CRM software is a phrase used to describe a category of enterprise software that
covers a broad of applications and software to help businesses manage customer data
and customer interaction, access business information, automate sales, marketing
and customer support and also manage employee, vendor and partner relationships.
CRM software is designed to help businesses meet the overall goals of customer relationship
management (See CRM definition). Today's CRM software is highly scalable and customizable,
allowing businesses to gain actionable customer insights with a back-end analytical
engine, view business opportunities with predictive analytics, streamline operations
and personalize customer service based on the customer's known history and prior
interactions with your business.
CRM software is commonly used to manage a business-customer relationship, however
CRM software systems are also used in the same way to manage business contacts,
clients, contract wins and sales leads.
How CRM is Used Today
CRM solutions provide you with the customer business data to help you provide services
or products that your customers want, provide better customer service, cross-sell
and up-sell more effectively, close deals, retain current customers and better understand
who your customer are. Organizations frequently look for ways to personalize online
experiences (a process also referred to as mass customization) through tools such
as help-desk software, email organizers and different types of enterprise applications.
The CRM Strategy
Customer relationship management is often thought of as a business strategy that
enables businesses to improve in a number of areas. The CRM strategy allows you
to to following:
- Understand the customer
- Retain customers through better customer experience
- Attract new customers
- Win new clients and contracts
- Increase profitably
- Decrease customer management costs
The Impact of Technology on CRM
Technology and the Internet have changed the way companies approach customer relationship
strategies. Advances in technology have changed consumer buying behavior, and today
there are many ways for companies to communicate with customers and to collect data
about them. With each new advance in technology — especially the proliferation of
self-service channels like the Web and smartphones — customer relationships are
being managed electronically.
Many aspects of customer relationship management rely heavily on technology; however,
the strategies and processes of a good CRM system will collect, manage and link
information about the customer with the goal of letting you market and sell services
The Benefits of CRM
The biggest benefit most businesses realize when moving to a CRM system comes directly
from having all your business data stored and accessed from a single location. Before
CRM systems, customer data was spread out over office productivity suite documents,
email systems, mobile phone data and even paper note cards and Rolodex entries.
Storing all the data from all departments (e.g., sales, marketing, customer service
and HR) in a central location gives management and employees immediate access to
the most recent data when they need it. Departments can collaborate with ease, and
CRM systems help organization to develop efficient automated processes to improve
The Difference Between Enterprise and Small Business CRM
Typically, CRM applications and software are considered enterprise applications
— that is an application designed for larger enterprises that would require a dedicated
team to develop custom CRM modules, another team to analyze the resulting data and
reports, plus an IT staff to handle costly upgrades and deployment.
Small business CRM applications differ from enterprise CRM in a number of ways including
the amount of data handled by the system, IT requirements, pricing, and the tools
and features of the CRM application itself.
Dashboard is a term that is widely used to describe an application interface that
provides users with quick access to information or common tasks. In CRM (customer
relationship management) the dashboard is used to monitor business performance and
CRM data and reports are often shown in the dashboard to provide a quick and easy
overview of current business performance using charts, graphs, and maps.
A CRM dashboard is designed to let users perform some specific actions and tasks
with a single mouse-click from this interface. For example, a click from the CRM
dashboard could provide you with a detailed report on any lead follow-ups that are
scheduled for today.