Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to two things:

  • A company’s strategy for managing leads and customer data
  • Software that manages that data

In its simplest form, CRM is a database where sales and marketing teams store critical account data, including:

  • Contact and account information (contact names, email addresses, phone numbers, SIC codes, addresses, etc.)
  • Lead sources
  • Sales rep names and activity history (calls, email messages, inquiries, etc.)
  • Purchase history
  • Projected revenue by customer
  • Marketing campaign data

CRM software helps automate many marketing campaign functions, the selling process, and customer retention activities.  CRM is a vital tool managers can use to forecast and measure activity and results, and marketers, sales reps and service reps can use to execute daily activities.

Customer Relationship Management Value

Why is CRM important? Every company needs a system for storing customer and prospect information. With the right CRM software, you gain knowledge and power to keep your team on track and measure progress against goals.

Customer relationship management software started gaining traction in the early 1990s. Most enterprises now have sophisticated software from vendors such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft. Small to mid-market companies use software from vendors like, Microsoft, Sage and a number of newer web-based applications like SugarCRM, Highrise and RightNow.

Growth specialist enables you determine how CRM software can add value to your marketing, selling, service, forecasting and sales management activities.  CRM improvements can fine tune and accelerate your marketing and sales execution, which increases revenue velocity and improves the top and bottom lines.

CRM Tools in Growth Panel

  • Evaluate Current CRM Software:  Evaluate what your current CRM software does well and where it needs improvement. Match business requirements to software functionality.
  • Evaluate the Benefits of New CRM:  Determine how CRM can help improve your marketing, sales and service processes. Decide whether to begin a new CRM implementation.
  • Create and Manage a CRM Implementation:  Define the requirements of a new CRM implementation. Evaluate different vendors, functionality, costs, integration capacity, customization, training, reporting and maintenance.  Recommend the final vendor, and create an implementation team and roll-out schedule to ensure a successful transition.

You might need to address CRM if:

  • Your current CRM doesn’t match your existing business processes
  • Your sales forecasting is not real-time
  • You’re not using your existing CRM
  • Management doesn’t access lead information throughout the sales process
  • You’re using a rudimentary contact manager, such as those in ACT!, Outlook or Excel
  • You’re not capturing marketing leads electronically