WHAT IS A CRM SYSTEM?
The great guide for beginners
Customer relationship management, or CRM for short, is about putting 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?
There is no “the-one-and-only” Definition of a CRM. CRM is not an isolated instrument, but is incorporated 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 CRM goals, forms and strategies in our detailed CRM definition.
Five short definitions of the CRM term
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the orientation of a company towards its customers. The basic goals are customer acquisition and customer loyalty. Therefore, CRM is concerned with shaping business processes around prospects and 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.
3. CRM Introduction
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 CRM project is divided into seven phases: analysis of requirements, technical implementation, pilot operation, user training, reorganization, roll out and acceptance.
4. CRM Forms
Analytical CRM: Evaluation of data from the operational business on the basis of KPIs for the evaluation of requirements for the products.
Operational CRM: The supporting function of the CRM system for the departments for establishing contact and maintaining customer relationships.
Collaborative CRM: Deals with cooperation within the company and with external partners.
Communicative CRM: Controls all communication channels with a focus on the customer.
xRM (Any-Relationship-Management) is based on CRM (Customer-Relationship Management) and deals as a further developed form 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.
Areas & Industries for the use of a CRM System
Who is a CRM suitable for?
Do you wonder if your employees need a CRM 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 for departments such as
- Event management
- Finance & Accounting
- Employee development
- Public administration
- Service & IT
- Central management
CRM for industries, e.g.
CRM for business sizes
- Business Units & Corporate Groups
- Medium-sized companies
- Small Companies & Start-ups
Benefits of a CRM system
What does a CRM system bring to your company?
CRM systems offer numerous benefits for you and your employees. They promote transparent, team-oriented work, increase the efficiency of your departments, and provide key metrics for analysis and conclusions. All of this helps you to bind existing customers more closely to you and generate new customers.
Read more about the Benefits of a CRM system in our blog article.
Functions & properties of a CRM system
A CRM system serves as a central anchor point for your company, where data about your customers and prospects is stored and which can be reached 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 a CRM system. With CRM, you can form and maintain long-term relationships. The system can also be used to organize relationships with partners and suppliers. The CRM system supports you in helping 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.
This allows their employees to quickly access all up-to-date information at any time in order to advise your customers individually or to provide them with relevant content. Every user benefits from a light, manageable workflow as your company’s customer base and profits grow.
Your sales also don’t miss any opportunities. Extensive knowledge of your customers also supports the perception of cross- and up-selling opportunities.
Marketing knows your potential customers well and addresses them with precision. Both departments actively edit the sales campaigns with campaign management.
The quality of the service is also increasing, thanks to faster response times and comprehensive background information for each customer request.
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.
Choosing the right CRM system
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. 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. Also, use our CRM Requirements Overview checklist to compare the capabilities of different vendors and set your own CRM requirements.
Introduction of a CRM system
Once a CRM system has been selected, 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 System to learn what to expect and what to look out for.
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.