CRM or Customer Relationship Management refers to software that lets companies track every interaction with current and future customers. Though the software capabilities can change depending on which provider you're using, the software itself is usually just referred to by the acronym, CRM.
Most CRMs will have features for keeping track of prospect and customer names, emails, and phone numbers. Others can track phone calls, log emails sent to prospects, and keep track of prospects' social media feeds. More advanced and complex ones can rotate leads to the right sales reps and log interactions with customer support teams.
Regardless of the features in place, the goal of implementing a CRM is to create a system that your company (most often the sales and marketing teams) can use to more efficiently and effectively interact with prospects or customers.
Marketing will often use a CRM to ensure that they're rotating the right leads to sales -- a key aspect of developing a strong relationship with the sales team. On the sales side, having the entire prospect history in one place saves a ton of time and improves productivity. For instance, reps won't have to hunt through a bunch of different programs to figure out who they should be calling next.
Steps of CRM
Identify all areas of your business that touch the Customer or the Prospect.
Identify all of the business processes that manage the touch points with the Customer or Prospect.
Select the appropriate CRM and Sales Force Automation (SFA) system that will allow the business processes impacting the Customer or Prospect to be managed in the most efficient and effective manner.
Document those business processes and train the users on the utilization of the CRM system with a focus on how that system will deliver value to their daily work lives and how it will maximize their efficiency and effectiveness in managing their relationships with their Customers and Prospects.
A well-implemented CRM system can replace manual processes that create significant organizational inefficiencies. But CRM systems don't just create efficiency by reducing the use of inefficient processes.
The use of cloud-based CRM platforms allows for employees in multiple departments to more effectively manage their customer relationships and to see the big picture at any time.
3. Lots of Data
For many organizations, data is one of the most valuable strategic assets, and CRM systems house some of the most valuable data. Of course, data in and of itself is often of limited practical use; its real value comes from data analysis and visualization tools.
4. Increased Accountability
When companies lack the tools to manage their customer relationships, customers are bound to fall through the cracks. CRM systems can help ensure that this doesn't happen by adding a layer of accountability to the customer relationship management process.
5. Improved Customer experience
Ultimately, for all of the benefits CRM systems provide to the companies that use them, the biggest benefit of CRM systems is that their use leads to a better overall customer experience.