.

You can record all the vital information from each prospect to ensure you have a full picture of their journey. It saves you time from having to manually log and input each detail about the buyer’s journey. You won’t need to waste time trying to find lost information.

This software enables your sales team to pick up where they left off without skipping a beat.

6. Better customer service

Finally, having a CRM for your business gives you the opportunity to put your customer data and increased organization to good use through better customer service efforts. No more customer questions falling through the cracks — your increased organization means staying on top of all customer comments, questions, and concerns.

It also means you can better filter through issues and ensure you’re sending people to the best equipped customer service representative. From there, that employee can use the customer data on hand to deliver a personalized customer service experience that leaves a positive lasting impression on people.

Do I need CRM software?

When determining if you should use CRM software, ask the following questions:

  • Do you need a central place to store and maintain lead and client information?
  • Have an abundance of data for your clients and don’t want to lose track of it?
  • Do your customers interact with multiple people from your company?
  • Need to monitor your sales teams’ productivity and sales structure?
  • Do you want to have a better understanding of your buyer’s journey and sales funnel?

If you answered yes to any of these, your business will benefit from CRM software.

Everything You Need To Know About CRM Strategy

How much does a CRM cost?

The average cost for CRM software is around $50-$100 per user per month.

If you find that your business could benefit from using CRM software, the next thing you want to know is how much it will cost to get the software. You want to see if it’s worth the investment for your business.

Generally, CRM pricing operates on a monthly subscription based on the number of users. So, you need to consider how many people need to access your CRM software, from your sales team to managers.

Typically, businesses will invest $50 to $100 per user per month into CRM software.

Meet Nutshell, your all-in-one CRM solution

If you’re considering investing in a CRM after just reading all about what CRMs are and how they can benefit your business and sales efforts, you’re not alone. There are plenty of big-name CRM systems out there, but we suggest you take a look at Nutshell, an affordable all-in-one CRM system that helps businesses level-up their sales.

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Part of the FX family, Nutshell integrates seamlessly with MarketingCloudFX so you can unlock a powerful marketing technology duo that fuels business growth and helps you effectively nurture leads.

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Whether you still have questions or just need a quick CRM definition, we’ve got you covered with these CRM FAQs:

What is a CRM in simple words?

In a nutshell, CRM software helps businesses make sense of their customer and sales data. CRM systems act as a central hub where all information regarding customer interactions, audience data, and sales insights are stored and organized for easy access.

What’s the purpose of a CRM?

The purpose of a CRM is effectively maintaining customer information in a centralized hub that’s easy to access and navigate. Instead of combing through spreadsheets and files across different channels to find information, CRMs store your data in one location.

What is the main benefit of a CRM?

The main benefit of a CRM is its data collection capabilities. CRMs make it easier for you to collect, organize, and mine that data for valuable audience insights. With these insights you can:

  • Forecast sales
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of your sales funnel
  • Improve your sales process
  • Create hyper-targeted campaigns
  • Personalize your customer service efforts
  • And more!

Is CRM hard to learn?

Learning how to use a CRM system depends on the platform itself. Some CRMs are more complex than others. While complexity can mean a more robust system with more tools, it can also mean a more challenging learning curve.

For example, popular CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce have an extensive library of tools, but they’re notorious for their learning curves and difficult start-ups. Meanwhile, CRMs like Nutshell are made with user experience in mind, and house the key tools businesses need without the frustrating navigation and learning curves. This makes learning the CRM easy.

What is an example of a CRM?

An example of a great CRM is Nutshell, because it prioritizes user experience without sacrificing crucial CRM features like:

  • Sales & email automation
  • Team collaboration
  • Pipeline management
  • Contact management
  • Reporting & analytics
  • Integrations

Whether you’re new to CRM or have some experience, Nutshell makes bettering customer relationships headache-free!

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Invest in CRM marketing software today

So, what is a CRM? It’s the key to helping you build a better relationship with your audience and earning more sales for your business. If you haven’t invested in CRM software yet, you’re missing a prime opportunity to help your business thrive.

By combining the power of Nutshell and MarketingCloudFX, you can:

  • Track the lifecycle of your leads
  • Manage your sales pipeline
  • Track your return on investment (ROI) from marketing
  • Close more deals
  • And more!

Give us a call today at 888-601-5359 or contact us online to speak with a strategist about our marketing software!

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