Customer relationship management (CRM) is a platform designed for the organization and management of potential and current customers. CRM helps businesses maintain and improve customer relationships by collecting information about each interaction customers have with an organization. The goal of CRM is customer retention and growth.
Components of CRM
CRM software is designed to consolidate customer documents and information into a database. That way, business users will be able to access and manage these documents and information easily.
Over time, more functions have been added to CRM software for increased utility. Some features include recording customer interactions over various mediums, such as social media, email, phone, or other channels, automating workflow automation processes, and providing managers with the ability to track productivity and performance based on information logged in the system.
- Marketing Automation: CRM tools that possess marketing automation capabilities are able to automate tasks to improve marketing efforts at various parts of the lifecycle. For example, when a sales prospect is introduced to the system, it may send the prospects an email or message on social media with marketing materials. The goal is to convert the sales lead to a loyal customer.
- Sales Automation: Sales automation tools automate business functions and track customer interactions of the sales cycle that are required to attract and obtain customers and follow leads.
- Contact Center Automation: Contact center automation is designed to make the job of a contact center agent easier. Automation may include prerecorded audio that helps in information dissemination and customer problem-solving. Software tools are able to integrate with desktop tools of the agent to handle customer requests and simplify customer service processes, reducing the time of calls.
Types of CRM Technology
HubSpot, Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft are some of the main vendors of CRM systems. The different types of CRM technology offered include the following:
- On-Premises CRM: The system puts maintenance, administration, security, and control on the company using the CRM system. The company buys licenses for the CRM system rather than buying a yearly subscription from the provider of the cloud CRM. The software lives on the servers of the company and the user is responsible for covering the cost of any upgrades to the system.
- Cloud-based CRM: Cloud-based CRM is also referred to as SaaS (software as a service) or on-demand CRM. With this system, the data is stored on a remote, external network that employees are able to access at any time and anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection. In some cases, a third-party service may be responsible for maintenance and installation. Companies that have limited resources or technology tend to be attracted to this option due to the feasibility of deployment in comparison to on-premises CRM.