CRM is an acronym, the full meaning is CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT. The term refers to strategies, practices and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer life cycle, with the goal of improving customer service relationships and assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth. Customer relationship management systems gather customer data across various channels which include marketing materials, phone, direct mail, social media and during live chat. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and ultimately improve profitability. Anytime CRM is mentioned, it simply means the CRM system which is a very important tool for companies as it helps sales management, contact management, increases productivity and most importantly –improves business relationships.
Types of CRM technology
Cloud-based – a cloud based CRM data is stored on an external, remote network that employees of the company that access anytime and at anywhere they can find internet connection. Companies with limited technological resources often favors the cloud for its quick and relatively easy deployment. Sometimes, a third party oversees installation and maintenance.
On-premises – this system puts the responsibility of the maintenance of database and information on the company using the CRM software. The company purchases licenses beforehand, instead of the yearly subscriptions from a cloud based CRM. The software is on the company’s servers and any cost of upgrade is the responsibility of the company. It usually involves a long process of installation.
Open source – this type of system makes source code available to the public, giving companies the privilege to make alterations at no cost. It also allow the addition of data links on social media channels, thereby improving the companies social CRM practices.
Various departments in a company benefit from the CRM in their unique and different ways. The tool has always been known to be of immense use to the sales and marketing department, but other areas such as HR, supply-chain and partner management also benefit from CRM.
- The sales team uses the CRM to have a better understanding of their sales pipeline
- Marketing teams uses the CRM to make forecasting simpler and more accurate
- Customer conversations can be tracked across all channels using the CRM
- The HR team can accelerate recruitment process and track employee performance with the aid of the CRM
- Supply-chain and partner management can track meetings and manage partnerships better
The CRM is immensely beneficial to companies and makes collection and tracking of data much more convenient and easy. Access to a wide range of streams of data coming from all departments of a company, translating them into business information that will ultimately improve the productivity and profitability of a company all in one package. Boosted marketing ROI, enhanced contact management, improved sales metrics, increased customer satisfaction are the possibilities you get whilst making use of the CRM. One thing that should be carefully noted about the CRM technology is that, without the proper management, it can become just a data hub. Organization is key in accessing the full benefits of the CRM technology.