CRM Software – Finding the Right Solution

BusinessManagement

  • Author Antony Dutton
  • Published April 21, 2010
  • Word count 731

CRM software solutions have progressed considerably in recent times. While the key ingredient in a successful system is always the design and planning, the software solution can also make or break your CRM. The first step is to plan your system based on your needs - and then match a best of breed solution that best fits those requirements.

Obtaining expert knowledge of the market leading CRM platforms is critical if you want a truly tailored CRM system - designed to improve your business from day one, and be robust enough to grow as your business grows.

What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. You can find a number of different definitions for CRM. CRM does not stand still; it evolves as "CRM solutions" are used in a greater number of ways. This has now been termed xRM - Anything Relationship Management.

CRM is a process or methodology used to learn more about customers' needs and behaviours in order to develop stronger relationships with them. There are many technological components to CRM, but thinking about CRM in primarily technological terms is a mistake. Traditionally, the more useful way to think about CRM is as a process that will help bring together lots of pieces of information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends.

CRM helps businesses use technology and human resources to gain insight into the behaviour of customers and the value of those customers.

Using CRM, a business can:

  • Provide better customer service

  • Increase customer revenues

  • Discover new customers

  • Cross sell/Up Sell products more effectively

  • Help sales staff close deals faster

  • Make call centres more efficient

  • Simplify marketing and sales processes

CRM software traditionally has a number of 'out-of-the-box' modules that can be turned on and off. Each vendor application has different features.

Sales Force Automation

  • Contact management stores, tracks and manages contacts, leads of an enterprise.

  • Lead management enables an organisation to manage, track and forecast sales leads. Also helps to understand and ROI on campaigns improve conversion rates and lead campaign management.

eCRM or Web based CRM

  • Self Service CRM enables web based customer interaction, automation of email, call logs, web site analytics, campaign management and more.

  • Survey Management Software automates an enterprise's Electronic Surveys, Polls, and Questionnaires and enables you to understand customer preferences.

Customer Service

  • Call Centre Software provides the ability for Agents to manage large volumes of calls that need to be managed by the call centre. Ensures agents are kept as productive as possible, and that calls are queued and processed as quickly as possible, resulting in good levels of service.

  • Help Desk Software enables the support of clients / employees / customers for both inbound and outbound environments. The software has the ability to generally create a knowledgebase of resolutions and the ability to create SLAs (or escalation timeframe criteria). Management can report on Agent KPI performance, resolution time and more.

  • Service Desk Software has evolved from Help Desk Software. However, Service Desk Software does more than resolve a 'Case' or 'Incident'. It incorporates ITIL best practices, bringing together the best in management practices with the best in technology.

Partner Relationship Management

  • Contract Management Software enables an enterprise to create, track and manage partnerships, contracts, and agreements.

  • Distribution Management Software enables an enterprise to create, track and manage distributorships, contracts, and agreements.

xRM

xRM (Anything Relationship Management) is the natural evolution of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). In today's dynamic business environment, companies demand the ability to manage anything (X=anything), not simply relationships with customers.

The "X" part of the equation stands for any and all aspects of business, not just relationships with customers. Nowadays, companies need a unified platform that connects every part of their operations so that each piece works together seamlessly. When using business-critical applications like sales, accounting and administration, employees need the ability to easily access data from one place. Most importantly, that data needs to make sense to all departments so that communication can flow in every direction smoothly and quickly.

xRM is more than a CRM product or service-it's a strategic approach to understanding what makes a business thrive, what information needs to be tracked, by whom, and how it needs to be displayed and leveraged to facilitate better decisions. The formula for a successful xRM deployment always includes scalable and robust platforms that automate many of the manual processes involved in daily operations.

Antony Dutton is Managing Director and co-founder of Aaromba -

CRM software & service management software specialists. Aaromba uses best of breed technology and methodologies, designing solutions to improve sales and marketing for CRM software including Microsoft CRM Software and Goldmine CRM Software.

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