Contributors from members of the Copper team
Back in the 1980s when CRM (customer relationship management) first appeared, a handful of companies began experimenting with (what was then) cutting-edge database technology as a way to store customer records.
For 25 years or so, these customer databases have been the start and the end of CRM technology. Interfaces have become more polished and we're now inundated with add-ons, plug-ins, and complex integrations. Fundamentally, though, today's CRM software is the same as it was 30 years ago.
But the traits that made CRM for marketing and sales teams so valuable back in the '80s and ‘90s are the same traits that limit its usefulness for today’s users. The CRM requirements today are much more helpful for strong customer engagement.
The old requirements of CRM
If we write a requirements doc for traditional CRM, we'd see a list of features that were—at the time—pretty revolutionary.
But customer relationships aren't static. What worked in the 1990s doesn't work now, and companies that still rely on traditional CRM software to satisfy business needs are limiting the growth of their customer relationships as a result.
Digging into our specs, we can see the limitations those features now impose during the business process:
Focus on the transaction, not the relationship
CRM was built to help sellers manage leads, contacts, accounts, and ultimately, deals. It was relentlessly focused on driving transactions—not helping a business nurture their client relationships. (More on how to do that here.)
Focus on management and reporting
The original CRM was envisioned as a way for executives and finance departments to monitor their sales teams (a seriously painful experience for most sales professionals). When incorporating CRM requirements, little thought was given to how the sellers themselves—today's main users of CRM—would use the tool.
Offer sales-exclusive functionality
Today's relationships are influenced by marketing, support, product, design, and even finance teams, but traditional CRM—and all of its design, reporting, and data entry—is focused squarely on traditional sales teams. Sellers use the CRM, while the rest of organization is forced to manage with spreadsheets.
Collect simple data
In the era of the Scotch-swilling salesman, deals could be won with a name and a phone number, and traditional CRMs still reflect that. Today's relationships rely on data from email, meetings, social, events, live chat, email, meetings, phone calls, you name it. In fact, 67% of customer conversations now happen in productivity tools like Google Slides, Sheets, Docs, and Gmail. Traditional CRMs are not designed for the modern relationship-maker.
Rely on manual data entry
Traditional CRM relies on old-school data entry. It wastes time, and just as soon as new data is entered, it becomes outdated. It's little wonder that entering and updating data is the most common complaint leveled against CRM. Simply put, people seldom use CRM.
Today's customers expect stellar experiences that traditional CRM, with its complexity, limited functionality, and 90s design, just can't provide.
In the Relationship Era, there's a new set of requirements for CRM software, to strengthen customer engagement and the business process.
1. Puts productivity first
We spend our entire working day in productivity tools like Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar. Instead of competing with productivity tools—and losing—modern CRM software should seamlessly integrate with them.
We built Copper with a native G Suite integration ever since day one. Instead of hiding customer data in a separate piece of software, crucial information (like contact details, meeting history, and sales notes) is available directly where it's needed, in the Gmail sidebar or alongside the spreadsheet we're working on.
Copper is natively integrated with G Suite so that you can view customer data, schedule meetings, and automate follow-up emails without ever leaving Gmail.
We've also automated dozens of time-consuming manual processes, from email follow-ups to sending new proposals. Instead of being just another customer database that a sales team can use, we've turned CRM into a genuine productivity tool that works where you do.
2. Quick to deploy
How much training did you need to get started with Gmail? How about Google Docs, or Google Calendar? As with G Suite, we believe that enterprise software and CRM should be simple and intuitive to use, deploying in hours instead of weeks.
Most traditional CRMs are complex and unwieldy, even requiring months-long consultation projects to set up and configure. Integrations are a serious headache, needing developers and professional services to connect your new CRM to the dozens of tools that make up a modern business's toolstack.
We designed Copper to be fully functional straight out of the box, with preconfigured reporting and insights to cover dozens of common use cases, for every relationship type. Our mobile app makes it easy to access information and insights when you're on the go, and native integrations with tools like Slack, Dropbox, MailChimp, and RingCentral make connecting Copper to the rest of your toolstack quick and completely painless.
3. Eliminates data entry
Almost half of CRM projects fail, and most of the time, the biggest culprit is data entry. Nobody likes copying and pasting information every day, so, very quickly, traditional CRM falls by the wayside, and the data it contains becomes outdated.
With as little as a name or an email address, Copper can automatically find and update dozens of data fields, and append your records with the latest information.
Copper simply takes care of data entry for you. With as little as a name or an email address as its starting point, Copper will automatically fill in and update customer information with contact details, email history, relevant files, and interactions.
Information from dozens of sources is centralized in a single place, and every time that information changes, your CRM automatically updates along with it.
4. Adapts to your business
Traditional CRMs are built around old school—and outdated—sales processes, with prescriptive workflows and very little flexibility. But today's buyer's journey spans multiple teams and dozens of people, and the perfect sales process varies radically from industry to industry.
By contrast, Copper is used in virtually every industry imaginable, by technology companies, creative agencies, real estate companies, venture and private equity firms, manufacturing, and nonprofit organizations. Each of these industries has its own unique set of relationships:
- Real estate agencies have brokerages, stagers, and agent relationships
- Media & advertising companies rely on designers, content creators, partners and account companies
- Investing & private equity companies manage founders, investments and investment partners
- Nonprofits work with donors, volunteers and candidates
Copper is the first customer relationship management tool that adapts to every relationship type, which is beneficial for business needs. When you need to manage a new relationship or set up a new relationship funnel, you can create one in a few clicks.
Better still, we've stripped out the unnecessary features that make other CRMs clunky and complicated, making it intuitive for everyone—from sellers to finance teams—to use. With the freedom to build custom workflows and multiple pipelines, it's easy to create a perfect, one-of-a-kind workflow to suit your business and your customers.
5. Modern look and feel
Traditional CRMs don't just function like outdated 1990s databases—they look and feel like them, too. As our research revealed, virtually everyone—from product teams to finance departments—uses their company CRM at some point in their day-to-day routine, so why should we settle for a user experience that's bland and uninspiring?
Copper's interface is built with Google's Material Design principles, so every interaction is fast, fluid, and fun.
We fulfilled this part of the CRM requirements checklist, and designed Copper to be bright and bold, with our product and brand built around a vivid color palette that stands out in the sea of corporate blue that's come to dominate business software. Google's own Material Design principles are built into the Copper product, so every experience is shaped by the latest typography, iconography, and UX research.
This removes the traditional CRM learning curve, making it easier to get started with Copper.
Copper: a CRM designed for the end user
Today's customers expect stellar experiences, and old-school CRMs aren’t keeping up with user expectations, or matching the CRM requirements checklist.
Instead of limiting your relationships with a traditional CRM, it's time to find a tool that meets all the new requirements and adapts to your business—something that puts productivity first, is quick to deploy, eliminates data entry, and offers a modern look and feel.
In other words, you need a CRM that works for you. Or as we like to call it, Copper.