Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth.
CRM systems are designed to compile information on customers across different channels -- or points of contact between the customer and the company -- which could include the company's website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. CRM systems can also give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers' personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and concerns.
In the Beginning – The Ledger
Pen and paper system which allowed businesses to track basic sales and customer information.
Since the beginning owners knew the values of their customers.
1950’s – The Rolodex
Allowed companies the ability to spin through paper records, adding customers while updating existing customer information
Useful for small businesses – but once a company grew to big…it was hard to keep things organized.
Happiness translated into repeat sales and a growing customer base.
Knowing if a customer was happy or not owners had to talk to customers face-to-face and owners had no way of keeping track of their relationships.
Early 1980’s – Database Marketing
In the 80’s everything went digital
This new technology was dismissed by skeptics and welcomed by businesses that saw it as a tool to improve growth.
This new process allowed companies to amass and analyze customer information, enabling businesses to create customized communications to attract prospects
Organizations were able to generate personalized communications to a group of customers by analyzing data.
Late 1980’s – Contact Management Software
Arrival and mass rollout of PC’s and server/client architecture saw businesses collecting and organizing customer data into digital rolodexes.
Hard to track, unorganized and difficult to update, CRM systems of the 80’s were not the seamless operations they are today.
There was no way to properly organize the information gathered.
CRM of the 80’s was truly a one-way street for communication
The 1990’s – Information Exchange
In the 90’s, CRM was more interactive
Instead of simply sending information to customers, businesses could ask customers to interact with this information.
The dawn of loyalty programs like Airmiles launched and special extended offers were sent to those who were willing to sign up or refer a friend
These changes were necessary for businesses to boost productivity and not to just keep a business afloat
Businesses provided useful products, customers received rewards, advocate marketing emerged and all sides were happy.
1995 – CRM
In 1995 the term “CRM” was coined
Late 1990’s – Mobile & SaaS
CRM continues to evolve and by the end of the century, the world’s first CRM solution is introduced plus the first SaaS CRM product
Y2K – Dot.com Scare
The scare of Y2K caused investors to close their wallets on dot.com technology, resulting in crumbling CRM systems.
Too much, too soon, meant the big players in the SaaS based industry reported huge losses in revenues.
The effect: organizations stopped spending on dot-com technology
2000s – CRM Innovations
CRM continues its huge potential for creating ever-deeper relationships with customers by shifting from a “transaction” focus to an “interactive” focus.
Companies begin to see CRM as a way to manage all business relationships via a single platform.
CRM systems are now the heart of millions of businesses across the globe.
They are streamlined operations that make our lives easier by connecting all departments to the customer.
A CRM can now help turn a single purchase customer into a loyal repeat customer
Present Day – Keeping Up with the Connected Consumer
Today’s consumers are using mobile to view and purchase products (40% of ecommerce was made on mobile according to IMRG in 2014)
This new connected generation is causing businesses to rethink CRM models and develop more interactive models.
Social media networks can help businesses develop more personal relationships with their customers.
You can now predict customer behavior based on analytics extracted from these platforms – allowing you to keep up with the connected consumer
CRM, often service based, hosted in the cloud – enables businesses to leverage, store and track all customer and prospect information
You now have the insights to easily identify when you last saw Mr.X, the conversation topic, what he ordered and any follow-up actions.
You can also add any personal touches like favorite sports teams, recent trips, anniversary or birthdates to add a personal touch to the conversation
These systems can make it possible for businesses to see what works (or what doesn’t), to quickly make changes to increase revenues
Thanks to the new CRM systems, marketers can continue growing the businesses they represent; sales teams can sell on a more personal level (distancing themselves from their telemarketing past); and customer service representatives can nurture present customers to become repeat customers. All of this of course, boosts sales and reduces expenditures, but more than anything it improves customer satisfaction, which is the key to continued growth.
What is Mobile CRM - Mobile CRM is a CRM tool designed for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. By connecting through mobile CRM, you allow your sales team’s access to customer data through a CRM mobile app or through a web-based browser with cloud CRM.
82% of sales people say that accessing their system on smartphones and tablets greatly or moderately improves the quality of their CRM data
Nearly half (48%) of users access their systems via Smartphones and 45% via tablets
Majority prefer to use multiple devices 81%
About 20% are using a combination of three devices
29% all four types
Crucial Information At Your Fingertips
You can use your mobile CRM to access their account anytime, anywhere
If you have an off-site meeting with an important client, the mobile CRM provides them with immediate access to information they can use.
