CRM (Customer Relationship Management) stores and analyzes data from past interactions and manages a company’s interaction with potential and current clients. This is a process to have a better understanding on their customer groups, shifting it to customer desires. CRM meets those goals and uses technology to implement that process. CRM software came from the customer contact management software of the 1980’s. It provides a digital version of the rolodexes that are important to salesmen.
It first started out on individual PCs and later it provided services to an entire organization which that’s when people started using the phrase CRM system. Something to keep in mind about the CRM system is that it is less important than data you put into it. You can think of it as a philosophy for recording data on customer interactions, not just a software you purchase.
These pros and cons of the salesforce CRM are good to know before deciding which CRM to work with.
What CRM Software is Used for?
CRM is a process that helps you better understand your customers- their needs, how to meet their needs, and enhance your bottom line. This system can get information about your customers from different sources such as emails, websites, physical stores, call centers, mobile sales, and advertising and marketing efforts. CRM can flow between sales and inventory systems as well and analytical systems that can find patterns. If you are lost and don’t know your customer’s needs and desires or if you’re losing customers, then a CRM system is what you need. With a good CRM strategy, a business can increase revenues by the following:
- Providing better customer service
- Offering your customers services and products that are exactly what they want
- Having good relationships with current customers as well as discovering new ones
- Helping closes sales faster
- Effectively cross selling products
All this, however, doesn’t happen by simply just purchasing the software and installing it. For the software to be truly effective, your organization needs to have a better understanding of their customers, who they are, what they’re looking for, and how to meet those needs. Next, your organization has to look into different ways information about customers comes into a business, and how the data is stored and currently used.
You can interact with your customers in a number of ways such as email campaigns, web sites, call centers, mobile sales force staff, and advertising and marketing efforts. The system puts all these points together. The data flows between sales and inventory systems, and analytical systems that help sort everything out. Analysts can then view the data that was collected to obtain a better view of each customer and point out where services need to improve.
Differences Between CRM, ERP, and Marketing Automation
Before moving forward, we need to clarify the difference between CRM, ERP, and Marketing Automation. Although they have some differences, all three of them consist of storing, analyzing, and using customer data to improve overall business. Below we will talk about the difference between the three software’s.
Converts your leads that have showed interest in buying your products, or have bought before, and hope to make them your contacts who are the ones that will buy from you in the future.
It’s the process of producing and delivering products to the people you sold them to and taking care of the finances of those sales.
Is all about low-cost effective ways to communicate such as contacting potential prospects in the form of email and social media contacts. The main purpose of this is to gather prospects and hand them off to the sales team.
These three tools can work hand in hand starting with the marketing automation process which goes into CRM. The information on CRM should then go into ERP but they always still remain representing a different domain, and the only people that should have access to log into these systems are your IT staff.
Types of CRM
The two main types of CRM are on-premises and cloud or on-demand. On-premises means the customer has control over the CRM software that is installed on a server. Cloud or on-demand follows more of a pay-as-you-go approach. The market for on-demand CRM has increased, more with small and mid-sized businesses because of the terror about the expense and of on-premises CRM implementations.
If your company wants to implement standard CRM processes, like those from Consciat’s CRM, then cloud or on-demand is a good choice because they are able to use rare data structures with barely any support from IT and don’t require complicated integration with systems from the back office. This system can seem simple but that’s not always the case. For example, customization can be a problem and API tools from CRM vendors can’t give the degree of integration that is possible with on-site applications.
It shouldn’t take long to get a hosted CRM system working, but if you have a larger and more complicated rollout it can take a few years. Upgrades on the system can be confusing at times but using a hosted option it can reduce the need for technical support. Some businesses with sensitive customer data may not want to give away control of their information to a third party for security reasons.
CRM systems usually cost between $50-$100 per user a month. The more advanced functioning and better level of support you want for a CRM, the more you will pay. An on-premises CRM package can cost from thousands to millions of dollars depending again on the complexity and how many computers you want to have access to the software.
There are also options of free CRM which are less sophisticated and meet the needs of a small or medium enterprise. Options like EngageBay CRM, SuiteCRM and SugarCRM are included in this category. We would love to tell you which CRM software works the best, but it all depends what capabilities and features you are looking for.
Conclusion of Managing CRM
As we have been talking about, CRM is as much a process as it is a software platform. This is why there are strategies across all departments and not just leaving it for one group to run. The reason for this is because in most businesses individual departments think they have a better understanding of their customer needs more than other areas in the company.
The reality of this is that different departments think differently of their customer expectations none of them having the same views. Business departments are the best to take ownership of the software along with the IT department and CIO. If you have lack of communication between everyone in the customer relationship chain, that can lead to an unfinished picture of the customer and technology being implemented with improper support.
One last thing you should keep in mind when managing your CRM project is to eliminate data silos to succeed. The ones who use the system need access to data that’s beyond what they enter into the system. Integration projects are always difficult, but the end result is well worth it.