Due to the recent popularity of our new CRM webinar “What is CRM? And 10 Reasons why CEO’s should be demanding it.” I have come to the understanding that many are struggling with a definition of CRM. Today’s blog post will hopefully help with that.
First, let me point out the obvious, CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management. CRM has been around for thousands of years. It may have been termed other things like:
- Sales management
- Customer management
- Relationship marketing
- Customer service management
Trust me, as long as there has been buyers and sellers, there has been CRM.
I believe that CRM is a customer centric business strategy. Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink Corp. & founder of CRMGuru.com, put it this way, “’Customer-centric’ means giving your customers what they want. ‘Business strategy’ means accomplishing the goals of your organization. Accomplish both at the same time, and you’ve got the win-win that CRM is supposed to be about.”
As I think about a customer centric strategy, other terms come to mind like a customer centric philosophy, approach, tactic or plan for doing business. My full definition of CRM can be found here, but ultimately it is about maximizing your business potential with your customers. It’s about keeping your customers happy, since the only way to maximize your business potential is with happy customers.
There are those that believe the CRM is all about software. While there are plenty of CRM software system available:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Sage CRM
- SAP CRM
This list is growing daily! CRM software publishers would like you to believe that CRM is about software. However, in all honesty, software is not required for a solid CRM business strategy. This is coming from me, Luke Russell, who has been a SalesLogix software developer and a SalesLogix support technician since 1998.
But the truth is that CRM is about knowing who your customers are and making them unbelievably happy customers. Saying that CRM is all about software is like saying that accounting is all about software. Sure, software makes performing the action of accounting easier and faster, but accounting software does not do the accounting for you.
However, software can play a role in CRM strategy implementation. CRM software helps businesses to bring together disparate pieces of information about customers, prospects and buying trends so an organization can:
- More effectively sell and market their products and services
- Increase customer “happiness” and; therefore, increase customer loyalty
- Help an organization to remember and keep its promises to a customer
In its most basic form, CRM software helps users in:
- Identifying and targeting their best customers
- Implementing marketing campaigns with clear goals and objectives and generate quality leads
- Optimizing information shared by multiple employees
- Streamlining existing processes
- Allowing the formation of individualized relationships with customers
- Identifying the most profitable customers and providing them the highest level of service
- Knowing their customers, understanding their needs and effectively build relationships between the company, its customer base and distribution partners
There are many ways having a CRM system can help you sell and market your products and services more effectively, increase customer loyalty and drive competitive advantage, no matter how big or small your company is, but it all starts with a customer centric business strategy.