What is CRM?
Customer - or Client - Relationship Management (CRM) is a set of processes which serve to increase your sales results by intelligently linking information you already have in a central database. You can then manipulate this data in a variety of ways and get a superior view of your sales activities.
A CRM system is often referred to as an address book on steroids. In one of these you keep your customer (Accounts) details easily to hand and add information about each person (Contacts) you speak with or write to. Every time you phone, write or email a customer (Activity) you note it down in the system.
A CRM system is often referred to as an address book on steroids
If you send an email from inside the system it will get automatically added to the entry for the recipient. You can link different contacts on your system when you find out who reports to who at the customer account. In todays mobile world you can access the system from your iPhone/Android device, although this usually costs extra.
If you demonstrate your products at an exhibition and come away with a thousand business cards from visitors to your stand, you enter them as Leads. Most leads will come to nothing, but the few that do can be converted to Contacts. If they show interest in buying something you can open an Opportunity and, finally, when they do buy you open an Account for their company in the system. The following list is very expressive:
Lead = Something swimming in your favorite fishing hole
Contact = Fish
Account = School of Fish
Opportunity = Fishing rod
Closed/Won Opportunity = Lunch
Closed/Lost Opportunity = The one that got away
Campaign = Planning and preparation for the big fishing trip
Other people can now access the information, even though you also can restrict access to information at different levels. This can be useful if you use a third-party call centre and do not want them to see sensitive existing customer information. Or if different departments in your company should not have full access to all information, for instance customer bank details should be available to people in your accounts department, not really to the sales office.
A CRM system is all this and lots more...!
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