Even though CRM doesn't require pricey software, CRM software vendors make a strong case for the benefits of a technology-rich CRM approach. We take a look at the value proposition for buying CRM software and what to look for in an effective platform.
There is a common misperception that CRM has to be tied to the hardware and software systems that populate call centers and customer service divisions.
In reality, CRM is a comprehensive approach to customer management and relationship building that may or may not center around advanced technological solutions.
Now that we've got that out of the way, here's how CRM plays out in the workplace: In the vast majority of businesses, CRM is concentrated around a sophisticated system of software and hardware resources that integrate the company's sales, marketing, customer service and management functions.
Do you absolutely need CRM software? No, but CRM software gives you the tools you need to perform effective customer relationship management. If your business is serious about putting customers at the center of mission critical activities, CRM software is an easy sale.
- Integration. CRM software makes it much easier to integrate customer management functions throughout the company. Whether your solution is web-based or located on an internal server, employees have access to a single set of customer data, updated in real-time.
- Customer Management. Call center personnel appreciate the fact that CRM software puts all of your customers' information in one place. This reduces the possibility of decision-making based on faulty or incomplete information. It also creates the potential for sales and marketing teams to track customer contacts and create scheduled contacts without irritating your base.
- Collaboration. CRM software really excels in creating internal collaborations. For example, once your company's management team decides to seriously pursue customer-driven sales and marketing strategies, CRM software makes it easy to leverage customer feedback for the creation of targeted marketed campaigns.
- Data Access. The feature CRM software is most well known for is its capacity for giving key employees instant access to customer data. Today's CRM solutions even give field staff the ability to access real-time data from anywhere in the world.
- Reporting. Most CRM solutions provide reporting features that can be customized to your company's needs. Dashboards, prebuilt reports and management analytics are just some of the features that come standard in a decent CRM software solution.
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