What Is CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It refers to the practices, policies, strategies, and the technology used by companies to manage and analyze customer data and interactions through the customer lifecycle. The goal of CRM is to improve the business relationships with customers, retain existing customers and drive sales growth. The CRM systems are designed to compile customer information across all the different points of contact between the customer and the company. This can include the company website, live chat, social media, direct mail, marketing materials and telephone. These systems also five any staff members who deal directly with the customers detailed information, such as their purchase history, buying preferences and any of their concerns.

What Does CRM Software Do?

CRM software is essentially a database. The software gathers all the customer information and documents into the single database, so that it can be accessed and managed much more easily. The software may also be capable of recording any customer interactions, such as email, phone calls, or social media messages. It may also be able to automate the workflow processes, such as tasks, calendars, alerts and notifications. It may also allow the user to track performance and productivity based on the information logged by the CRM system.

What Are Common Features Of CRM Software?

Marketing AutomationMarketing Automation capabilities means that repetitive marketing tasks can be done automatically rather than manually. This is more efficient, and can be used to enhance the marketing efforts to customers at different points during the customer lifecycle. As an example, if any potential customers, or leads, came into the system, automated marketing would automatically send out the marketing materials via email, or social media, with the goal of turning the potential customer into an actual customer.

Sales Force Automation – Sales Force Automation is also called sales force management. It’s designed to prevent the sales staff from contacting the same customer twice about the same issue or topic. It does this by automatically tracking any and all contact between the sales team and the customer, and any follow-up contact on both sides.

Contact Center Automation – The purpose of contact center automation is to streamline the contact center agent’s job, and make the contact center more efficient. It automates the more tedious and repetitive aspects of the job. This can include pre-recorded audio, which helps solve the customer’s problem, and ascertains more information about the problem. There are various software tools that can be integrated with the agent’s desktop to handle customer calls. These can help simplify the processes, and reduce the time of the calls, which makes the agent more efficient.

Geo-location Technology, or Location Based Services – Some of the CRM software available today include geo-location technology. This can create geographic marketing campaigns based on the customer location, which means that the customer gets a more personalized experience. These technologies may also be able to integrate with other popular GPS location based apps. The geo-location technology can be used as a networking tool, and for contact management, as it can allow the company to find potential sales prospects based on their location.

What Are Common CRM Terms?

As with everything CRM comes with its own terminology, which many people may not be familiar with. Here’s a list of the most commonly used terms, and a brief explanation for each of them.

Contact – You may have seen this term on your phone. Contacts are people. The contacts in the CRM are the customers and clients of the company. The software will list their names and personal info, as well as their company, or account number.

Lead – A lead is a special contact. These are people who will potentially do business with the company in the future. They are potential customers, and the company will want to pay particular attention to them.

Opportunity – If the lead, or potential customer, seems like they were very interested, and you think that you will be able to sell them the company’s products or service, then they become an opportunity. They are someone who is very likely to buy, and the CRM can track any information about them.

Quote – Once your contact, or opportunity is ready to do business, you will need to quote them a price for the products or service they need. The CRM will be able to keep a record of all the quotes.

Deal – The deals section of your CRM is where you can track the won and lost deals. Won deals will track all the successful interactions where the customer bought your goods or services. Lost deals tracks when it fell through.

Profiles – The profiles section is not for customer profiles, but instead it’s staff profiles. These are all the people inside the company who use the CRM system. Each person may have a specific role, or the various teams may only have a specific set of permissions for the system. For example, the sales team may not be able to access a list of suppliers, and only the HR team would be able to edit the staff profiles, and permissions.

Campaign – CRM is very useful for marketing, and you can track your marketing efforts under the campaign section. Each individual campaign can list any of the contacts and companies that the specific campaign will target, along with the results of the campaign, any notes, and much more.

Tag – You may have seen tags in Gmail, or metadata on the photos you take with your phone. Using tags in your CRM allows you to add extra information on a contact, lead, deal or anything else on the CRM. It also gives you another way to filter and sort through your CRM.

Activity – Activity is a bit like your Facebook news feed. It’s listed in a similar way, and it refers to anything that has happened in the system. It will list new deals, new contacts, new leads, and more. Some systems will allow messages from colleagues.