CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.
The Australian Government’s site www.digitalbusiness.gov.au describes the purpose of a CRM tool as a means to manage your customers, supporters or donors and the products you offer them.
It allows you to profile individual customer interests—to see what services they are signed up to, what they are paying, the status of provisioning and all other details which relate to the life cycle of the business-customer relationship.
CRM software consists of a graphical user interface that you use to populate a database with information about previous, current and potential clients, including interactions between them and your organisation. Having a good CRM system and using it well can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your e-commerce and online marketing efforts.
With a CRM software application up and running and a set of guidelines on its effective use, the information entered into it will start to generate valuable insights. You can also import data in bulk from existing spreadsheets, or set up your website or email marketing campaigns to automatically populate your CRM database with information. The right choice of CRM package and degree of integration with your other marketing and sales systems can deliver tangible benefits to you and your customers, supporters or donors.
- From your client’s point of view, they can receive higher quality more personalised service and product information. For example, you could use CRM software to customise the display of items in your online store according to earlier purchases made from you. This is similar to how a site such as Amazon.com recommends books to users that are similar or complementary to books they have previously purchased.
- Your front line sales or fundraising staff can use a CRM system to keep track of past and planned interactions with individuals to help them better understand your clients’ needs. For example, a community services organisation can use a CRM system to provide better case management, meaning clients do not need to tell the organisation the full backgrounds to their situations each time they make contact with it.
- Your organisation can benefit from the powerful insights a CRM system can provide into the overall operations of your organisation. CRM software can generate reports that with further analysis can help you understand the current state of your business, emerging trends or opportunities for the future. For example, an online retailer could generate a report that compares the average spend per customer for the current and previous financial years.
CRM can provide you with a centralised and standardised way of achieving a number of outcomes, including:
- A unified overview of important information—most CRM systems are based on a central database where you can centrally store, organise and share all your sales or donation-related information such as contacts, quotes, sales meeting notes, emails, calendar.
- Collaborative process—sharing the above information allows users to easily organise meetings, contribute to each other’s activities, or automatically transfer knowledge on specific projects.
- Organising and automating processes—CRM optimises the allocation of time and resources, and can reduce effort wasted on likely inefficient leads.
- Marketing campaigns—most CRM programs are capable of building marketing campaigns (email, posted mail) to a specific list of contacts selected from the database.
- Mobility, web integration and remote access—CRM software now offers mobile platforms for remote access by users on the road, with full access to company resources (such as contacts, calendar and activities) anywhere, anytime.
- Reporting—CRM software can automatically detail reports on business activities, such as opportunity, review, sales and revenue analysis, marketing actions or project planning. Reports generally use standard formats that can be integrated with other software applications such as spreadsheets and word processors.
The video below describes exactly how a CRM system works and how it can be used to help your business