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CRM and Sales

What is CRM software? A comprehensive guide

Rachel Hakoune 13 min read
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Businesses often make the mistake of investing their efforts in attracting new customers. They spend less time nurturing their customers’ continued interest or providing an exceptional experience once they make that first sale. As an alternative to letting the initial spark fizzle out, positive customer relationship management (CRM) drives repeat sales, keeps the money flooding in, and leads to long-term business success.

But what is CRM exactly? This comprehensive guide digs deep into the topic and discusses how to organize your customer relationship management strategies using CRM software. You’ll learn how to choose and implement the right platform, and how monday CRM’s features will streamline your processes.

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What is CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management or CRM software. This technology manages all the information you have about your current and potential customers. Housing this data in a central location enables sales professionals and other internal teams to easily track all customer interactions and continuously nurture their interest in your brand.

7 benefits of CRM software

Smaller organizations may be tempted to rely on spreadsheets or paper records to handle customer data. But organizations of all sizes stand to benefit from using CRM software. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Improved organization and efficiency: Teams can access information quickly from a single location, resulting in lightning-fast response times and better customer communication. With the right CRM, managers can easily access meeting details and support records without the slog of tracking down multiple stakeholders.
  • Greater anticipation of customer needs: Behavioral data gives you a feel for the type of product or service that meets their needs, what may trigger them to buy, and how they reacted to previous promotions. This 360-degree view allows you to deliver personalized and timely communication based on what appeals to them. The result is increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Higher customer loyalty: Your CRM platform can flag when time has elapsed since your last contact, reminding you not to neglect loyal customers. It can also prompt you about appointments or promised follow-up communications to ensure you stay top of mind with loyal customers.
  • Better data management: CRM software allows for more accurate and detailed customer data tracking, such as demographics, preferences, and purchase history. Marketers may use this intel to refine their strategies and improve targeting efforts.
  • Streamlined sales processes: A robust CRM system automates routine tasks, freeing up sales teams to focus on building customer relationships.
  • Boosted collaboration: Employees from different departments can access customer data, reducing the need for client-facing teams to ask for repeat information from customers or even internal teams.
  • Enhanced segmentation: A CRM allows you to divide your customers into groups to target them effectively. Whether that’s according to their demographic or position in the sales funnel, being clear about the audience you’re trying to reach improves your chance of conversion.
keep your sales funnel organized with monday sales crm

How does a CRM system work?

Although the inner mechanisms of customer relationship management systems may differ from model to model, the core processes remain the same:

  • CRMs collect data from various sources, such as customer sign-ups, website visits, social media interactions, and purchase history.
  • CRMs store this data in a central database for relevant teams to access it.
  • CRMs automatically analyze the gathered data to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences.
  • CRMs automate routine tasks like emails, follow-ups, and lead scoring, allowing teams time to focus on other important tasks.
  • CRMs provide data visualization tools to help you easily track sales performance, analyze trends, and make informed decisions about your pipeline and upcoming sales outreach.

How to choose a CRM platform

There are hundreds of CRM systems available in the market, so whittling down the sea of options to a shortlist requires a logical process, as outlined below:

1. Figure out your CRM software goals

Consider the specific problems you want your CRM to solve, such as increasing sales, streamlining operations, or improving customer services. Your goals might be shaped by the disappointment in your current or previous CRM system.

2. Decide the CRM features you need

Based on your goals, pinpoint the specific features you need, such as:

  • Contact management: Store, organize, and update customer data in your CRM database.
  • Lead and pipeline management: Understand when your leads are ready for sales contact and identify any roadblocks in your overall sales pipeline.
  • Workflow automations: Eliminate repetitive tasks by creating seamless work sequences that increase productivity, shorten sales cycles, and bring in higher revenues.
  • Data analytics and reporting: Gain real-time insights into your sales efforts from reporting dashboards.

