What does CRM mean? Customer relationship management defined


In an ever-changing world, what does CRM mean, and how is it defined? We need to separate the digital noise from the good stuff in order to make the sale and provide a customer experience with lasting impact. The question is – how do we achieve this in any sort of meaningful way?

In the experience economy, customer relationship management becomes more and more important as we are constantly exposed to multiple sources of information and marketing via the internet.

Customers choose where to buy based on their interactions with organizations and brands, and their path to buying usually begins by searching on the internet. Marketers and sales professionals cannot afford to be complacent since many buying decisions are made before a customer ever contacts anyone at a company that they plan to purchase from.

What does CRM mean, and how do we use it?

So what is CRM? CRM means “customer relationship management” and refers to how a business or organization interacts with customers, or prospective customers.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to manage a company’s interaction with current and potential customers. It uses data analysis about customers’ history with a company to:

  1. Improve business relationships with customers, specifically
  2. Focus on customer retention
  3. Drive sales growth
  4. Streamline business functions and automated manual processes to free up resources
  5. Automate marketing, workflow, lead management, sales force, and contact center operations
  6. Create better products, better experiences, and better customer service
  7. Access real-time, actionable information across the organization and the supply chain
  8. Strengthen B2B operations and relationships
  9. Train employees to build strong customer relationships built on trust and empathy

Top companies use relational systems that allow them to adapt to the way different customers buy and convert prospects into qualified leads through the sales pipeline.

They do this by considering relationships and how gathered insights weave a narrative before, during, and after a customer has been won. An increasing trend is developing more socially aware experiences based on the customer journey using omnichannel marketing.

Successful businesses will look for innovative ways of engaging the customer through experience architecture. What this ultimately means is that relationship management systems that manage to successfully leverage data insights in real-time to provide an outsize customer experience will win in the digital revolution.

Since customer retention is crucial to brand growth, and competition is increasing within nearly all industries, CRM is more important than ever. Here are a few things CRM can track:

  1. How you treat existing customers
  2. Which products you recommend to them
  3. Which email streams (or SMS streams) you have them in
  4. Which events you invite them to
  5. Which social channels you engage them on

Why is so CRM important to businesses?

CRM has significant value for lead generation, customer retention, and customer experience. Intelligent CRM systems centralize a plethora of customer and prospect data and make it available in real-time.

From contact history, to feedback, to social media activity, CRM can make the information available in real-time to help leverage data and greatly improve sales, marketing, customer service, and digital commerce activities.

Data from deals made with past customers – previous marketing campaigns or purchases for example – can assist marketers and sales professionals in predicting future strategies to qualify more prospects, convert leads, and improve overall customer experience. The use of automation within the system creates a better experience for both businesses and customers.

With the price of customer acquisition being so high across paid channels, CRM software is vital to build your own database of customer information – and it helps to monitor prospect and customer engagement, too.


The top five benefits of using CRM

The benefits of a CRM system are endless, and result in increased customer loyalty and engagement, as well as a better ROI.

Let’s review just a few of the top benefits of using CRM:

  1. Improved sales and revenue: A next-generation customer relationship management system can help increase sales and revenue with integrated tools for sales force automation, lead management, forecasting, cross-selling, e-commerce. This maximizes visibility into your sales pipeline and give sales reps access to key information in real time and globally.
  2. Enhanced customer analytics and insights: Harnessing previous data customer, reps can access deep customer insights. The best software solutions let you run real-time customer analytics – so you can quickly identify and seize new sales opportunities, manage highly effective marketing campaigns, and wow customers with personalized service.
  3. More targeted marketing: Whether your focus is on social media marketing, e-mail marketing, or campaign management, using the right program allows you to reach the right people with the right message, at the right time. It’s a great way to get to know your customers and deliver highly targeted marketing on their channel of choice.
  4. Better customer experience management: Looking to improve customer service? The best software allows contact center reps and field service technicians a 360° view of customers – thereby providing automatic suggestions to resolve issues on first contact. This has the effect of boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty with better omnichannel experiences, including social media.
  5. Smoother internal and external collaboration: The term “collaborative CRM” describes how software allows a business to share information among teams, departments, and internal and external stakeholders. Everyone can access the most up-to-date information, so customers never have to repeat themselves – even if they jump between departments. This has the added effect of improving the customer journey and experience.

Commerce, adapted for agility.
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Jenn Vande Zande
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Jenn Vande Zande

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