CRM is an acronym for customer relationship management and a CRM system is a business application that companies use to efficiently manage customer and prospect information. CRM systems allow users to document everything from basic information such as, contact details, contract terms and renewal dates as well as specific communications with the customer or prospect. Keeping track of this information in a single location gives an enterprise valuable insight that can significantly enhance a relationship.
A CRM system replaces manual documentation processes such as handwritten notes or Excel spreadsheets. With a single application in which to update and interact with, employees in different departments can enter their data without worrying about whether or not they are updating the current version. Additionally, cross departmental synergies can be created by making employees privy to key information.
Small businesses and large enterprises alike can benefit in a variety of ways from customer relationship management systems, including improved customer experiences, sales efforts and operating efficiencies. With a centralized location in which to document customer history, companies gain a holistic view of a customer or prospect. This knowledge enables the delivery of personalized service and drives better customer service. Additionally, CRM systems remove inefficient methods of record keeping that manual processes lack.
An example of how a company may benefit from a CRM system from a sales perspective is as follows:
Imagine a sales representative moves on to another opportunity and you have to get a new representative up to speed on existing accounts. A well-documented CRM system will give the new rep a complete overview of each account. The rep can analyze trends and identify opportunities and actions quickly and easily. Additionally, all past communications with a customer or prospect can be accessed so that the new rep can start creating a knowledgeable plan of action for each account.
From a customer service and marketing perspective, the following examples show how a marketing professional would interact with a CRM system:
With the ability to document sales and marketing activities that have been taken, a CRM system can help marketing professionals effectively nurture a sales lead or provide an existing customer with valuable information that builds loyalty. By seeing which prospects attended a webinar, requested a demo, downloaded a whitepaper or took no action for a given time period, a marketing professional can make valuable offers based on individual actions.