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What is Customer Relationship Management?

What Is A CRM System?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and the term refers to software that enables businesses to manage relationships with customers, suppliers and colleagues alike.

The processes provided by a CRM system allow users of the software to organise the information they receive from customers and transactions to create a complete history of the account. They can then use the organised data to tailor the sales experience to each customer’s needs, which makes for an all-round better service.

What can a CRM system do for a business?

A CRM system gives users a central platform to record information that can then be used by the whole organisation to ascertain how to proceed to meet a customer’s requirements. CRM systems are multi-purpose and can carry out a huge range of functions for a business.

Each department can use different aspects of a system to carry out tasks to complete their various roles. For example, a member of the sales team can record communications with their clients so they know when it is necessary to follow up a lead, while the marketing department can create reports that show the success of different stock lines or marketing campaigns.

Furthermore, each user can view the whole picture, so customers are looked after efficiently and the process can be moved from department to department seamlessly. For example, the accounting team can see the status of an order and invoice or chase payment when required, or the marketing department can analyse purchasing patterns and customise the next marketing campaign accordingly.

How have CRM systems changed?

The number of organisations using a CRM system increased between 2012 and 2013 from 56% to 74%. As with any aspect of business or technology, CRM systems have evolved as they have grown in popularity. The growth of social media and cloud computing has given businesses new ways to use their system and therefore more control over how their business is run and maybe most importantly higher lead conversion.

Organisations can now integrate their CRM system with various social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. This not only enables businesses to communicate with customers quickly and efficiently, but also allows marketing departments to gather more data about how customers connect with their company. The ability to communicate on social media is vital for businesses to keep up with modern customers, as statistics show that 60% of customers use social media to interact with organisations, while 62% use social media to research product information and news.

The growth of cloud computing has also had a huge impact on the way businesses use CRM systems. Smartphones and tablets combined with a cloud-based platform mean that individuals can access their system anywhere in the world, assuming they have access to the internet.

Statistics show that 81% of users access their system via multiple devices, which has led to a 15% rise in productivity. In fact, 65% of those in sales that use mobile devices to access their CRM reach their sales targets, while only 22% of those that don’t access their CRM via mobile devices reach the same goals.

The benefits of CRM systems

With customer demands and expectations changing, managing different aspects of a business using a CRM system increases productivity and output amongst the workforce, while also providing intuitive solutions for customers.

The ability to integrate CRM with social media and cloud computing enables systems to be increasingly flexible and efficient so businesses are able to service customer’s needs to a higher standard.

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