CRM (customer relationship management) includes all aspects of interactions that a company has with its customers, whether it is sales or service-related. While the phrase customer relationship management is most commonly used to describe a business-customer relationship (B2C), CRM is also used to manage business to business (B2B) relationships. Information tracked in a CRM system includes contacts, clients, contract wins and sales leads and more.
The primary goal of CRM systems is to integrate and automate sales, marketing, and customer support. Therefore, these systems typically have a dashboard that gives an overall view of the three functions on a single page for each customer that a company may have. The dashboard may provide client information, past sales, previous marketing efforts, and more, summarizing all of the relationships between the customer and the firm. Operational CRM is made up of 3 main components: sales force automation, marketing automation, and service automation
- es force automation works with all stages in the sales cycle, from initially entering contact information to converting a prospective client into an actual client. For example, in August, 2000, Oracle released a CRM software package, OracleSalesOnline.com, which makes contacts, schedules and performance tracking available online so that a customers information is easily accessible for all employees working at the office or remotely. Sales force automation implements Sales promotion analysis, automates the tracking of a clients account history for repeated sales or future sales and coordinates sales, marketing, call centers, and retail outlets. It prevents duplicate efforts between a salesperson and a customer and also automatically tracks all contacts and follow-ups between both parties.
- Marketing Automation focuses on easing the overall marketing process to make it more effective and efficient. For example, by scoring customer behavior, SalesforcesMarketing Cloud allows a business to adapt marketing campaigns to how engaged customers are with a business. CRM tools with marketing automation capabilities can automate repeated tasks, for example, sending out automated marketing emails at certain times to customers, or posting marketing information on social media. The goal with marketing automation is to turn a sales lead into a full customer. CRM systems today also work on customer engagement through social media
- Service automation is the part of the CRM system that focuses on direct customer service technology. Through service automation, customers are supported through multiple channels such as phone, email, knowledge bases, ticketing portals, FAQs, and more.For example, Microsofts Dynamics CRM Software tracks call times, call resolution and more in order to improve the efficiency of customer service within a business.
- The role of analytical CRM systems is to analyze customer data collected through multiple sources, and present it so that business managers can make more informed decisions. Analytical CRM systems use techniques such as data mining, correlation, and pattern recognition to analyze the customer data. These analytics help improve customer service by finding small problems which can be solved, perhaps, by marketing to different parts of a consumer audience differently. For example, through the analysis of a customer bases buying behavior, a company might see that this customer base has not been buying a lot of products recently. After scanning through this data, the company might think to market to this subset of consumers differently, in order to best communicate how this companys products might benefit this group specifically.
- CRM solutions give organizations business data to help provide services or products that your customers want, offer better customer service, help sales teams to cross-sell and up-sell more effectively, close deals, retain current customers and to better understand exactly who your customers are. Organizations frequently look for ways to personalize online experiences (a process also referred to as mass customization) through tools such as help-desk software, email organizers and different types ofenterprise applications.
The Customer Relationship Management Strategy
Customer relationship management is often thought of as a business strategy that enables businesses to improve in a number of areas. The CRM strategy allows you to to following:
- Understand the customer
- Retain customers through better customer experience
- Attract new customers
- Win new clients and contracts
- Increase profitably
- Decrease customer management costs
Technology Impacts CRM Strategies
Technology and the Internet have changed the way companies approach customer relationship strategies. Advances in technology have changed consumer buying behavior, and today there are many ways for companies to communicate with customers and to collect data about them. With each new advance in technology — especially the proliferation of self-service channels like the Web and smartphones — customer relationships are being managed electronically.
Many aspects of customer relationship management rely heavily on technology; however, the strategies and processes of a good CRM system will collect, manage and link information about the customer with the goal of letting you market and sell services effectively.
The Business Benefits of CRM
The biggest benefit most businesses realize when moving to a CRM system comes directly from having all your business data stored and accessed from a single location. Before CRM systems, customer data was spread out over office productivity suite documents, email systems, mobile phone data and even paper note cards and Rolodex entries. Storing all the data from all departments (e.g., sales, marketing, customer service and HR) in a central location gives management and employees immediate access to the most recent data when they need it. Departments can collaborate with ease, and CRM systems help organization to develop efficient automated processes to improve business processes.