What’s CRM?

Q: What is CRM software?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.

Maybe it sounds silly to restate the acronym, but CRM software is software designed to help you manage relationships with your customers! Let’s break that down.

These can be potential customers, those who haven’t bought anything yet, or they can be existing customers who you want to sell more products to, or they can be existing customers who need support with their current products.

Let’s talk about a simple example. Let’s say we own a small business which sells sunglasses online. Until now, we have been selling B2C (business to consumer), directly from our website, shipping our sunglasses to people’s homes. However, recently we were approached by a local store which would like to sell our sunglasses (this would be called B2B, business to business).

As we continue to grow, the case for CRM software makes a lot of sense. Let’s see:

  1. We can track who our customers are (things like their names, emails, phone numbers, addresses, and purchase history). This type of data can help us to understand how to better market our products and ultimately who is buying.
  2. We can track our B2B customers – and since they will be buying many more pairs of sunglasses than an individual customers, we may want to nurture this relationship and it may require a longer sales cycle – in other words, our sales people aren’t simply going to be able to pick up the phone and close a deal, it may take meetings and negotiations which occur over days, weeks, or months. A good CRM software will help us to keep notes about this process and understand how we are doing and where we can improve in our selling techniques.
  3. If a customer drops their sunglasses and they break, they might want to send them back to us for a repair. Using the information we already have in our CRM system, when we pick up the phone we should be able to provide awesome, personalized service, greeting the customer by name, asking how they like “product x,” and seeing if they also purchased a warranty.
    Additionally, in order to be transparent and provide great service to our customers, we may want to open a case with information like the date, a description of the problem, and the name of the product we will be fixing to track and communicate the status of the repair to our patiently-waiting customer. A good CRM tool should give us this functionality as well.

What are some companies that make CRM software?

  • Salesforce – Sales and Service Cloud
  • Microsoft (Dynamics CRM)
  • Oracle (CX – Customer Experience)
  • SAP
  • NetSuite
  • HubSpot
  • SugarCRM

To name a few! Depending on the industry, size, and scope of the solution, some of these companies will have a solution and others will not. Because of that, the competitive landscape is rather complex, and sales cycles (selling CRM software to businesses) can be very long.

That’s all, cheers! Check out the other Conversations here.

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