CRM solutions give invaluable assistance to sales and marketing professionals across a wide variety of industries. CRM platforms like Microsoft Dynamics 365 provide a range of customer-focused businesses the data – and informational organization and insight – they need to remain competitive and grow.

CRM is different from many technological improvements seen in the realms of marketing, customer engagement and relationship building because it’s been an established solution for so long. With its beginnings stretching back to the 1980s, CRM platforms don’t offer the allure or mystery of the brand-new software that promises to solve all of a business’s problems – and rarely does so. However, CRM solutions bring proven benefits and time-tested results to businesses that take advantage of them.

What’s more, CRM isn’t a static system that only offers a small range of known benefits. High-quality developers such as Microsoft make sure their solutions change and grow as supporting hardware and software systems gain more power and users demonstrate a need. Despite all these benefits, businesses encounter major issues when they don’t use CRM in ways that maximizes its potential.

Getting the most out of CRM solutions
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review highlighted a common issue for businesses using CRM platforms:
They don’t take the right approach to utilizing and benefiting from the solutions, and that leads to a lack of recognizable advantages. It’s critical that companies understand the value of CRM in terms of relationship building and don’t simply look at it as a tool to track various dimensions of customer data. While effective storage, management and analysis of that information is one benefit CRM solutions provide, it’s far from the only one. If organizations don’t use all aspects of the platform to realize the possible benefits, their experience will suffer – it’s critical that the concept of relationship building not fall by the wayside.

More than just keeping track of past sales and future opportunities, CRM allows for a number of advantages in terms of whole relationships. The Harvard Business Review advised businesses to look for the most important metrics about the relationships they build with their customers. Some examples that apply to a relatively broad range of industries include frequency of interactions, the value of transactions, customer feedback and its content, and unprompted discussions of your brand on social media. There are many more specific categories that businesses can determine and use as well, depending on the exact nature of their operations.

Focusing on relationship building also allows organizations to understand more about customer interactions and prioritize the ones that are most valuable and have the potential to last the longest. The right use of specific tools and measurements already available through a CRM solution can help businesses determine which relationships bring in the most money. CRM also helps companies decide which relationships are the most positive to be involved with and the amount of effort that should be reasonable to exert in each.

An enduringly popular solution
Even though CRM is by no means a new fad in the business world, sustained adoption speaks to its power. Statistics from a research study commissioned by Deloitte and the American Marketing Association found
CRM spending by businesses roughly doubled as compared to general brand spending between early 2014 and early 2016, according to eMarketer. Additionally, a large number of decision makers believe CRM both boosts sales and creates lasting and positive relationships with customers.