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What Does CRM Stand for and Core CRM Functions?


paperfree Papefree team

Updated on Friday, January 20, 2017

The main function of any Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is to provide businesses with useful data regarding their customers and sales, help connects businesses with customers, increase revenues, and improve customer service overall. CRM has become a hot topic in the business environment today because of its ability to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

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CRM Basics

The main function of any Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is to provide businesses with useful data regarding their customers and sales, help connects businesses with customers, increase revenues, and improve customer service overall. CRM has become a hot topic in the business environment today because of its ability to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

A CRM system is more than just software. CRM systems provide strategies and methods that allow businesses to access, analyze, and learn from client data. Understanding the key functions of a CRM system and what it can do for your business is a critical step in ensuring a successful implementation.

It is also significant to understand that there are numerous, namely hundreds of CRM dealers in the field. A lot of them will claim to be number one, but of course, it’s necessary to look closely, since they could be that good in just a single category. Some of them might be no good at all. Thus, it is critical for businesses to find and choose the right CRM seller that will provide proper services. The thing is that this is not necessarily the most expensive provider. Contrariwise, there are some small CRM companies that provide extremely efficient solutions.

There are many vendors on the market offering conventional CRM services and programs. However, it is advantageous to find a vendor that can customize the system to meet your business needs. The largest, most well-known CRM system may not be your ideal solution. It is worth the time to explore some smaller CRM companies; they can provide extremely efficient solutions that can be tailored to your business.

A well-executed CRM solution can help any business drive sales and profits. Evaluating systems and selecting a provider is time-consuming and may seem discouraging, but a well designed and utilized CRM system is a very powerful sales tool.

CRM Buyer’s Guide

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has drastically changed the way businesses around the world approach customer life-cycle and lead generation management.

CRM sprung out of contact management software, which initially appeared in the ‘90s. In the beginning of 2000s, CRM systems showed up with more advanced tools for the client relationship management processes. These new solutions not only assisted businesses to administer their clients and leads but also offered combined platforms that helped internal teams, such as marketing and sales, coordinate their strategies.

At first, the enterprise was the only segment, which benefited from these new and advanced CRM solutions that demanded deep pockets and wide server storage space. But, as the new concept of lead and contact cloud storage gained more popularity, it became real to introduce CRM properties to businesses of all sizes. Today, both large and small businesses may access affordable and quite reliable CRM tools.

Discovering Cloud-Based CRM

The SaaS or software-as-a-service model- services hosted in a cloud that is accessed through the Web with a password – has allowed for a new CRM product generation. Cloud-based CRM systems do not require the business to manage additional servers and storage space or the resulting increases in IT staff. The evolution of cloud-based products has allowed CRM systems to better meet the needs of small and mid-sized businesses (SMB).

How Do CRM and Social CRM Differ?

Social CRM space is the latest web-based CRM applications’ evolution. This helps businesses manage client relationship through social media channels. Social CRM is an outbound marketing strategy, in which businesses engage in public discussions with their current or prospective clients, whereas conventional CRM solutions target prospective sales through phone or email campaigns.

Finding the Best CRM Solution for Your Business

It may be somewhat difficult to find a CRM solution that will precisely meet your needs. Nevertheless, comprehending the needs of your business and determining your CRM goals will help you define the right direction.

You should take a few matters into account that will help you narrow options to the one perfect CRM system for your business, they are:

  • The budget. Find an option that will fit your bottom line. Of course, CRM systems demand certain costs, but it’s wise to start small and test out several options before ultimately choosing a somewhat expensive solution. There’s always the option to upgrade.
  • CRM scalability. Select a product suitable to the size of your business. Scalability is essential in terms of implementation and budget. For small businesses with a staff of 2-20 employees, a solution for mid-sized businesses or enterprises can be way too much.
  • The presence of the basics. Do you already have a customer database? Do you have a website? If you are starting from scratch, you will need to consider solutions that provide for start-ups and smaller businesses.
  • Current customer interaction. If you want to learn more about improving your client communication strategies, opt for an option that allows the analysis of client behavior and offers strategic guidelines on improving your client relationships.
  • Customer analytics. Have you targeted your sales and marketing strategies by analyzing your traditional and online traffic? If so, you should consider a CRM solution that includes analytical tools for business and/or customer intelligence.

