What is CRM?

ServiceMuse 101 - What is CRM?

CRM or Customer Relationship Management has come a long way, but what is CRM and what can it do for you?

Every day your business interacts with its customers. It is important for these customers to feel invested in your company, and not just financially, as keeping those customers happy is key to gaining repeat business and recommendations. On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.

Customer Relationship Management or CRM is one way that companies can make a difference. It enables all the data on each customer and their interactions with your company to be collected. But these days, CRM has gone beyond merely customer contact management.

A CRM system will consolidate all the information gathered about a customer into a database. Then you can track all your interactions with each customer, whether this is by phone, email, or live meetings. You will know what they have inquired about and what information they have been given, their personal interests, buying preferences and concerns.

All this information will help you to understand your customer better and can then make it easier for you to target your marketing and cross-sell and upsell. CRM systems can often include marketing automation capability. When certain information about a customer is entered into the CRM database, appropriate marketing materials will be sent to them.

By analysing the data, you can also track trends, forecast and even anticipate issues that might arise.

A good CRM system will also help you to manage relationships with other business partners, including suppliers, service users and even colleagues.

What is CRM? – at a glance

CRM is a system that enables you to manage both individual and group customer relationships. It typically achieves this through:

  • Giving you a central contact management database that allows anyone in your organisation to store, access and update customer and prospect information. This data can then be filtered and lists created for sales and marketing purposes or reporting.
  • Helping sales identify opportunities, build pipeline and report on different stages of the sales cycle. Most systems will enable access via mobile devices for instant access to customer information on the go. Many systems will also enable you to report on productivity and sales team performance.
  • Enabling you to define workflow processes for how your customer information is handled, interacted with and reported.

Is CRM technology for you?
Taking an industry vendor average indicates that CRM systems can improve customer retention by as much as a third and that revenue per sales head can increase by 40 plus percent with gained efficiency.

A common thought is that “we are too small for CRM” or “we don’t have enough customers for CRM”, but this situation can very quickly change and you end up with a situation where it is potentially hard to manage customer relationships and interactions. CRM tools are now widely available via SaaS (Software as a Service) so that smaller enterprises can take advantage of the technology, start small and work up from there.

One thing is certain – it is easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to find a new one, and this is where CRM benefits can really come into play.