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CRM or Customer Relationship Management

CRM or Customer Relationship Management

You definitely want to have a successful and profitable business, which encourages you to find a tool and resources to accomplish this task. We sometimes invent new things, but on a few occasions old technologies become advanced to help us achieve our goals.

Customer Relationship Management is a term to define a bond between a business and its customers. If the business is not on good terms with its customers and clients, we say that they do not know how to deal, and how to retain them. We start analyzing their skills using current market conditions, profit and loss statements, business news, social media, discussion forums etc.

Lots of users and industry experts talk about different brands, their current market conditions, customer service, quality etc. Those users and experts do not use CRM to analyze all such things. They just use their business acumen, and a human chain of knowledge and information, which is formed via social media, forums, community talks, personal interaction etc., where billions of people connect every day to share their ideas and opinions.

It is not owned by one person or organization in this world. We exactly don't know how CRM was born. In ancient times, when people made efforts, executed sales, service, and marketing activities to sell their products, they were not aware of this technology because it was in budding age. CRM technology was evolving. People were unknowingly using it to sell more & more.

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a technology, which is getting advanced every day, every month, and every year.

Some guys think that CRM is a tool, but it is not. You may want to ask the difference between a tool and a technology. A tool is smaller than a technology. Tools are just a part of the technology. One technology can provide many tools to handle various tasks. For example, CRM provides different kinds of tools like Lead Management system, Customer Support system, Marketing, Analytics, AI or Artificial intelligence, Social Media integration etc. to manage and accelerate sales, service, and marketing activities.

Very flexible, allows all possible customizations and configurations to make this system more & more powerful by using different types of hardware setups, Application Software, JavaScript, APIs, Programming Languages, Internet of Things, Web Pages, Forms plug-ins, etc.

There are four types of CRM systems - 

CRM or Customer Relationship Management Types

On-Premise - You install and control everything like customer data, leads, business insights, and other important information. Let's understand this using a very simple example. We all use computers (desktops). We can install RAMs, Hard Drives, Operating Systems, Graphic Cards etc. Everything (data and information) is stored on our computers. We are responsible for security, and it completely depends on us if we want to share that information or not because everything is controlled by us. Similarly, On-Premise system works. The owner of the system can install SQL Servers, RAMs, Operating Systems, 
solutions and other required components. The owner completely owns the data, and responsible for the administration, security and maintenance. Because you install it on your private server, it does not mean that you cannot access your CRM while you are away (in any part of the world). You can use Internet Facing Deployment to access it. 

Cloud-based or Online Information is stored on an external server, which is controlled and maintained by a third party. You just need an internet connection to access it. You can customize and configure the system to meet your business needs. In simple terms, you go to the website of your service provider. On home page, enter your login details to access the CRM data that can include all details and information about your customers, your employees, leads, sales etc. This is definitely a cost-effective option and cheaper than On-Premises, but data security is a major concern. You don't know anything about it. What is happening in the background? Where is the server located? How many people are involved in the maintenance of the data? Slowly and gradually, companies are identifying these issues, and they have started revealing such vital information to their customers to gain trust and popularity. This type of system is also called "SaaS (software as a service)" or "On-Demand CRM".   

Hybrid - Such type of system talks about the features of On-Premise and Cloud-based CRM. Some information is on an external server, which is maintained by a third party. And, rest of the information is on your private server (On-Premises). This setup works well when you don't want to spend a lot of money on your private setup. You do want to have your own server, but only for some important and sensitive data like customers contact details, their bank information, leads, internal security reports etc. On the other hand, you can use the external server for your social media activities, brand promotions, unimportant emails, the reports that are already available in public domain etc.

Open source - When a service provider provides the source code of their CRM platform. The source code is publicly available. You go to the website of the service provider, and build your own system using the source code. You can customize and configure it the way you want. You can add REST APIs, Web Pages, Forms, JavaScript, Internet of Things, Social Media channels, integration with different types of Applications etc. It gives you unlimited and fully functional access. For example, you want that the interface of CRM should match your company's theme and brand image, you can easily achieve this.

