What is CRM? Answered by “Handbook of CRM”

Defining Customer Relationship Management


An often asked question: What is CRM?

At its core, customer relationship management helps companies in nurturing their presence in the markets. A relevant reason-why for CRM is to validate the brand’s way to interact with stakeholders. What a CRM is, may be defined as enabling organisational culture in how to interact with stakeholders.

CRM is a strategy definition, more than just a tool, that spans well beyond the simple “keep in touch with clients”, including many marketing processes management especially the sales process management. Instead of leads or customers we should define them as people, stakeholders who may have different stages of relationship with the brand: from unaware unawareness, to aware interest (or aware lack of interest), to repeating customers. These are all kinds of relationships – from none to close – that matter to the business.

What CRM is?

  • What CRM is?

  • What is the definition of CRM

As Adrian Payne said in his book “Handbook of CRM“:

Companies large and small across a variety of sectors are embracing CRM as a major element of corporate strategy for two important reasons: new technologies now enable companies to target chosen market segments, micro-segments or individual customers more precisely and new marketing thinking has recognized the limitations of traditional marketing and the potential of more customer-focused, process-based strategies.

So it seems difficult to look into what is CRM.

Even in its most popular meaning, CRM defines a tool for business management, much more than just getting in touch with customers. But well beyond the tool, CRM is mainly a logic, the method to define the strategy of relationships management. 

Customer relationship management is the approach that helps businesses to gain insight into the behaviour of its customers by integrating knowledge for marketing, sales and customer service. Thereby organising all their data and metric in one cohesive knowledge under a customer-centric approach.

As a tool, the primary goal of a CRM system is to facilitate business management by collecting and storing data to shape aggregate information for decision making.

And since there are a variety of tools available in the market, companies may  benefit to outsource the know-how from a specialised CRM solution provider.

Why hire a CRM expert

CRM softwareOne crucial aspect that CRM software shouldn’t dictate is a company’s need to overhaul its established and refined methods of maintaining relationships with its most valuable stakeholders: existing and prospective customers.

This is precisely why there has been a proliferation of CRM software over the past 15 years! However, it’s essential to note that not all CRM software solutions are created equal, and the disparities among them can be significant. The initial classification introduced by Paul Greenberg in “CRM at the Speed of Light,” which categorized CRM into Operational, Analytical, and Collaborative, no longer serves as the definitive guide in the software selection process aimed at enhancing overall business efficiency.

Customer relationship lies at the heart of any business operation, underscoring the importance of CRM experts who can offer invaluable support to small businesses in designing and implementing solutions tailored to optimize performance.

Certified Solution Providers prove invaluable once a solution has been selected, as CRM expert consultants play a pivotal role in aiding entrepreneurs even before the chosen solution is implemented.

In conclusion

In order to really benefit from any CRM implementation project, it is not enough to just buy good software. Companies need to design procedures and processes inside the tool that are capable of fitting with the business requirements. 

CRM, if we define it as a strategy, is your own way to serve your customers. 

The tool you use for that has to mirror your procedures and routines, not imply organisations to change them to fit the tool. We help organisations to achieve it by implementing their own customer-centric policies and procedures, as well as training staff to leverage the CRM system and become more efficient in daily duties.

Are you looking for a fresh new book on CRM? Take the opportunity to evaluate Customer Relationship Management for Medium and Small Enterprises“.

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