There are many abbreviations in business language today. Some you may recognise whilst others may leave you confused. CRM is a relatively new term and one which you may not have encountered before. Put simply, it stands for Customer Relationship Management. You may be asking yourself how it relates to your business but if you need to understand your customers’ buying behaviour and attitudes better, are concerned with retaining your existing customers and attracting new ones, it’s something you need to think about seriously.
How Are CRM Systems Used?
CRM systems are used to cohesively bring together information from all parts of an organisation’s data sources to analyse each customer as an individual. This information can then be used by sales or customer support teams or by marketing departments to make real-time customer service decisions involving sales and furthering customer choice.
CRM software is part of a triple-pronged approach – technology, people and processes. The technology must assist organisations in managing their customer relationships by making it easy for customer-facing employees to access information and then feed it back, allowing analysis and improvement of the company’s customer satisfaction processes.
As more and more business is done on-line today, CRM software systems have had to adapt to new and challenging methods of data collection. Changes in customers’ buying behaviour, via their mobile phone, for example, allow precisely targeted and highly-personalised marketing and companies now have the opportunity to engage with their customers on a one-to-one basis.
CRM for Small Businesses
In large organisations CRM systems are backed by dedicated teams of developers, analysts and IT staff who set up the systems, analyse the results and ensure the systems are working effectively. If you run a small business, you may not have the resources to employ such staff or to invest in large technology projects, especially if your company is relatively new. Therefore, the needs of small businesses are met by what are called ‘lightweight’ CRM systems which are designed to handle smaller amounts of data, utilise different IT systems and have specific applications which have been custom-designed to meet their individual needs.
Hosted CRM Systems
The way that this new approach to CRM works is to use Cloud-based systems. You may already be familiar with this virtual server system if you synch your iPod’s contents to back up your music. All an organisation’s applications and data are held on a provider’s server and accessed through a browser. This enables the company to reduce its IT and CRM spend.
Web-based, or hosted, CRM systems are growing in popularity thanks to their simplicity of use and for the cost benefits that organisations encounter. Systems can be tailored exactly to the company’s precise needs without software, database, hardware or infrastructure implications and can become active within a very short space of time, enabling business owners to see the benefits almost immediately.
This post was written on behalf of icomplete.com – Small Business CRM. There are a wide range of hosted CRM systems available today, many of which can be costly, so shop around and see which system is best for your business.