The numbers tell the tale
There are many reasons why a CRM system is useful. It enables different employees to update details in the same system simultaneously, anywhere & anytime, providing continuous access to real-time data. That, in turn, results in up-to-date statistics which make it possible for an organization to change course appropriately.
The first step is to get a good idea of what it is you want to measure. A CRM system allows you to go in many directions, but which direction is the most valuable for your organization? Targets and KPIs such as doubling the number of leads or an increase in turnover are conceivable goals, but their feasibility depends on a number of factors. For example, are they realistic goals given your current team and available resources? Once you've got a good idea of what you'd like to achieve and what is possible, your CRM system is a great tool for testing whether you're on the right track.
Static CRM data
Of course there are some obvious statistics, like the numbers of prospects and hot prospects. The numbers of active clients and dormant clients. The sizes of those organizations, the industries in which they operate, and the positions of the people you're communicating with. The companies' geographical locations. All fairly static data which the CRM system can neatly lay out for you. Statistics which will definitely help you carry out segmentation with respect to things like company size, geography, gender, position, or industry.
Thanks to links with administration systems, like order histories and invoicing, you can get a view of the things those clients are really doing with your company. Which clients are producing the greatest turnover? Are there good and bad payers? When did a particular person last do business with you? How frequently are people doing business with you? And what is the value of that business? By linking these statistics to the efforts that preceded them on your part, you gain the ability to attach a certain value to individual clients. How do the costs (effort) relate to the benefits (sales)?
Links with customer service & technical support
Someone might make a lot of purchases, but don't forget to consider matters like returns and complaints. Suppose someone makes a purchase nine times in one year; that might look very satisfactory. But what if out of those nine times, there were three returns and two other products involved a lot of customer-service contact, or multiple technical-support visits were needed? That changes things. You can learn a lot from statistics: does this say something about the customer, or about the quality of the products or the service provided? If it's the former, the statistics will show an incident impacting just one particular customer. In the latter case, it'll be a recurring pattern among multiple customers. It's up to the organization to draw the correct conclusions.
Online is a given. That's where your customers are, and where they're doing all sorts of things. More and more, CRM is turning into social CRM. In conjunction with marketing automation, CRM provides insight into website visits by prospects and customers, clicks in newsletters, and interaction on social media. Statistics that enable you to develop a better profile of your prospect or customer. Statistics that help you to further target your content, service and communications to that profile. Such statistics can contribute to personalization, and thus to a better customer experience.
Sometimes you want to know how things stand at the moment; other times, you'd like to learn how things have been going for your team in the past month, quarter or year. Like many analytics tools, a CRM system allows you to view and compare any period you're interested in. Ideal for spotting upward trends, breaks and downward spirals, and then responding to them. Thanks to the CRM system's versatility, you can measure as many things as you like. What's possible depends on your CRM setup and the links that are in place with other software. It's good to keep the goal post on the horizon in view, as long as you realize that it's fine to take multiple steps to get there. Just like it took top athletes more than a few days to reach the level they're at.