Real-time data [will] keep reps in the know about everything from usage rates to open service tickets to breaking news about the prospect they’re about to visit.
Increased Potential for More Sales
Nucleus Research found Salespeople became 26.4% more productive when adding mobile access to CRM
Nearly 1/3 of respondents said they increased productivity by 20%
Mobile CRM gives you access to all the information you need to keep a productive conversation going, and you can leave notes to keep all records current.
Shortened Sales Cycle
Research shows 65% of sales reps achieve their sales quotas faster, compared to 22% with non-mobile CRM
Mobile CRM allows you to close sales with fewer interaction so you can dedicate more time finding and qualifying new leads
Customize your solution to include the critical information relevant to your organization
Mobile CRM [will become a] powerful sales tool as more and more reps eschew traditional slides in favor of showing a demo on their phone or pulling up the latest analytics or dashboards on their [mobile] device.
Faster Production & Planning
Because your mobile CRM goes with you and can be accessed from your mobile phone with an app, or anywhere there is an Internet connection via mobile web, you can get more done – you are no longer chained to your desk at work. This results in faster delivery times to the customers, which results in higher customer satisfaction.
Studies have shown, just a five percent increase in customer retention can lead to an increase in profits of anywhere between 25% and 95%, and 80% of your future revenue will come from just 20% of your customers, so keeping customers happy is key.
Seamlessly integrate with ecommerce platform, marketing automation, analytics software, accounting system, phone systems, email platform, document systems, ERP, and quoting systems.
Rather than spending hours downloading and uploading CSVs of data from one system to another, CRM users will demand that their provider build these native integrations with other platforms to make them more efficient.
CRMs will evolve from sales-oriented tools to truly integrated marketing and sales platforms,
integrations will be replaced by all-in-one software platforms that truly marry the needs of sales and marketing
Vertical solutions are specifically tuned for the customer's business.
Such applications support the way companies do business, supporting existing business processes.
They do not force companies to bend into a prepackaged generic template often offered by horizontally based solutions.
These applications are often tailored to meet an industry's needs using the business processes, rules, and best practices of companies within the specific vertical as a model.
Companies within the same vertical will have similar solution requirements. Certainly some requirements will be unique from company to company. Therefore, even a vertical application will require some tailoring for each specific installation.
Specifically, vertical solutions:
1. Are custom tailored to meet industry needs
2. Typically include an additional configurable set of capabilities appropriate for the industry
3. Are based on business processes and rules of the industry
4. Include reporting and analytics that are germane to the industry
At the top of the list are ease of implementation and lower cost of implementation.
Since such applications are built for a specific industry segment, they cost less to implement. End-user training costs and support costs will be lower because these applications support existing business logic and use the industry's specific vernacular of business terms.
"Out-ofthe-box" industry-specific vertical applications rely on the lessons learned from multiple installations within that industry, an ongoing evolution and aggregation of industry best practices.
Perhaps of greatest importance, they also come with support for specific industry regulation and compliance requirements.
What customization they do require will be dramatically less than if an organization were to try to make a generic horizontal application conform to the requirements of a specific industry
In summary, the benefits of vertical applications are that they:
1. Are easy to implement.
2. Reduce training and adoption time, since the applications are written in the vernacular of the industry.
3. Leverage industry best practices by incorporating lessons learned from other implementations.
4. Are cost-effective.
A good knowledge of your customers enables you to develop marketing strategies that target their specific needs - and increase your sales.
A customer relationship management system can be a powerful tool in your marketing armoury. By recording your customer's product likes and dislikes, their spending patterns and even their location, age and gender, CRM software enables you to build up a detailed picture of their tastes, needs and buying habits.
This in turn enables you to segment your customer base into groups of buyers with different tastes or budgets.
You can identify your most profitable customers, for example, or promising prospects, and target them with marketing messages and offers devised just for them. If the message - and its timing - is right, you could improve your sales conversion rates considerably.
Rather than taking the mass marketing approach, CRM allows you to focus and fine-tune your marketing efforts to make those efforts more productive. That saves you money, because you aren’t expending resources on individuals who ultimately won’t become customers.
today’s customers expect a customized, streamlined experience from beginning to end.
Whether your business is large or small, chances are you don’t have time to track and analyze the buying habits of every last customer.
The beauty of customer relationship management applications are that they handle that piece of the marketing puzzle for you. Because your customer and sales information is housed in one place, you have automatic access to a full range of reports on which products or services are selling and who’s buying them.