Understanding Customer Relationship Management (CRM): The Basics and Beyond
No longer nice-to-haves, CRM systems today are essential tools helping organizations create the high-touch, personalized interactions their customers demand.
- Journey to loyalty. The ultimate goal of customer relationship management (CRM) software is to personalize individual customer experiences at every point along their journey from prospect to repeat buyer, increasing brand loyalty and the company’s bottom line.
- Four classes of CRM. There are four main types of CRM: Operational, Strategic, Analytical and Collaborative. Most enterprise-class CRM systems will provide features and functionality from each of these areas. Embrace the learning curve and be open-minded to new marketing automation solutions.
- Considering clouds. There are benefits and drawbacks to both cloud-based and on-premises CRM solutions, and the best option for an organization will depend on factors such as company size, technical expertise and budget.
While most people equate customer relationship management (CRM) with enterprise software such as Salesforce, CRM is much more than just another enterprise software package. CRM is a discipline that represents the practices, strategies and technologies organizations deploy to manage, analyze and improve customer interactions.
The ultimate goal of CRM systems, technologies and software is to personalize individual customer experiences at every point along their journey from prospect to repeat buyer. When successful, CRM increases brand loyalty and the company’s bottom line.
A Brief History of CRM: From Sales Automation to Customer Experience
CRM software has been around for decades. It was first introduced in the late 1980s. Its primary focus was sales automation and contact management, not customer experience. The goal of these early software packages was simply to digitize and organize customer data for analysis and management.
With the rise of the internet and the growth of ecommerce in the late 1990s and early 2000s, companies began to interact with customers digitally on a grand scale.