what does CRM stand for

What does CRM stand for? Customer Relationship Management

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What does CRM stand for? CRM stands for customer relationship management.

Most often, CRM is used to describe a customer relationship management software a business is using. For instance, someone might say: “What CRM are you using?” or “Our CRM doesn’t have that capability.” 

What does a CRM system do?

CRM software is a tool used to manage and organize customer relationship management needs as a business scales. For start-ups, or smaller organizations, many people simply use Excel sheets or even files, as was popular in a more analog era, to manage all of a customer’s information including their name, their business information, contact information, past purchase information, payment information, which sales rep they work with, and so on. 

These days, CRM software (often also referred to as CRM tools) can do all of the above and so much more –– including showing you which pages on your website that customer has last visited, how long they were on that page, the content of any previous emails they have seen or opened that your company has sent, and so on. 

All of this information helps an organization better serve their customers, personalizing their services to that customer’s particular interests and needs. CRM software also helps the customer service reps, sales reps, and marketing teams at an organization better work together to provide best-in-class customer service for everyone that comes in contact with their business, from a prospect to a recurring customer. 

How does a CRM work? 

A CRM tool works by integrating with a variety of other online tools businesses use to track user behavior on their site, like Google Analytics for instance. Google Analytics, however, typically only tracks behavior of anonymous users. It will tell you if a user is new or returning (has or has not ever been to your site), but you don’t get much information on exactly who that person is. 

This is where a CRM comes in. Once someone on your site fills out a form of any kind, the CRM begins to track their activity and report essential metrics back to the business. Let’s break this down a bit more. 

Types of Forms CRMs Use to Collect Individualized Information: 

  • Contact us forms
  • Blog newsletter forms
  • Schedule a demo forms
  • Start a trial forms 
  • Sign up for a beta forms

Types of Metrics a CRM Tracks Once Someone Fills Out a Form:

Channel attribution: A CRM tool will note from where that person (also known as a lead) came. Was it from a search engine? From social media? An email? This information helps marketing teams attribute which channels generate the most leads and eventual revenue.

Pages Visited: While a tool like Google Analytics can show you aggregated customer website flows, a CRM tool will show you exactly which pages on your site a specific person took including: on which pages they filled out a form, and which pages they navigated to after filling out that form (this helps a salesperson craft a more personalized pitch).

Email communication and open rate: CRM tools and software also track which emails a lead is opening (or not), which links they’ve clicked, and more. You can even set triggers based on their actions. For instance, if a lead clicks on a PDF you sent in an email, that can trigger a notification to a salesperson that this lead may be ready for a more in-depth conversation. 

What are examples of a CRM?

CRM tools and software range in price from free to thousands of dollars a year. What you need will depend on the size of your company, the amount of customer data you have, and any specific personalization tasks you want included or automated. Many CRM tools are part of a larger suite of tools or software for running a business.

Examples of a CRM across the small business to enterprise spectrum include:

  • SAP
  • Hubspot
  • Zoho
  • Salesforce
  • Netsuite
  • Pipedrive
  • InfusionSoft 
  • Zendesk

What does CRM stand for? Customer relationship management ties CX together

With cost of customer acquisition being so high across paid channels, CRM software becomes a vital tool for building your own database of customer information as well as monitoring prospect and customer engagement with your messages and information to understand if you’re relevant to their current sales lifecycle. 

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Tracey Wallace
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Tracey Wallace

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