Customer Relationship Management

The X’s and O’s of Customer Relationship Management Leave a comment

This short article explains the X’s and O’s of CRM, Customer Relationship Management, that you need before you embark on a CRM project. 

Before a big football game, like the Super Bowl, the coach explains to the players the X’s and O’s of the offensive and defensive plays that must be executed to win the game.  This short article explains the X’s and O’s of CRM, Customer Relationship Management, that you need before you embark on a CRM project. 

The question and answer type of dialogue should help you in your quest to conquer the complexities and intricacies of CRM.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.

So What is This Thing Called CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Though most people define CRM in terms of a software product, it is really a strategy to learn about customers’ needs, wants and behaviors in order to develop a strong relationship with them.

Interesting Read: Business Strategic Plan in Five Easy Steps

What is the Purpose of CRM and How Much Does it Cost?

CRM’s goal is to help business use a new type of technology, business process and organizational change factors to obtain insight into the actions and value of its customers. 

Most companies either buy a software product like ACT or Goldmine or lease the software on a monthly basis using products like Salesforce.com and SugarCRM. 

These leased-typed (on-demand) software programs only cost about $40-50/per month per user.  They are web-based which means you can access them anywhere you have Internet access.  In addition, most CRM software is up and running the sales process within a week.  Cool, huh?  

Why implement a CRM when the economy is so bad? When sales are bad you must, I repeat, implement a repeatable sales process.  This eliminates the fire-fighting you are doing today in your business. 

A solid sales process will allow you consistency and repeat business from new and current customers.  A properly implemented Customer Relationship Management system will help a company:

  • Increase sales revenues – this is the big one!!!!
  • Gain new customers
  • Assist the sales department to close deals faster
  • Cross sell products/services more effectively
  • Simplify marketing and sales business processes to create a solid sales pipeline in a good or bad economy
  • Reduce costs related to marketing, sales and customer service
  • Understand customers better
  • Provide better customer service
  • Make call centers more efficient
  • Segment good versus “not-so-good” customers
  • Retain and expand their business
  • Enhance their e-business strategies 

So is CRM the Next Big Thing?

Customer Relationship Management is one of many big things happening in business.  However, remember, I repeat remember, there are neither magic bullets nor pixie dust.  True customer value and benefits occur through hard work and a lot of smarts.  Most large enterprise organizations have implemented CRM and now it is trickling down to small and mid-sized companies.  Gartner, a large research firm, states that the worldwide CRM Software Market to grew 14 percent in 2008.  

What Kind of Data Does a CRM System Collect?

As you would expect, CRM systems collect the following type of data:

  • Customer demographic data
  • Account information
  • Contact data
  • Sales data
  • Purchase information
  • Shipping and fulfillment dates
  • Responses to campaigns
  • Service and maintenance information
  • Web sales data
  • Web registration data

What is a CRM Strategy and What are the Key Factors to Consider in Implementation?

A Customer Relationship Management strategy documents the vision and methods on how a company will create value from its customer base. The key factors include:

  • Develop a realistic CRM strategy
  • Gain specific customer insights
  • Realize and leverage greater value from customer contact activities
  • Transform sales and marketing activities to obtain value from the new system

We have come to the end of this brief but interesting piece, do you have any comment on Customer Relationship Management? Please drop the comment below.

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