3. Determine your budget

CRM software is an investment determined by your finances. Software vendors price CRMs in a variety of ways, such as annual subscription fees, monthly user costs, or custom pricing based on the specific modules you require. Understand which pricing model you’re best suited to, and obtain financial buy-in from key stakeholders before you go shopping.

4. Research vendors

Software communities are a valuable way to learn how other customers have experienced a particular CRM. G2 offers user reviews for 680+ CRM platforms, which is a great starting point for your vendor research. For example, monday CRM receives a high score of 4.6 out of 5. Digging deeper, our platform also receives the following scores (out of 10).

  • 9.0 for Ease of Use
  • 8.5 for Ease of Setup
  • 8.9 for Ease of Admin
  • 8.7 for Quality of Support

From here, ask specific vendor questions, and request case studies or customer success stories that give you a flavor of how companies like yours have enjoyed the platform. Remember to choose CRM software capable of growing with your needs, both in terms of potential headcount increases and expected sales activities.

5. Take trials

Many CRM providers offer free trials before you commit to a pricing plan. Some vendors only provide a limited range of features during the trial, but monday CRM gives you full access for 14 days, with no credit card required to sign up.

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How to implement your CRM software

As a core resource, it’s important to plan your CRM implementation process to precision. Every organization must take a customized approach based on their goals and requirements; however, the following steps are a solid starting point:

1. Take stock of your technology

Begin by assessing your existing tech stack, which may include a legacy CRM platform or a mish-mash of spreadsheets, email folders, paper printouts, and more. Work out what data you need to transfer from these areas, and any systems you wish to integrate with your new CRM, such as communication software, marketing tools, etc.

2. Liaise with your software vendor

Depending on the vendor and the pricing model, you may have access to implementation support or a customer success manager. This can be valuable in following a tried-and-tested process to getting your new CRM up and running.

3. Train people effectively

When investing in a CRM software solution, it’s crucial to train people to use it effectively on their initial queries and long-term tasks. Training at a functional and cross-functional level helps optimize the system and also lays the groundwork for future collaboration between departments, such as sales and customer support.

There’s no steep learning curve associated with monday CRM. Using our no-code, drag-and-drop functionality, set up is easy, and you can create the best interface for your customer relationship management in a matter of minutes. monday CRM also offers valuable training resources, including daily live webinars, a self-serve knowledge base, and 24/7 customer support for all users.

4. Embed your CRM into your processes

A CRM is a tool that needs people and processes to make it effective. If only half your sales reps use your CRM software to record leads, or your marketing team doesn’t leverage customer purchasing history to plan campaigns, you won’t get the return on investment you were hoping for.

Get around this by building processes and procedures that support and simplify how you use your CRM. Share this guidance with your teams to ensure everyone knows exactly where it fits into their daily routines. (Hint: It should be a central focus!)

5. Use automation to boost efficiency and engagement

A key perk of an effective CRM is removing the heavy lifting associated with repetitive manual tasks. CRM automation is important as it reduces the likelihood of errors entering the system. Plus, it frees up employees to concentrate on more value-adding tasks.

You might set up automations such as:

  • Activity logging: Tracking all customer interactions, such as emails, calls, and meetings, directly into the relevant CRM record.
  • Email campaigns: Sending personalized email campaigns based on customer actions, like signing up for a newsletter or leaving items in a shopping cart.
  • Sales follow-ups: Reminding sales reps to follow up with prospects at scheduled intervals.

6. Pilot your CRM software in stages

Roll out your CRM in stages, perhaps using a small group within your sales team or opting for a branch-by-branch approach. Testing your CRM software in a controlled environment allows you to iron out any kinks before you commit to a full-scale implementation.

7. Gather feedback

The final step in your implementation is to monitor your CRM’s effectiveness. Run regular surveys, hold focus groups, and speak to your team members individually to learn how they find the platform. Highlight any trending issues with your vendor, and work to continuously optimize your CRM to become an essential aid for your customer-facing activities.

