Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers. The CRM approach tries to analyze data about customers’ history with a company, in order to better improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on retaining customers, in order to drive sales growth. One important aspect of the CRM approach is the systems of CRM that compile information from a range of different channels, including a company’s website, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials, social media, and more. Through the CRM approach and the systems used to facilitate CRM, businesses learn more about their target audiences and how to best cater to their needs. However, the adoption of the CRM approach may also occasionally lead to favoritism within an audience of consumers, leading to dissatisfaction among customers and defeating the purpose of CRM.
The primary goal of CRM systems is to integrate and automate sales, marketing, and customer support. Therefore, these systems typically have a dashboard that gives an overall view of the three functions on a single page for each customer that a company may have. The dashboard may provide client information, past sales, previous marketing efforts, and more, summarizing all of the relationships between the customer and the firm. Operational CRM is made up of 3 main components: sales force automation, marketing automation, and service automation.
- Sales force automation works with all stages in the sales cycle, from initially entering contact information to converting a prospective client into an actual client. Sales force automation implements Sales promotion analysis, automates the tracking of a client’s account history for repeated sales or future sales and coordinates sales, marketing, call centers, and retail outlets. It prevents duplicate efforts between a salesperson and a customer and also automatically tracks all contacts and follow-ups between both parties.
- Marketing Automation focuses on easing the overall marketing process to make it more effective and efficient. For example, by scoring customer behavior, Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud allows a business to adapt marketing campaigns to how engaged customers are with a business. CRM tools with marketing automation capabilities can automate repeated tasks, for example, sending out automated marketing emails at certain times to customers, or posting marketing information on social media. The goal with marketing automation is to turn a sales lead into a full customer. CRM systems today also work on customer engagement through social media.
- Service automation is the part of the CRM system that focuses on direct customer service technology. Through service automation, customers are supported through multiple channels such as phone, email, knowledge bases, ticketing portals, FAQs, and more. For example, Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM Software tracks call times, call resolution and more in order to improve the efficiency of customer service within a business.