What is CRM?

If you search for CRM on Wikipedia, you will see this definition:

Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and potential future customers which tries to analyze data about customers’ history with a company, to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention, and ultimately to drive sales growth.

I find this definition from Wikipedia to be the best definition for CRM as it summarises in one single sentence what CRM does and the purpose of having a CRM. In simple terms, a CRM should bring about customer retention and sales growth. It therefore means that any company, big or small, should be having a CRM.

Yet the thought of a CRM to many business owners, particularly those from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is that CRM is costly and inputing and analysing data can be labour intensive. The good news I have for my readers here is, this may be the case in the past but not now. The four main vendors of CRM systems have been Salesforce.comMicrosoftSAP and Oracle and they have been used by large corporations because the smaller companies would find them costly. In today’s digital world, Social CRM and Cloud-based CRM have emerged enabling startup companies to have access to CRM software for free. Yes, free!

In the past, the benefits of CRM system was its ability to give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and concerns. To achieve this, however, means that certain amount of data entry is required by sales personnel. However,  today, a good CRM should bring about automation instead of additional data entry. According to Margaret Rouse in her article on CRM, CRM systems are designed to compile information on customers across different channels — or points of contact between the customer and the company — which could include the company’s website, emails, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media, automating various workflow processes such as tasks, calendars and alerts, and giving managers the ability to track performance and productivity based on information logged within the system.

So if whether you are starting a company or running a big corporation, be sure that you implement CRM.

 

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