Customer Relationship Management - A Primer

Companies that want to retain profitable clients may want to create a bond with them. Bonding, in terms of establishing a valued relationship by means of marketing, sales, services and technical support, can help grow a business and drive it to new levels of success and productivity.

The term that models this behavior in managing a company's interactions with its clients – a corporation's most valued asset – is customer relationship management (CRM ).

CRM, as the acronym indicates, uses a customer-focused approach or customer-centric strategy supported by information technology that helps companies manage their current and future clients in an effective way

Ever since companies began to focus on it (mid 1990's), it has helped to improve communication between both parties and has often provided an opportunity to automate business processes and integrate a software solution that targets business requirements, like managing customer contacts and account information.

Some of the major competitors and leading providers of customer management software applications, according to recent statistics on market share, include:

•  Oracle Siebel (a renowned supplier of client-server CRM software and cloud CRM)

•  SAP (that offers several on-premise CRM products as well as an online solution)

•  Microsoft (software giant that offers MS Dynamics CRM Online)

• (that, like Microsoft, presents a software-as-a-service CRM solution)

CRM implementation may not be for everyone, but it can provide value and serve companies in a useful way - mass-market advertising, increase sales, managing business activities to automating processes and enhancing the customer experience are such examples.

Many agree that CRM integration has simplified business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) interactions…widespread adoption and use confirms it has fulfilled many business needs while being a very cost-effective solution.

Regardless of the type of CRM software a business selects, cloud CRM or a social CRM solution (which is growing in use each year) and whatever the reasons for CRM adoption, implementing a CRM system has paid-off for many users. Up to this day, it has helped many companies in different industries proactively reinforce their mission, culture and values.

However, as with any new system in place that uses information technologies, it could have drawbacks and might not meet all expectations.

CRM applications hosted in the cloud for example leave it up to a third-party vendor to take care of everything This includes control of company's date, which of course could pose a problem.

If a company believes this to be a drawback, an on-premise CRM software might be the ideal solution as it can give the business the confidence of being able to gain control of stored customer-related information when needed without worrying about the consequences if the remote CRM system were to have an outage. Overhead costs associated with running CRM software may be a second drawback and something that a business must consider well before implementing the system.

To make CRM work, everyone in the business must be committed to it. In addition, everyone must be fully aware of what capabilities it will sustain in order to use it at its fullest potential, deliver business value as well as enhance customers' experience. .

For starters, there are at least four types of CRM systems available: operational, collaborative, portal-based and analytical .

In a nutshell, a good CRM system can benefit a customer-focused business. Today, it can be the answer to a company's problem to integrate and automate many business-serving processes and carry out all essential applications in order to interact effectively with its customers.

Over time, customer relationship management will become an integral part of many businesses' everyday activities. Solutions like Microsoft CRM for instance have allowed companies to be more proactive in sales and customer service.

Making information available in one place, improving the flow of data across the company all while boosting customer relationships and keeping better track of business sales, marketing and customer data.

If your firm is searching for a way to better manage its data, CRM consultants at Innovative Architects possess decades of experience helping companies harness IT resources to save time and money. To discuss your individual company needs, please contact us today for a free consultation.