WHAT IS A CRM SYSTEM?
The guide for beginners
With Customer Relationship Management, or CRM for short, you put your customer’s needs at the heart of all business processes.
Basic goals are customer acquisition and customer loyalty. For this purpose, you not only formulate an individual CRM strategy, but can also be supported by a suitable CRM system in customer-friendly process design. The following information will help you get started in the world of CRM and provide you with practical tips.
What is a CRM system?
Your view of CRM?
There is no definition, because Customer Relationship Management is not an isolated instrument, but flows into business processes as part of the company’s philosophy. Therefore, the respective structure of the company determines the individual CRM definition.
Read more about goals, shapes and strategies in our detailed CRM definition.
Five key CRM terms
1. CRM – Attempting a definition
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the focus of a company on its customers. The basic goals are customer acquisition and customer loyalty. Therefore, CRM is concerned with designing business processes around existing and potential customers.
By collecting all relevant data with a CRM software,the marketing can be tailored exactly to the needs of customers and is therefore called relationship marketing. This management concept enables the increase of the company’s success.
2. CRM software
CRM software supports the optimization of customer relationship management. It records all relevant customer data and transactions in a structured manner and thus relieves the burden on the various divisions that are related to customers. The software increases the efficiency of all areas and relationships. For example, CRM software can be used to create offers for individual customers or customer groups individually. Or the company increases customer loyalty by tailor-made service. Further and more detailed information can be found here:
CRM in Sales
CRM in Marketing
CRM for Service and IT
3. Introduction of a CRM system
The CRM introduction deals on the one hand with the implementation of CRM software in the company and on the other hand with the design of the customer management processes. The typical project is divided into seven phases: analysis of requirements, technical implementation, pilot operation, user training, reorganization, rollout and acceptance.
4. The key CRM approaches
Evaluation of data from the operational business on the basis of KPIs for the evaluation of requirements for the products.
The supporting function of the CRM system for the departments for establishing contacts and maintaining customer relationships.
Deals with cooperation within the company and with external partners.
Controls all communication channels with focus on the customer.
Extension of the classic customer relationship management through dialogue with users of social media channels, i.e. social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, XING etc. (social media integration)
5. CRM with all stakeholders of a company = xRM
xRM (Any-Relationship-Management) is based on customer relationship management and as an advanced form deals with the design of relationships with all contacts of a company (customers, partners, suppliers, employees, machines). This includes all linked tasks such as projects, contracts, logs, inventory, etc.
Who is a CRM suitable for?
Areas & Industries for the Use of a CRM Solution
Are you wondering if your employees need a tool at all? And if so, are everyone really?
Find out in our blog article Who needs CRM? , which divisions benefit from a CRM system.
Here is an overview:
CRM Tool for Teams
- Event management
- Finance & Accounting
- Employee development
- Public administration
- Service & IT
- Central management
CRM Tool for Industries
CRM tool for company sizes
- Groups & large companies
- Medium-sized companies
- Small Companies & Start-ups
Benefits of a CRM system
What do you use a CRM system for in your company?
A good CRM system offers numerous benefits for you and your employees. They promote transparent, team-oriented work, increase the efficiency of your various departments, and provide metrics for analysis and conclusions. All of this helps you to bind existing customers more closely to you and generate new customers. Go one step further with your goals and create positive customer experiences with the CRM system – Customer Experience.
Read more about the benefits of a CRM system s in our blog article.
Technical basis for CRM systems
Customer management software serves your company as a central CRM databasein which data about your customers and prospects is stored and which can be accessed from any location at any time.
How does a CRM system work?
You track all interactions between your prospects and customers with your company with CRM software. With the help of the software, you can form and maintain long-term relationships that inspire your customers (New German: Customer Experience Management). The system can also be used to organize relationships with partners and suppliers. The CRM programs help you grow your business.
In addition to contact details, you also store service requests and customer preferences. They record phone calls, e-mails, meetings and presentations and place notes, files, appointments, contracts, products and other planning directly in the electronic customer file. Today, 90 percent of the communication is via e-mail clients. Therefore, 100% e-mail integration into the CRM system is extremely important.
This means that their employees have the opportunity to quickly access all up-to-date information and letter and e-mail templates as well as forms, etc., in order to advise their customers individually or to provide them with relevant content, for example via e-mail marketing. Every user benefits from a light, manageable workflow as your company’s customer base and profits grow. This is an enormous relief in the area of operational CRM.
Your sales also don’t miss any opportunities. Extensive knowledge of your customers also supports the perception of cross- and up-selling opportunities.
With CRM in marketing, your fellow bidders know your potential customers exactly and target them. Both departments actively edit CRM campaigns with phone and email campaigns through campaign management.
The quality of the service is also increasing, thanks to faster response times and comprehensive background information for each customer request.
Department managers and top management benefit from the customer data in the system. Dashboards and reports help you manage your business.
What are its essential characteristics?
A CRM system brings versatile features and features that support your business at a variety of stages of the business process.
Some properties serve as the basis for central and transparent communication within the company. Others provide targeted support for sales, marketing and service as well as their exchange. Read in detail how the software supports you and your employees in the blog article Properties of a CRM system.
CRM software in comparison
How do you make the right choice?
For the CRM selection, it’s important to think about what your business needs. This means that they should look at your processes, structures, and business processes and identify where functions of a CRM can be helpful and which they can do without. Think of the important questions: Do we want to use an on-premise or cloud solution? And if so, as a software-as-a-service?
From there, it will be much easier to define your must-haves and thus exclude or exclude providers.
Valuable tips for CRM comparison
Our blog article 9 Questions about CRM Comparison will help you ask yourself the right questions before you start selecting a provider.
Note: A good CRM system integrates into your existing IT infrastructure and connects to your ERP system in the best possible way.
Checklist for your CRM selection
Use our CRM Requirements Overview checklistto compare the capabilities of different vendors and define your own CRM requirements.
Introduction of a CRM system
Once the selection of a cloud-based CRM system has been made, a competent consultant is at your disposal. Nevertheless, there are some pitfalls in the CRM system implementation process. Read our blog article The 7 Phases of Introducing a CRM Systemto learn what to expect and what to look out for.
Free e-book on CRM introduction
For more information, see our CRM-Wiki page on CRM Introduction.
Or in our detailed e-book In 15 stages to CRM – From the CRM idea to the implementation.
The right use of CRM systems
Dos & Don’ts after CRM introduction
1. DON’T: See CRM only as software
Don’t forget that CRM isn’t just about integrating software into your business, it’s also about implementing your CRM strategy.
2. DO: Involve employees
The CRM project stands and falls with your employees. Involve your employees’ input, make sure employees are aware of the benefits of CRM and receive the appropriate training to deal with the new software system.
3. DO: Regularly evaluate the CRM system
A CRM lives and grows with your company. Therefore, it is important to periodically review CRM system and strategy with regard to processes, users and technology and, if necessary, to consider updates.
4. DON’T: Expect ROI directly
The ROI of your CRM system will not occur overnight. This is a process that takes time. However, before the introduction, consider which data you can use to verify and determine the ROI (e.g. customer satisfaction). You will see that success will come.
5. DO: Communication!!
Maintain open communication with your employees and the CRM team. If difficulties or suggestions for improvement are not heard and discussed, CRM will not be able to work optimally for your business and will not bring the success you desire.