A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software system is an integral element of the modern enterprise software infrastructure. It is a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with existing and prospective customers. A CRM’s goal is simple: Improve business relationships based on integrated information about the customers. In this direction, CRM platforms help companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.
Most CRM systems are designed to compile information on customers across different channels, which are also known as “touchpoints” i.e., points of contact between the customer and the company. Prominent examples of such touchpoints include a company’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. Leveraging integrated information about the customers, CRMs can also allow businesses to track interactions with prospective or current customers by recording what products or services they’ve purchased or expressed interest in.
Modern CRM platforms provide a very wide range of features and functionalities. Most enterprises are interested in a subset of the available CRM functionalities according to their business strategy and needs. Therefore, towards selecting a proper CRM platform, enterprises need to understand the various CRM functionalities. CRM systems typically have features to help enterprises track customer activity, manage customer information, record interactions with customers, and create automated sales pipelines to manage leads and opportunities. They also support the management of marketing campaigns across multiple channels (e.g., email, social media, text messages, web advertisements), while at the same time monitoring customer service requests, complaints, feedback and other inquiries.
In most cases, CRM functionalities can be classified as marketing automation, salesforces automation, and customer support. These three clusters of functionalities are typically supported by respective modules and CRM tools, including:
Modern CRM systems are not solely distinguished based on their functionalities. They also come in different deployment configurations. Nowadays two main types of CRM systems have emerged, on-premise CRM and cloud-based CRM. While both systems provide similar functionalities, there are some key differences between them:
Selecting the right CRM system from a reliable CRM company is an important decision for your company. You need to consider a number of factors, including cost, functionalities, scalability, and security when making this choice. Specifically:
Given the multitude of selection criteria, enterprises had better follow a rigorous and well-structured selection process. This process must comprise the following steps:
Overall, choosing the right CRM system is very important because it can be a long-term commitment, especially if you opt for a platform with a high upfront cost. Many companies fail to implement the system properly or get employees on board, so choosing the wrong CRM can have serious repercussions. Even though each company must have its own CRM strategy and selection criteria, the above-listed steps provide a sound basis for taking educated selection decisions with a high probability of success.
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