What is CRM?
The term CRM means different things to different people. In fact, if you ask ten people what is CRM you will probably get ten different answers. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, but its roots date back more than almost two decades to what was then called Customer Interaction Software or CIS. Other than a name change, CRM and its purpose in the business community remains the same. CRM is a business software solution that is used to automate the front office business processes that impact sales execution and customer service. Its purpose is to manage the interaction between your sales and support personal and your customers.
Companies that engage in the evaluation and selection of CRM software are traditionally looking to achieve three business objectives:
1) Data Consolidation – information is streaming into your business every day from the telephone, fax, e-mail and the web. What happens to this information is the problem. The objective of CRM software is to ensure that all of this information is consolidated into a single unified database where it is immediately accessible to those employees that need to it efficiently do their jobs.
2) Improve Sales Execution – this starts with implementing a structured process for lead qualification and the efficient management of the sales cycle from introduction to closure. Proper lead qualification ensures that your most valuable asset, i.e. your sales team, is focused on the most qualified business opportunities. Proper management of the sales cycle using CRM software has helped management keep their eye on the most promising opportunities and has been shown to improve close ratios and generate higher returns.
3) Provide World-Class Customer Service – In today’s world where customer loyalty is only skin deep the difference between winning and retaining customers may have more to do with the quality of service you provide than it does your product. CRM can ensure that all members of the organization have access to customer records and can respond quickly and professionally to customer inquiries.
The challenging economy coupled with a highly competitive market place has encouraged businesses of all sizes to seek a way to get a leg up on their competition. CRM software has proven to be an effective tool for helping companies market, sell and provide service to their customers.