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What is CRM?

CRM = Customer Relationship Management.
The methodologies and tools that help a company manage customer relationships.
But what is it really? CRM products must give your business the ability to manage the three key aspects of your customer relationships:

Marketing - before they become your customer.

Sales - making them your customer.

Support - keeping them as your customer.

How can CRM help me?
The ways a CRM product can help your business include:

1. Marketing Automation
A CRM package can help you maintain a database of current and prospective customers and automate marketing tasks to reach them.

2. Sales Force Automation
Your sales force can use a CRM package to get customer information when they need it, track customers through the sales funnel, and help manage their time so they can concentrate on what they are good at. This includes giving mobile sales people access to the CRM package through handheld-devices using packages such as Dancrai's PocketCRM system.

3. Customer Service/Support
Customer service and after sales support staff can benefit from a CRM package that helps them address customer questions, problems and issues, as well as managing follow-up calls or emails. Increasingly this includes handling web queries and web-based customer self-service support areas.

4. Field Service Management
Your CRM package can help your field service staff manage and process on-site customer service calls. This includes giving field service staff remote access to the CRM package through handheld-devices using packages such as Dancrai's InTouch system.

5. Help Desk
A CRM package give your help desk the ability to tightly manage your important assets (IT or physical), as well as reacting to and sometimes even predicting customer issues quickly and effectively. The provision of web-based customer self-service help tools is also a feature of some CRM packages.

6. Partner Relationship Management
If channel partners are an important part of your business then your CRM package can help administer and report on your channel program, manage training and knowledgebases and manage joint marketing initiatives.

7. Sales Effectiveness Systems
Your CRM package can also help improve the effectiveness of your sales force through interactive sales coaching, presentation/proposal development tools and configuration tools that let you the sales force configure the customer's solution at the time of sale.