Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CRM Software

CRM Software is an integral part of a businesses Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

So what is "CRM Software" ?

In simple terms a CRM Software is software that a business uses to improve the relationship it has with their customers.

It's hard to define everything CRM Software can do. So I'll outline the uses of CRM Software then give some examples.

CRM Software is a vital component to a businesses overall CRM strategy, yet the whole business needs to understand CRM in all departments and functions of the business and behave appropriately to make CRM work.

An effective CRM will include methodologies, strategies, software and web-based capabilities that help an enterprise organize and manage customer relationships.

Why use CRM Software?

CRM Software is used to help businesses:

(a) understand their customer, and
(b) understand their customer's wants and needs, and
(c) help the business serve them more efficiently and effectively.

In turn this will help the business to improve customer satisfaction, increase staff productivity, slash operational costs and maximize the effectiveness of each customer interaction.

Let's talk about these three different areas.

A CRM Solution to understand the customer

A CRM Solution allows the user to collect as much information about the customer that they can. They'll collect names, addresses, contact numbers, age, sex, number of children, etc. A CRM Solution does this to, amongst other things, help 'classify' their customers.

A benefit of a CRM Solution is that a user can help analyse which types of customers are best for their business.

Then once they know what customer ' types' are best they can then market to them in a 'personal' way - using the information gained about them.

A CRM Solution to understand the customers wants and needs
As information is collected about the customer's personal life, information is also collected about their buying habits and stored in CRM Software.

Humans are creatures of habit. By analysing the information collected about the customer and their buying habits the CRM can be used to help the business identify what the customers would most likely want or need to buy.

For example, if your CRM solution information lets you know that your best customers typically like buying 'red apples' in November for an average sale price of $15. You can prepare a marketing approach that is sent out to them prior to November that will steer them towards buying $30 worth of apples.

The customer sees it as useful because it's something they like to do at that time of year, and you're offering them a reminder and perhaps an incentive to buy more. The business benefits by structuring the offer to increase the sales value and therefore increasing the profit return.

A good CRM solution will allow you to do everything that I've just mentioned. You'll be able to bring up reports, write letters and then print them or e-mail them to a define part of your database.

A CRM Solution is useful to also target new customers

Information gathered in the CRM will help the business to target more of the preferred customers. An analysis using a CRM solution could tell the business, for example, that single males between 30 to 35 years of age that earn between $50,000 and $60,000 are the best type of customer for the business.

Knowing that information from the CRM, the business can then hire a list from a direct mail list broker of all the single men that fit the description and target their marketing toward them.

The CRM solution activity of improving the relationship with the customer is to help keep the customer more loyal to the company and thus improve the profitability of the business.

A CRM Solution to help efficiency and effectiveness of business

A good CRM Solution application will help the business to become more efficient and effective.

The business can become more efficient because if a customer contacts the business, within seconds the customer service representative can produce the customer's file. This will tell the employee all about the customer and their interaction with the business.

So a CRM solution saves time for the business and is able to help the employees deliver high levels of personalised service.

A CRM Solution software program and approach can help the business become more effective. An example would be marketing.

Knowing all the information about the customers, the marketing strategies can be targeted towards the customers in a personal way. Thus marketing to a defined target market with a past history the potential of improved results is far greater than marketing to a 'cold' list.

This article should only be viewed a very broad overview of what CRM Solution could do.

On this web site you'll find more detail and resources to help you understand and use CRM for your business.

There are many providers of CRM Solutions, I suggest you get a demo and work out what you're looking for in your CRM Software and then try a few to make the best CRM solution decision for you.

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