CRM or "Customer Relationship Management" is also referred to as customer relationship management and company-wide strategy designed to reduce costs and increase profitability by strengthening customer loyalty.
Real CRM brings information from all data sources within an organization (and where applicable, from outside the organization) together to display a clear view of each customer in real time. This allows customer oriented sales, customer service and marketing employees to make quick but informed decisions about everything from cross-selling and upselling to targeted marketing strategies and competitive positioning tactics. Read more about CRM here.
The three key elements of CRM
Once considered a kind of software, CRM has become a customer-oriented philosophy that must penetrate an entire organization. There are three key elements for a successful CRM initiative: people, processes and technology. People in a company - from the CEO to every customer service representative - must believe in and support CRM.
The processes of a company must be redesigned to support the CRM initiative, often from the vision: How can this process better serve the customer? Companies need to select the right technology to drive these improved processes, provide the best data to employees, and be easy enough to operate so as not to stop users. If one of these three foundations is not good, the entire CRM structure will crumble.
CRM is not a financial package
This sounds like an open door. And that is it. But today, an online service (via the Internet as SaaS) is increasingly being offered that includes quoting and invoicing. Handy for today's small entrepreneurs, but also confusing. Because while for the customer it is indeed one process of product information, request for quotation, quotation, order and execution and invoicing, that is very different administratively. You record your invoices (incoming and outgoing) for the Tax Authorities, submit your VAT return and your annual return with a profit and loss account for the year and a balance sheet. What do quotations and invoices have in common? You business account. For your image towards your customers and the separation of work and private life.
CRM is more than just a tool
CRM is a strategy used to find out more about the needs and behavior of customers to develop stronger relationships with them. After all, good customer relationships are the core of business success.
CRM has many technological components, but it is a mistake to think about CRM primarily in terms of technology. The most useful way to think about CRM is as a process that will help bring together many pieces of information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends.
Benefits of CRM
If customer relationships are the heart of business success, then CRM is the valve that pumps the lifeblood of a company. CRM is therefore best suited to help companies use people, processes and technology to gain insight into customer behavior and value.
This insight enables improved customer service, increased call center efficiency, added cross-sell and upsell capabilities, improved sales and marketing processes, improved customer profiling and focus, lower costs, and a larger share of the customer and overall profitability.
This sounds like a panacea, but CRM is not without challenges. For CRM to be truly effective, an organization needs to convince its employees that change is good and that CRM benefits them.
The company then needs to analyze its business processes to decide which ones should be redesigned and how it should be implemented. It must then be decided what type of customer information is relevant and how it is used. Finally, a team of carefully selected managers must choose the right technology to automate the processes.