The answer to the question about “What is CRM” can be answered quickly and concisely. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.
Further defining the term and how it supports an individual business takes on a different task. When CRMs started in the 1980’s it was the dawn of personal computing. Organizations and salespeople discovered the ability to store information about their clients in a computer software program. It did not take long to recognize access to client information on the computer enabled them to serve the individual client on a higher level. Better customer service led to higher sales numbers.
Today, the myriad of options contained in CRM software is limitless. With online CRMs it is possible to be connected to customer data anytime and anywhere. The software can be programmed to respond to customer actions on its own without any effort from the sales and marketing department.
People and Relationships
Social media has made it clear to sellers – buyers want to be engaged and become a part of a networking community. Today’s CRM software allows a company to build all of their digital interaction in a single platform to maximize the human element of the customer relationship.
Many companies resisted any type of electronic automation of customer service because it felt LESS personal or they thought digital methods lacked a human element. In reality, digital tools like CRM software enables a company to deepen relationships more effectively to become extremely relevant to the customer who craves more than just a transaction.
As a company grows beyond face-to-face relationships, the ability to remain personally connected to the human customer is greatly enhanced by the CRM. While the digital relationship becomes more sophisticated, the relationship is more than a transaction. Buyer to seller interaction crosses all channels to create a plethora of connections across time and space.
What is Possible with a CRM?
Like we said at the beginning of this article, there is really no limit to the possibilities of driving customer relationships into deeper and more meaningful interaction. Each company must determine how much value they want to get from this powerful tool.
Here are a few things a CRM can do for you. It can:
- 1. Allow you to put customer data in the cloud for retrieval from anywhere, in real time and from any device.
2. Enable effective collaboration between departments and teams while keeping each member informed of the progress toward shared goals.
3. Accurately project cash flow based on real data about customers and customer groups. Manage a tighter budget with fewer expenses because of accurate forecasting.
4. Substantiate numbers needed to establish a business line of credit with bank.
5. Develop a “tree” of customer behaviors to trigger relevant responses from the company.
6. Gather data from social media conversations to give insight to customer needs.
7. Broaden the scope of understanding customer behavior in a holistic way.
8. Free up staff time from searching for solutions and reacting to customer requests and spend the time on simply delighting customers.
Clearly managing contact information is just the beginning of a CRM. You are able to track every step of the sales process and use the data to improve the processes leading to increased revenue. The team is equipped with validated information that allows them to spend time with the right people and close more sales. A CRM is an undeniably critical tool to company growth.