Introducing monday CRM: A value-packed CRM software

monday CRM is a robust platform that manages your entire sales and marketing activities from end to end. By keeping all the details that matter in one central location, all stakeholders stay in the loop to ensure no sales opportunity slips through the cracks. The following features of our CRM software will take your sales and customer relations to the next level.

Customizable dashboard

Create the perfect view of all your customer information at a glance by combining your choice of 27+ views like Gantt, Kanban, and Timeline, with 25+ widgets like Overview, Team Goals and KPIs. You can access real-time deal updates, view funnel charts to understand your pipeline conversion rates or pull in leaderboard data to compare sales rep performance within each deal stage.

Instantly report your deal progress, sales figures, and team performance via the custom dashboards in monday sales CRM.

Email management

monday CRM provides numerous ways to enhance your email communications pre and post-sales. We offer:

  • Customizable email templates to share with your team members
  • Built-in AI email generator to write and edit new messages, or craft intelligent responses to incoming mail in seconds
  • Mass email feature with custom columns to enable personalization at scale
  • Email tracking with built-in rules to notify you when a lead receives, opens, or  replies to a message
  • Two-way integration with Outlook and Gmail, allowing you to send and receive emails from one place
  • Shared email inbox to keep activities distributed across a team or company level as required
  • HTML-supported customizable email signatures to finish your message with a flourish
easy email automations for affiliate partners in monday sales CRM

Activity management

Log and track any activities related to emails, calls, meetings, notes, and more to view everything in a single cohesive timeline. This feature also gives you an insight into your team’s capacity and helps them track their performance to plan ahead.

Performance tracking

View real-time reports of your deal progress, sales figures, and team performance. You can also forecast sales probabilities, and compare forecast vs. actual sales.

visual interface and drag and drop features in monday sales crm

Data organization

Streamline your customer data by importing leads, contacts, and accounts from spreadsheets or an API, but never worry about the inconvenience of duplicate data. Simply set up monday CRM to notify you if an account already exists and merge any contact or lead data as required.

No-code automation

Our powerful no-code building blocks make it a cinch to create automations that’ll save valuable time and close more deals for your team members. You might set up a notification that auto-assigns leads to specific sales reps or creates reminders for upcoming activities or events.

automate your closed deals with monday sales crm

Powerful integrations

Extend the functionality of monday CRM by integrating with 72+ tools you already know and love. For example, you may choose to sync your CRM software with platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot, MailChimp, or Twilio to streamline your sales cycles.

integrate your sales management with your other software with monday sales crm

monday CRM is quick to set up, and fantastic for cross-team collaboration. But there’s no need to take our word for it; we have a heap of examples of how our CRM software has achieved fantastic results for sales teams worldwide.

For example, HR and payroll solution provider Black Mountain was disappointed by its previous CRM, which felt clunky, disjointed, and prone to collecting unnecessary data. By switching to monday CRM, the company has:

  • Increased conversions by 15%
  • Saved 100+ manual actions
  • Saved 10+ hours per month in sales admin

Global Client Solutions Manager Luca Pope highlights why monday CRM has been a hit for Black Mountain:

“What grabbed our attention was the design and how simple it was to use. What really sold us, though, was the customer service.”

Ready to achieve similar results for your organization? Take a free trial of monday CRM today.

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What does CRM software stand for?
CRM software refers to customer relationship management software. The acronym is well-understood among sales, marketing, and customer support teams, who use the software as a central base for their customer-facing activities.

monday CRM, Salesforce Sales Cloud, and HubSpot Sales Hub are all examples of CRM software. Out of these, monday CRM is rated the highest with the G2 community.

Some CRMs have a steep learning curve to obtain the most value from the platforms. Others like monday CRM are intuitive and easy to navigate. Always take a free trial of a particular CRM software to understand how quickly it could slip into your existing operations.

Rachel Hakoune is a Content Marketing Manager at Originally from Atlanta, she is finding the balance between southern charm and Israeli chutzpah.
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