When selecting a CRM system, first consider your business’s unique demands and then evaluate each system's compatibility with your needs.  Important aspects to consider are: 

  • System Functionality: Features, functions, pricing model, flexibility, ability to integrate with other systems, and seller reputation;
  • System Scalability: If you expect your business to grow in the future, you should consider a cloud-based CRM solution, instead of an on-site one, so you can benefit from the scalability advantage cloud processing;
  • System User Experience: Here, simplicity is key. Implementing a new CRM system in your business requires significant time and effort in order to ensure the system meets both business needs and the needs of your targeted users. 

Key CRM Functions

The most basic features of a CRM system will allow the creation of an extensive client database, a document management application, meeting schedules, notes, and other appropriate data to provide for better customer relations. Thus, a basic CRM system includes: 

  • A searchable client database with categories (allowing to tag clients by the probability of them continuing to utilize your product or service, prior client interactions, demographics, companies they come from, etc.);
  • Marketing campaign management to produce high-quality leads from the sales team;
  • Contact management to track all aspects of the sales process;
  • Provide analytics on multiple staff and current clients as well as key business data for segmentation and analysis;
  • Sales channel management optimization to ensure that your customers are handled respectively to the channel through which they interact with your business.

Other CRM Features to Consider

Sales analysis features:
  • A dashboard that provides a unique view of the information that you want to analyze; this is very helpful in making decisions;
  • Reporting options to let you make analytical reports about sales and then share them within your company;
  • Sales prognosis tools to allow you to foretell the prospective outcome of your sales funnel’s any opportunity.

Sales channels management features:

  • Templates, forms, and fields for each channel. This will allow you to request particular data depending on distribution channels you use to determine buying needs and patterns;
  • Multi-currency and multi-language support.

Customer service provision features:

  • Support of call center;
  • Stacking of customer support matters;
  • Support of social media channels.

Integration properties to connect your CRM system to other various applications and platforms are a crucial factor in decision making. You might want to check if the CRM solution you’re considering integrates with the following:

  • Online Accounting Software used for billing, invoicing, quote creation, and keeping track of client sales;
  • Email marketing software used to develop social media platforms for outbound marketing as well as constructing inbound marketing campaigns.

The bottom line is that the CRM system is designed to be your ultimate business management tool that will not only help you manage customer relationships but will increase your sales, improve marketing strategies, and take your business to a whole new level.

 

CRM FAQ

What does CRM stand for?

The CRM abbreviation stands for Customer Relationship Management.

CRM systems provide efficient management of both sales procedures and customer relationships. CRM is about capturing essential information and data about clients - purchase history, generated revenue, cross and up-selling opportunities, creating orders, sales quotes, and other business metrics. CRM provides a 360-degree look at a business. 

How can I benefit from a CRM?

With a CRM system, you will be able to recognize current and prospective customers, comprehend their preferences, often anticipate their demands and be effective and quick in response to their requests. CRM enables you to trace, organize, and solidify your staff’s interactions with current and prospective clients.

What should I consider before committing to a CRM product?

When evaluating CRM products, it is important to consider the costs associated with the system (base fees and monthly subscription), the system's ability to grow with your business, and whether the system is flexible enough to be adaptable to your unique business needs. 

How will solidifying customer data benefit the multi departments’ operations?

  • You will be able to quickly respond to all client inquiries, being aware of their previous needs and preferences;
  • Management data as well as service and sales history will be linked to clients’ contract data for a thorough view of your business' operations;
  • The CRM communication history will be combined with current and prospect customer contact data;
  • Efficient service management will increase customer loyalty, since it will enable personalized, consistent interaction throughout all client touch points, such as e-mail, phone, wireless devices, the web, and even personal meetings.


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