Welcome to another installment in our back-to-basics series. So far, we’ve covered ERP 101 and SCM 101.
What Is CRM?
CRM is more than a software application. It is a set of strategies, processes, and associated software systems designed to improve the interactions and engagement of customers.
CRM involves not only the use of these tools, but also corporate cultural transformation and ongoing programs with the appropriate organizational framework. CRM also includes sales force automation (SFA), customer service and support, and enterprise marketing management.
Top Benefits of CRM
- CRM provides you with customer insight and a real-time information pipeline, which allows for accurate and timely forecasting. This allows you to build and focus on high-profit, sustainable customer relationships.
- CRM also provides your staff with customer intelligence and best practices to increase their likelihood of successful transactions.
- Other commonly-cited CRM benefits include increased customer acquisition, retention, loyalty, and profitability.
CRM—Risks You Should Be Aware Of
It’s all fine and good to implement a CRM system, but there a few things you should know if you don’t want to be blindsided by a CRM catastrophe:
- Effective internal controls must be in place to prevent customer information from becoming scattered across databases and servers.
- CRM can be associated with significant application and architectural security issues, especially for organizations subject to the provisions of the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).
- Simply installing a CRM system is only the beginning. Successful CRM implementations start with a carefully defined organization-wide CRM strategy. Don’t forget: if you neglect to get user buy-in, you may end up with some very, very expensive shelfware. (See also How to Kill Your Software Selection Project in 10 Very Easy Steps).
How an Online Software Selection Process Can Help
- Compare which products adequately support the right mix of your enterprise’s marketing, sales force automation, customer service, partner management, and other requirements.
- Evaluate features and functions that support a methodical approach to sales and marketing functions.
- Understand how each product supports your Internet sales and analytics requirements.
- Compare the advantages and disadvantages of hosted solutions versus on-site CRM implementations.
- Access listings for vendors you may not know about—or that you may not have considered.
More CRM Resources
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