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Sales - Build a very strong lead management system using a CRM platform, and check the performance of your sales team, products, campaigns etc. from anywhere. You can sell more because there is no need to spend time on those activities, which can be easily automated. For example, you want to send emails to your customers or you want to send them messages on their mobile phones or other administrative work. You can see the history of all customers' communications like why customers don't buy your products, why they stop using the products, why they like your competitor's product etc. Track and analyze data for cross-selling, reselling, and reactivation. Your sales team is always aware what they need to do at every stage of the sale. You just need one screen and one location to manage everything like your sales team, their performance, sales figures, how your competitor is doing, current status of a deal, all types of sales reports etc.  

Customer Support - We all believe in customer service. A user wants to receive a great customer service, and a service provider wants to accomplish this task, which is successfully achieved by using a CRM system. It can build a solid database of unlimited loyal customers for you. When customers are not happy with your services and products, they want faster replies and resolution of their issues. A powerful system always ensures that all your customers are fully heard, all of their communications are properly managed because when they come back to you for the same issues or for new issues, they don't have to repeat themselves. Timely action and timely resolution using case management, knowledge base systems, live chat, self-service solutions, online surveys, webinars etc.

Marketing -  Providing a platform for your marketing activities. You can analyze customers' buying behavior, if they are interested in your products and services. Then, your team is able to generate leads. The leads are potential customers who can buy the products and services. If they don't buy at the moment, they can buy in the future. CRM is capable enough to collect and analyze all the information using the buying history of customers, various campaigns, social media activities, advertising, publicity etc., which can help you identify why the customers are not inclined towards your brand, you can identify their tastes and preferences. Next, decide what changes should be made to your products and services, and how and where you should market them to generate more leads. You will aggressively be looking for more customers having the similar tastes and preferences, which can open doors to new market segments for your brand. You can also build your future marketing strategies using CRM market forecasting techniques. 

Reporting and Analytics - Everything does not work for everyone or for every business. If something is producing good results for you, it does not necessarily mean that it will do the same for me. If you have employed some techniques to increase sales or to provide better customer service, you cannot be sure that there are some good outcomes until you have the required data, reports, and analytics. The information that is collected by CRM, becomes useful business information to generate different types of reports to analyze customer habits, preferences, profitability, customer value, sales and marketing pipeline effectiveness, sales-conversion rates, success rates of various business processes etc., which help you make decisions based on past performance.

Supply-Chain management -  Manage your entire supply chain more effectively and efficiently using a CRM platform. Manage purchase orders, sales and distribution, sourcing, warehouse management, inventory management etc. E-commerce companies integrating their systems with supply chain software to create a huge database of customer preferences and tastes, buying patterns, products in demand, performance of various products and services etc. An integrated system gives end-to-end supply chain visibility where you control, track, plan, and execute. Everything is in real time, at the right place, and by the right people.   

Mobile CRM - Access CRM on mobile and other internet-enabled devices. Just install a mobile app on your smartphone. Then, it does not matter where you are. Even, if you don't have an internet connection, you can still enter customer information in the app, and it gets synced to the entire database when you are connected to the internet. You can see real-time reports, respond to customer service issues, manage leads and opportunities etc.  

Human Resource management - For example, you are working in a human resource department where a CRM system is implemented. You will have data in a manageable form from different departments, which can help you in speeding up the various HR functions and processes like recruitment and selection, reward program management, portfolio management, employee relationship management, organizing training programs, staff administration etc.   

Internet of Things or IoT - Slowly and gradually everything and everyone are getting connected to everything and everyone. People are connected to people, things are connected to things, and people are also connected to things using an internet connection. This is an opportunity to provide better customer service via the huge network of Internet of things and its tight integration with the system. For example, your customer is a farmer. You have installed an IoT device in their farm. The IoT device checks if the soil in the farm, needs water or not. If the soil needs water, it automatically turns the Water Pump on, and the moment the temperature of the soil meets the optimum level, the Water Pump is automatically turned off. At the same time, the real-time data is sent to CRM where it can be analyzed to make more informed decisions. You can also send command from your system to reboot the IoT device if you find something wrong with the device while analyzing the available information.

AI or Artificial Intelligence - CRM collects a lot of data. Next, AI comes into the picture to process it, and to make intelligent decisions. AI can make smart recommendations through the intelligent data analysis. Facial Recognition, Natural Language search, predicting behaviors, Pattern Recognition etc. are a few techniques, which can save your time, cost, and energy.

Let's drive fast and productive sales using an effective, quite powerful, and highly efficient platform:

Customer Relationship Management

CRM Steps

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