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CRM definition & concepts… learn in 5 minutes what it is about !
The first CRM software was launched in the 80’s: At first, the “Contact Management Software” (precursor of the Customer Relationship Management) helped for keeping information in one place and for customer care.
This type of CRM software was popular among sales teams to help them through their market research plan and closing (sales).
During the 90’s, the first CRM system was built, thanks to Gartner and Siebel Systems.
Since then, a lot of things changed : the definition of CRM, as we used to know, is not only a simple customer relationship anymore. Let’s get more into the features and possibilities that CRM software is offering now to improve customer service.
A CRM solution (Customer Relationship Management) is initially a tool in order to achieve a clear and precise vision about the analytical dataset on our own prospects and customers:
Last name, first name, profession, company, telephone, email, physical address
History on previous exchanges, appointments made (date, meeting report…), offer(s) or sent quote(s), previous deals (amount, kind of product or service, duration…)
Future appointments, deadlines (example: end of contract, sending a new proposition, email or letter to send)
Detailed reports, dashboards, measurement of the activity
Initially dedicated to sales and customer care, CRM has been focused on Sales departments performance:
By creating trade actions, on all his prospects, customers or on a more specific target, CRM software will allow companies to estimate easily their results and to improve customer services.
With dashboards or reports, decision-makers will be able to identify potential improvements and then increase significantly their revenues.
CRM system gives the possibility to enhance the efficiency of after-sales service departments, guarantee a better customer relationship and to deliver a good customer service.
In fact, any authorised employee of your company can access to all customers data within few clicks.
This will increase significantly the decision making process for all kind of situations you will be facing.
By knowing for instance, the birthday of your client, or any other specificities, companies will be able to provide the best customer care by bringing little touches of attention to their customers and enhance consequently their loyalty.
CRM software gives features which promotes team collaboration:
Shared diary, assignment of tasks to the collaborators, comments on the information relayed by a colleague… By centralizing the data and by making their sharing easy, the business will markedly improve their organization and their productivity.
Today CRM software is more than a simple management tool of customer relationship. As the years go by, there has been a certain number of new elements to assimilate:
CRM has now as goal to aim all the company’s levels, to provide data communication between the services, and therefore being more productive.
The tool is more than a simple software dedicated to sales activities: for the marketing, HR, operations departments, etc… CRM software will offer a better collaboration, and thereby optimize the coordination between services.
New innovations such as Big Data, or Artificial Intelligence have brought real revolutions to businesses.
With these different technological evolutions, the boom in datas forces CRM solutions to adapt their approach: businesses from this point forward, want a software capable of automate these different business procedures of the company, with minimum of human intervention.
Digital transformation also decreed a new CRM definition: too verticalized, most of the CRM softwares were focused on a certain type of activity, with very specific functionalities. Example: CRM for associations, construction industry sector, the industry in general…
This situation did not allow to assist businesses in their willingness of change (on an organisational or managerial scale): how to adapt the tool if I decided to launch a new range of products? If I want to change the organisation of my business?
By taking into these challenges, CRM softwares can be more agile: customisation of fields, easy setting of workflows, automation of business procedures… It is now the duty of CRM softwares to adapt themselves and not the contrary.
Let’s take the example of end-user requirements : they are more keen to be aware about the various evolutions of the solution, than getting a simple list of tools or functionalities.
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