What is CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy for companies and their employees to systematically create relationships and interactions with contact persons of existing and potential customers. By generating sales, these customers play a decisive role in the long-term success of the company. If customers adjust their buying behavior and switch to products from other companies, this can have serious consequences for their own company. That’s why companies invest a lot of time and effort in CRM activities to analyze customer preferences. Target groups, markets and the respective needs are analyzed within the CRM and coordinated with the own portfolio. If deviations are found, the employees of the sales and marketing department, in coordination with the management, have the task of optimizing the customer relationship within the framework of CRM or adjusting the concrete CRM strategies in order to better reach the customers again. Other departments also contribute to customer satisfaction and provide valuable information for CRM. This includes, for example, the entire service department. Within the scope of service, customer inquiries and discrepancies are recorded and processed. This is also part of CRM.
CRM generates a wide range of detailed information that must be bundled, categorized and evaluated in order to be able to derive statements. Without a corresponding technology, it does not take long with increasing numbers of customers and prospects and the respective contacts, until CRM can no longer be managed with manual work. Targeted contact with the customer is made more difficult. Without a suitable technology, employees lose too much time for CRM if the CRM strategy is to be pursued with the same quality and intensity even with increasing numbers of customers and prospects.
What is a CRM-System?
A CRM system is a software with functions for the management and automation of all information that is generated month by month when addressing customers or prospects and binding them. In the CRM software, all data of customers and prospects, including all transactions and related communication, are collected and stored in databases. The following information can be taken as an example:
- Documentation of a prospective customer telephone call for later evaluation
- Storage of a customer offer for later allocation
- Appointment reminder for an offer meeting with an interested party on site
- Birthday management of A and B customers to increase attention
CRM systems are mainly based on standard software products. Depending on the size of the company and the required level of information, different solutions with different functionalities are possible. If a company grows over time, the requirements and thus the necessary functions of the CRM system also grow. It can therefore happen that the previous functions of the CRM software are no longer sufficient over time and a change must be considered in order to take the increasing degree of information for the company into account.
Advantages and benefits of a CRM-System:
The advantages and benefits of CRM software for companies are obvious. In practice, a large number of contacts and their relationship to the own company must be managed in one system. Well-designed CRM systems create more transparency. They can be used wherever direct or indirect customer or prospect contact is required. With the right CRM software, the entire sales force can also be supported. This applies both to:
- the sales force with the objective of “increasing sales”,
- as well as for the service-oriented field service with the objective “service and maintenance”.
All activities on site can be recorded directly in the CRM software. In addition, a good CRM system can also be an aid for certain activities, in which information is available at the right place in the right form. This not only saves time, but also regularly delivers better results in all areas. In summary, a CRM system helps to support sales, marketing, service and last but not least, management. With the help of a CRM system, activities can be optimized and automated (e.g. monthly reports). In addition, a good CRM provides a variety of decision bases.
Advantages and benefits of an integrated project management system:
Projects are regularly associated with investments and other expenses and are directed towards a specific goal (project objective). In practice, a project is often divided into sub-projects, each of which is aimed at a specific (partial) goal fulfillment and is related to the main goal. The project management is responsible for planning and controlling the (sub-) projects, as well as monitoring them with regard to time- and resource-oriented parameters. As with CRM, project management involves strategies that must be supported by suitable technologies and systems at a certain level of complexity at the latest in order to process the wealth of data in a meaningful way. A CRM system with integrated project management saves time and effort and increases data quality.
The sales department acquires a new customer project as an example. Up to now, all customer- or prospect related activities were recorded in the CRM system. The following project is now regularly managed by other employees and departments. Thanks to the integration, project-specific information can now be found in the shortest possible time. The management of the information is clearly optimized by the symbiosis of both systems.
Brixxbox: Extended CRM-Template:
The provided templates serve as configuration examples. Different approaches shall be illustrated. The templates can be supplemented after the import as desired, or used as templates for own applications or entire systems.
In practice, this CRM application could be used for example by:
- Consulting company
- and small enterprises
to create customers and prospects and manage their contacts and CRM-relevant data. In addition to master data management, advanced functions are also included to visualize the possible use and linking of master data and to derive a realistic practical reference to support management, sales and marketing.
Extract of the functions:
- Company data: Name and address of the companies
- contact details: Contact data and contact persons of the companies and employees
- Phone book: based on contact data
- Archiving: storage and digitalization of documents and files from customers and prospects
- Special features: Documentation of specific customer requirements and special features (e.g. billing only per month)
- CRM data: Scheduling (e.g. per month, week), deadline monitoring and appointment documentation as well as assignment of relevant contacts
- CRM Workflows: Creation of reminders and follow-ups (e.g. in two months) for certain contacts
- CRM report: e.g. ABC/XYZ – evaluation or categorization of customers and prospective customers (periods/months)
- Templates: text templates can be created
- Project integration: project planning, project monitoring, resource management and responsibilities
- Management: Status monitoring of all activities and projects
- Mobile: Access to all data anywhere and with any device (cloud)