CRM Software Systems – An Introduction

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A Customer Relationship Management system, known by the acronym CRM, is an information system that helps companies and organizations manage their relationships and their communications with clients. A CRM enables businesses to manage customer information in a simpler and more convenient way, and create a shared database of customer data, available and accessible to all relevant users in the organization. The system allows you to track all customer contact history and making the communication with customers much more productive. The core functionality found in customer relationship management systems is a modular system, managing marketing, sales and customer service. There are CRM software systems that also include a project management module.

The main benefits CRM software brings to an organization:

* Improving knowledge of customers – the system allows organizations to collect and manage customer data, as well as analyzing it to gain insight into the nature of customers' preferences. This analysis allows the company to offer its customers products that match their profile preferences, thereby simultaneously benefitting both the customer and the company.

* Finding new customers – through analysis of existing customer data, a company can ascertain the profile of current customers, and then focus marketing and sales efforts on potential customers, who meets the given profile.

* Collecting customer feedback- a customer relationship management system allows a company to strengthen relationships with its customers and collect their reviews for statistical analysis. This data would give the company the opportunity to see its product through the eyes of the customer and gain an insight into market perceptions of the relative merits of its product.

* Managing partners, competitors, and sales, marketing and service teams – CRM systems include built-in tools to manage many processes related to customer relationship management, including modules for management of competitors, bids, marketing campaigns, corporate partnerships help desk and support request / error tickets.

* Increasing the profitability and effectiveness of the organization – a good CRM will improve and streamline business, by providing segments of relevant management data pointing both to the strengths in work processes, and to the weaknesses that require assessment and improvement. Moreover, computerizing processes in marketing sales and services will also save further time and money.

* Creating a single unified database – a CRM system serves as the center, housing all the data related to customer relationship management, in one place. This increases the availability of aggregate data, required by senior management for strategic decision making.

Types of CRM software

The software market offers a range of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of CRM offerings, designed for different types of organizations. There are CRM systems that offer structured processes for a broad range of businesses, making them suitable for most types of existing organizations and other CRM systems that are specifically tailor to certain business sectors. The most common types of CRM software are:

* CRM systems for call center management.

* CRM systems to manage telephone sales centers.

* CRM systems for marketing management and / or sales.

Another dimension in differentiating between the various customer relationship management systems is the size of the organization for which the system is meant. This is expressed both in the system complexity and in the cost. In the past, customer relationship management systems were considered heavy and expensive to implement, suitable for medium-large sized enterprises, but today you can find a variety of CRM systems, fast, and cheap to implement, that are suitable for small to medium sized businesses.

Another popular classification of CRM is by the software's main functionality:

* An operational CRM is designed to support all work processes in the organization that are related to the client.

* An analytical CRM is a customer relationship management system that supplies tools for analyzing the aggregate information in the system.

* A collaborative CRM is a system that allows a variety of channels of communication with the customer, when all the channels are connected to a single service center, and the information transmitted through these channels is stored in a central database.

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