CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it’s a technology for managing and supporting customer relationships. CRM technology helps companies build and grow customer relationships across the entire customer lifecycle. It helps teams across marketing, sales, commerce, service, and IT with the tools and information they need for personalized and consistent customer experiences that drive business value.
A CRM system allows businesses to manage customer and prospect relationships with data. You can store, track, and analyze customer and prospect information in one central location, including:
- Contact info
- Sales opportunities
- Service inquiries
- Marketing campaigns
And, since this information lives in the cloud, this up-to-date data can be shared and analyzed by teams across the company in real time.
How does a CRM work?
As a provider of a product or service, you want to start building an informed, long-term relationship with consumers or businesses who could benefit from what you sell. As your company grows, these connections become more sophisticated. Commerce is no longer just a transaction between the buyer and the seller. Whether you’re selling business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), or direct-to-consumer (D2C), you need to manage a myriad of connections with your buyer across a number of platforms (web, social, customer service, etc.), partners, and interactions with your brand.
Inside your organization, you need to share information about your customers with multiple teams – like sales, marketing, service, business operations, finance, distribution, and production. A CRM system can serve as a vital nerve center to track, manage, and analyze the many connections you have with your customer. With visibility and easy access to all customer data, a CRM system can give you a clear 360-degree view of the customer, all in one place.
Access to the right data fuels the next critical benefit of CRM: process automation. A CRM streamlines day-to-day tasks like executing marketing campaigns, forecasting new sales opportunities, and routing service cases. Teams can work smarter to deliver seamless customer experiences. Built-in artificial intelligence tools make CRM technologies like Salesforce Customer 360 even more helpful, using machine learning and predictive analytics to help teams stay ahead of customer needs and expectations.
Who should use a CRM system?
CRM systems got their start as tools for sales and marketing, but customer service teams see big benefits from a CRM platform as well.
Customers may start by sending your brand a Tweet. Later, they may switch to email or phone to resolve an issue in private. They have multiple channels to choose from when looking to interact with your brand. A CRM platform helps service teams manage customer requests coming in from all channels without missing a beat.
As customer relationships become more digitally enabled and distributed, B2B and B2C commerce teams increasingly use CRM for more personalized and relevant buying experiences. IT also relies on CRM data to develop new, value-added apps.
Why your organization should get started with CRM:
With CRM in the cloud, there’s no hardware to set up or upgrade, keeping IT costs low. You don’t need to install software on every computer and mobile device in the organization worldwide.
By moving data, software, and services into a secure online cloud environment, businesses can increase productivity, reduce costs, and scale. Cloud-based CRM systems mean every user is working from the same automatically synced information – no more data gaps, and everyone is up to speed. Teams can work anywhere and everywhere, build new ideas, and get to know their customers like never before.