First, let’s define what a CRM is: The term Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a system that connects different parts of a company through the thread of customer relationships. Sales, Marketing, Accounting and Customer Service can all be tied together with a powerful, centralized CRM software made to retain customer loyalty, increase revenue, deliver consistent and efficient customer service, and finally, evaluate which customers to focus on.
Basically, every company has customers, and every company should maintain some basic information about those customers such as names, addresses, purchases, contracts, invoices, etc. Therefore every company should have at least some basic "CRM Technology" to track and serve their customers. Even small businesses use Outlook, Quicken or other applications for this purpose. If you use Microsoft Outlook for your daily communications, calendaring, tasks and appointments and need a way to track sales leads and opportunities, to share data across sales representatives, to improve the understanding of your sales process, to communicate with a broad groups of people on a one to one basis, to improve your business process in the most important area – sales, and need a reporting system that beats multiple excel spreadsheets, then you need a complete CRM solution.
Why ? Because a CRM software can increase profitability for your business by reducing current operating costs, usually in the call center or distribution system, and by increasing customer value through smarter marketing using customer data to increase customer profitability. Can you do it without a CRM ? Probably, but not as efficiently because only a CRM is built to take care of Customer personal needs “centrally”, meaning that by using a single software, all the employees of the same company can access an organised database via Internet, where sales, customer service and management have access to the same customer data using tools such as “Sales Force Automation” (provides Lead Management, Opportunity Management, Account & Contact Management, Reports & Dashboards specifically useful for your organization's sales team), “Customer Support & Services” (provides Ticket Management, Knowledge Base, E-mail Notifications specifically useful for your organization's customer support team.), “Marketing Automation” (provides Lead Management, Mailing Lists, E-mail/Mail Merge templates, Product Management, specifically useful for your organization's marketing team.), “Inventory Management” (provides Products, Price Books, Vendors, Quotes, Purchase Orders, Sales Orders, and Invoices specifically useful for integrating your organization's sales, inventory, and accounting processes and enhance the sales effectiveness.) , providing a complete integration between pre-sales, post-sales, procurement, fulfillment, and other business processes within your organization.
In other words, a good CRM software will help you build customer relationships by setting mutually satisfying goals between organization and customers, establishing and maintaining customer rapport and producing positive feelings in your organization and for the customers. Organizations that implement CRM and turn their business into e-businesses will find their competitors' customers ready to welcome them with a "smile". According to a study by IT Consulting firm Aberdeen - "The winners in this new economy will be those companies that can effectively leverage the Internet to redesign, automate and integrate all business operations". Take the plunge!
Either jump on board with CRM and invest, knowing you need it, or get out the calculator and pencil and start adding up what you’re going to lose! One thing is for certain – a few short months after implementing your CRM solution, you’ll wonder how on earth you ever got by without it!
Dr Sylvain Desforges is the Webmaster and head of Research and Development for Momentus Technologies. http://www.momentustech.ca