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Posted on January 30, 2014 by Julie Short

The world of marketing is full of acronyms. Every modern marketer knows what an FAQ is, but other acronyms – CPC, CTR, and MFA, to name a few – are not as well understood by many of us. Here’s one you need to know: CRM. Whether you’re a marketing newbie or just interested in learning more about this mysterious acronym, here’s a quick guide to navigating CRM.

First things first: What does CRM stand for?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Successful CRM entails a company-wide strategy designed to increase profitability and reduce costs.

At the heart of this strategy, the company as a whole – especially the marketing, sales, and customer service departments – works to create a two-way interaction with its customers so as to better understand customer needs and behaviors.  An efficient CRM system imports relevant information from several sources into one central location, making this information available to your marketing team and other key players in your organization.

Marketers implement CRM through various methodologies, software and internet applications. These tools help you keep track of customers in an organized way.

What is CRM, really?

A theoretical definition is all well and good – but exactly what is CRM in practice and how can it help your business? Although CRM is a pretty simple concept, it has grown to include all kinds of software and strategies – mainly because various consulting firms and software vendors try to create their own brand of CRM.  Here’s a more application-focused explanation:

  • A CRM system compiles all of your customer information in a central location and makes it accessible across your team.
  • Marketing tools within CRM assess the effectiveness of your current email, social media, search, and telephone campaigns by tracking the number of responses, clicks, leads, and deals these methods generate.
  • CRM software can provide tech support to customers; automated customer service capabilities can increase efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Successful CRM helps you identify strong leads and focus your marketing energy on these high-potential leads.
  • An automated CRM system improves your bottom line by eliminating duplicate efforts, unnecessary expenses and ineffective campaigns.

Effective CRM tools organize, automate, and synchronize marketing, sales, technical support, and customer service efforts in a way that makes the information you gather meaningful and usable.

That is what’s tricky about CRM: its exact functions and capabilities vary widely from one system or organization to another – but the overarching meaning remains constant. You use CRM to learn what your customers need and want.

Implement CRM across the board at your company.

If you’ve been handling customer data and relationships manually, you might be put off by the idea of adding a whole new system to manage something you feel is under control. But there are a few factors – a lack of customized customer relations, unorganized customer data in a hundred different places – that might make you realize that your spreadsheets (or Rolodex – we won’t judge) just aren’t cutting it any more.

Ask your employees – and not just the marketing team – how they feel about their relationships with customers. If they feel strained or stretched in too many directions, it might be time to consider implementing an across-the-board CRM system.

Let the experts at Web Revelation help you implement an effective CRM strategy. You’ll finally have time to take care of your existing customers – and time to find new ones, too.

 

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