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What is CRM?

February 05, 2015 // Posted by Jeff D.

 

Overview/History

CRM is short for ''Customer Relationship Management'' and is a structured system or tool that allows a company to manage relationships, activities, and communication with its customers. Traditionally these software solutions used in-house servers or were “on-premise”. CRMs that are hosted and managed on-premise are typically managed by a company’s IT department.  Recently we've seen a shift towards Cloud Based Software or SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions.  The benefit to this type of software is that it requires no maintenance by an internal IT department.  Juggernaut CRM is classified as SaaS.

Typical modules or features of a CRM include: Sales Forecasting, Contact/Lead Management, Relationship History, Marketing and a few others.  Some CRM's may even include the ability to create quotes/orders, integrate with financial systems and manage projects.  

 

So, what's the point?

Your CRM should be a sales tool, leading most solutions to focus heavily on the sales process.  A good CRM will help your sales managers structure and monitor their sales teams’ activity, allowing them to evaluate whether leads and opportunities are worthy of follow up.  Tracking opportunities is critical for a sales organization. An organized pipeline that contains valuable potential sales and revenue estimates becomes the lifeline of your sales team. This relevant opportunity information is usually kept in one central database and it helps managers by giving a real-time window into sales status. Most often this information can be displayed for quick access by using eye-catching graphics and charts from a dashboard.  At your sales teams' fingertips is now the ability to capture key customer interactions such as calls, meetings, emails, etc. These give the sales managers valuable data that they can use to process and compare sales quotas against actual sales.

CRMs can automatically alert salespeople as well as sales assistants with recommended courses of action.  A good CRM will provide standardized communication templates, which can decrease a sales rep's time on admin activities. This notification process is also known as “automated workflow” and can be customized to match your company's internal and external sales policies.

A sales team is almost never alone in their efforts to develop qualified leads.  Any quality CRM will have something for your marketing team as well. Information such as budgets, targets, and campaign-related tasks can also be stored.  These campaign types might take form in many different ways: TV and radio ads, trade shows, magazines, etc., and may target many different potential customers.  All details of these campaigns are important; aggregate these leads into a CRM to give you an accurate measurement of the success of each marketing campaign.

CRM software should help give you better insight into your sales and marketing process.  It should also decrease the amount of administrative work your average sales rep is required to perform.  A well thought-out and strategically implemented CRM solution can greatly improve your business processes and provide visibility into critical business intelligence metrics making your sales team more efficient and effective.