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What Is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. This is an integrated system of managing data which is used to schedule, plan, and control both the post-sale and the pre-sale activities engaged in by a marketing agent or an organization. CRM's objective is to improve long-term profits and growth of a company. Call center activity, field support, indirect and direct sales, and marketing efforts are all covered by CRM. It is believed that CRM systems provide more accurate feedback and better-focused data concerning the aforementioned areas. The first component of CRM that was ever made available was SFA, or “sales force automation”.

Automated field service, call center activity, and SFA were all running down parallel tracks during most of the 1990s and late in that decade all of those began to merge with marketing plans to finally coalesce into CRM. So. CRM is actually not a technology and not something tangible at all. During the dot-com era, many people began to think of CRM as a technology in its own right. There are those who have implemented CRM technology just because they are technophiles or think that any new technology can in and of itself increase their business' profits.

But CRM technology is not about that. Too many businesses start using CRM technology without the slightest idea of how it is supposed to be used, or what the true CRM principles are. This is nothing other than putting the cart before the horse. CRM is supposed to reflect your methodology of doing sales and marketing and customer service, supported by data and by the interpersonal relationship that you have with each individual customer that does business with you. CRM technology enables a front line person, a sales or marketing agent or a customer service rep, to instantly access all of the most relevant and important data about a client when that client contacts you, and use that data to give a personalized, relevant, and up-to-date response to the client. CRM technology implementation lets you have smooth transitions between stages of a client's relationship with you both in terms of projects and in terms of the client's own activity. At the same time, you keep very detailed and accurate notes about every contact with a client.


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