Customer relationship management (CRM) is a broad
term that covers concepts used by companies to manage their
relationships with customers, including the capture, storage and
analysis of customer, vendor, partner, and internal process information.
There are three main aspects of CRM, each of which
can be implemented independent of each other:
Operational - automation or support of customer processes that include a
company’s sales or service representative
Collaborative - direct communication with customers that does not
include a company’s sales or service representative
- analysis of customer data for a broad range of purposes
Operational CRM provides support to "front office"
business processes, including sales, marketing and service. Each
interaction with a customer is generally added to a customer's contact
history, and staff can retrieve information on customers from the
database when necessary.
One of the main BeYond Horizons of this contact
history is that customers can interact with different people or
different contact channels in a company over time without having to
describe the history of their interaction each time.
Collaborative CRM covers direct interaction with
customers, for a variety of different purposes, including feedback and
issue-reporting. Interaction can be through a variety of channels, such
as web pages, email, automated voice messaging or SMS.
Analytical CRM analyzes customer data for a
variety of purposes:
and execution of targeted marketing campaigns to optimize marketing
and execution of specific customer campaigns, including customer
acquisition, cross-selling, up-selling, retention
of customer behavior to aid product and service decision making (e.g.
pricing, new product development etc.)
Management decisions, such as financial forecasting and customer
Prediction of the probability of customer defection.
CRM is not a technology, but rather a
comprehensive approach to an organization's philosophy in dealing with
its customers. Any CRM implementation must move beyond technology,
towards the broader organizational requirements.
modules of CRM
A typical CRM system covers the following basic
Service-related functionalities are focused on
effectively managing the customer service, avoid "leakage" of
warranty-based services, avoid "penalties" arising due to non-conformity
of SLA (Service Level Agreements), and provide support to Customers.
Sales functionalities help the Sales team to
execute and manage the presales process better and in an organized
manner. The Sales team is responsible for regularly capturing key
customer interactions, any leads or opportunities they are working on
etc, in CRM system. The system helps by processing this data, monitoring
against the targets and proactively alerting the sales person with
recommended further actions based on company's sales policy.
Opportunities help the sales team by
organizing all the relevant data regarding a prospective deal into
one place. It is characterized by the details such as prospective
customer, expected budget, total spending, products interested in,
expected closing date, key players in the deal and their key
characteristics, important dates and milestones, etc.
The opportunity has several phases, e.g.
initiation, identification, qualification, RFP received, quotation
sent, final stage, won or lost, and these phases can be defined
based on individual company needs.
A CRM system helps in each phase by "guiding"
the sales representative to carry out certain suggested activities
as defined by the company's sales policy. It creates reminders and
planned activities within the system. Opportunities can be directly
converted into quotations or sales orders.
Quotation and sales order management
Opportunities, if they reach a quotation
phase, can be converted to a quotation, and, if won are converted to
a sales order. These sales orders then flow to the back-end ERP
system for fulfillment and delivery.
Activities represent various sales or service
related interactions with the customer. Activity management provides
a platform to consolidate all the interactions with customer into a
single platform, helping to build a 360 degree view of customer.
Marketing involves providing functionalities for
long-term planning and short-term execution of marketing-related
activities within an organization.
Long-term market plans can be made and
quantitative as well as qualitative measures can be set for a
defined period and for different product groups, geographies etc.
These are then monitored based on the actual performance throughout
the defined period.
Short-term execution includes running
marketing campaigns via different communication channels targeting a
predefined group of potential buyers with a specific message
referring to a product or a group of products.
One key objective of the marketing function is
to generate sales-related leads, which finally get converted into
sales revenues for the company. Lead management deals with
processing these leads, carrying out a sanity check, evaluating the
genuineness of the information and converting them to hot leads or
Enterprise Resource Planning
CRM is also related to broader enterprise resource
planning (ERP) tools. ERP is an industry term for the broad set of
activities supported by multi-module application software that helps a
manufacturer or other business to manage the important parts of its
activities. This can include product planning, purchasing, maintaining
inventories, interacting with suppliers, providing customer service, and
tracking orders. ERP can also include application modules for the
finance and human resources aspects of a business. Typically, an ERP
system uses or is integrated with a relational database