A customer relationship management system or CRM system is a specific application of information systems centered on managing the interaction of an organization with its current and potential customers using data analytics and automation tools. Hence, its purpose is to build and maintain relationship relationships with the customers.
Purpose, Features, and Applications of a CRM System
Take note that there are different types of CRM systems in the market. Most are sold based on a “software as a service” licensing term, while some are offered for free. These systems have some differentiation when it comes to features, but they all still have similar overarching purposes, functionalities, and applications. Take note of the following:
• Integrate and automate sales and marketing activities, as well as after-sales or customer support functions into a single software.
• Specific sales force automation features include lead management to include lead identification and conversion, deal tracking and negotiation management, contact management, and workflow automation.
• The system can also automate marketing activities with repetitive tasks such as sending marketing emails, posting marketing contents on social media, and customer engagement.
• It also assists in managing the sales team by providing them with information on what to do at each stage of the sales process, as well as monitor their sales performance.
• Remember that another key feature of a CRM system is the integration of all digital communication tools such as email, social media, chat or help desk, and telephony.
• Data management and data analytics is another critical purpose. The system automates and simplifies the collection, organization, and analysis of data obtained from customers and sales activities, thus allowing Big Data management.
• It also allows collaboration among stakeholders. One of the primary aims of a CRM is to incorporate external stakeholders such as suppliers, vendors, and distributors, and share customer information across teams, departments, or organizations.
- The system essentially supports other operational activities, to include inbound, outbound, or reverse logistics flows, as well as the different processes, elements, and activities within the order fulfillment process.
A Note on Customer Relationship Management
It is important to reiterate that the primary purpose of CRM is to build and manage customer relationships, especially by observing relationships as they develop or mature through different phases of sales and marketing, as well as by managing such relationships at each stage. A CRM system essentially enables relationship-centric sales and marketing by organizing, automating, and optimizing tasks, deliverables, and activities involved in customer interactions.