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What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
Customer relationship management (CRM), as a management concept, includes all aspects of sales, marketing, customer service and all other interactions that a company has with its customers or potential customers. But nowadays, CRM is generally referred to as a computer program software which helps in tracking information such as customer contact details, sales leads, corporate clients, demographic data, company data, sales history, technical support, after-sale service requests and more. CRM systems can also automate many marketing, sales, and support processes, which help companies to provide a consistent experience to customers and prospects, while also lowering the customer acquisition costs.
A CRM solution also helps the organization to remain focused on its relationships with customers, service users, or suppliers. It also helps them in finding new customers, winning their businesses and providing support and additional services throughout the relationship. Both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies are required to use CRM systems to track and manage customer communications through the Web, email, telephone, mobile apps, chat, social media and marketing materials.
CRM Tools for Managers
- Marketing Automation: A CRM tool having marketing automation capabilities can be used to automate repetitive tasks to enhance the marketing efforts of the employees at different points in the business process
- Salesforce automation: Salesforce automation tool of a CRM can track interactions between sales team and customers and automate certain business functions of the sales process which could prove to be more useful in following leads and to attract and obtain new customers.
- Workflow automation: CRM systems also help an organization in optimizing their business processes by streamlining boring and repetitive tasks, enabling employees to focus on more creative and high value-added tasks.
- Lead management: Sale leads can be categorized as cold, warm and hot leads and can be tracked through CRM, enabling sales personnel to feed, track and analyze sales data for leads from one particular place.
- Human resource management: Modern CRM systems help HR managers to track employee contact information, performance matrices and accrued benefits in a company. This enables HR managers to manage the employees in an efficient and effective manner.
- Analytics: Analytics provided within a CRM package may be employed to plan activities for better customer satisfaction rates by analyzing user data and to develop effective marketing campaigns targeted at a particular customer group.
- Artificial Intelligence in CRM: The cutting edge Artificial intelligence technologies are being built into CRM platforms to automate repetitive tasks, identify customer purchase patterns to predict future customer behaviors.
Benefits of Implementation of CRM
- Improved Customer Relationship: A CRM is designed to track the customer leads at the prospect stage and can give better understanding of the individual customer, their behavior, their demands and needs. As a result, sales managers and customer care executives are in a better position to handle an aggrieved customer and to offer him explanations with informed and quality customer care.
- Reduced efforts on data entry: As the CRM is a complete solutions provider, it enables an organization to automate the transfer of a lead from initial enquiry to mailing company brochures and welcome emails to new customers.
- Enhanced Communication: As the CRM becomes a single source for reference for sales team, the occurrence of miss-communication in any process is drastically reduced and the customers receive a uniform level of interaction from any and all sales force.
- Strong Order Book: Since the sales manager is able to access more information with the implementation of CRM, he is in a better position to prioritize big-ticket customer acquisition without putting in much efforts and he can focus on protecting the product/service margins and contribute to bottom line of the company.
- Increased Revenues: A good CRM can offer end to end customer contact interface wherein it can be pre-programmed to cross-sell and up-sell other products/services of the company. As a result, the increased efficiency and effectiveness is reflected in the increased sales volume and better margins adding to the annual revenues of the company.
- Enhanced Collaboration within verticals: Since the CRM is available to all the employees of the company, the persons in marketing and promotions department are better equipped to design marketing campaigns by using the information input by the sales teams of the organization.
Popular Types of CRMs
- On-Premises CRM: In this type of CRM, the company who purchases it is also responsible for control, security, administration and maintenance of the said CRM. The company buys the license to pay in a single or multiple installments and also has to bear the cost of implementation servers and up gradation of this system.
- Cloud-based CRM: In a cloud-based CRM, all the data of the company is stored on an external and remote network which the designated employees can access anytime, anywhere with an internet connection. The company may hire a third-party service provider to oversee the installation and maintenance of this CRM.
- Open source CRM: An Open source CRM system is the one whose source code is available to the general public. It enables the companies to make alterations to their CRM at no cost to the company employing the system.