What is CRM Software

As individual markets became more commoditized in the 1990s, companies sought to develop a more competitive advantage. Customer relationship management (CRM) evolved as a key concept to forever change the way businesses of all sizes interacted with their customer base. The concept was great – create differentiation through a focused approach on managing customer relationships. The application was flawed, however, as they was no standard approach and companies found the process of capturing and tracking customer information proved too costly for the promised benefit. Thus was born the need for software to effectively drive these initiatives, build the database and extend capabilities for the user. What is CRM software: the answer to a need within the market to streamline sales efforts and drive profitability.

What is CRM Software – the Early Days

The predecessor to CRM software was database marketing, which emerged in the 1980s and referred to the process of setting up groups focused on customer service. Database marketing was effective for keeping communications open with larger clients so services could be tailored specifically to their needs. For smaller clients, however, it created messy databases that made it difficult to identify what customers buy most often, what they spend, and what they do. With the arrival of the 1990s, CRM evolved to enable companies to leverage that data and deliver value back to the customer in the way of incentives, personalized solutions, and more. The answer to what is CRM software at that time was a way to increase sales passively and through active customer service improvements.

What is CRM Software Today?

As companies began to measure the value of their CRM platforms and recognized needs beyond those met with the software, providers focused on evolving the platforms to meet the growing needs in the industry. Companies sought dynamic ways to use information they captured through their CRM initiatives. CRM evolved from a static database for references purposes to a platform for continuously updating the understanding of the customer’s behavior and needs. With customized solutions and advanced capabilities, the answer to what is CRM software became a platform for breaking down information into small subsets to evaluate motivation and reaction among customers. Now, companies can leverage CRM through hosted solutions that enable the management of significant amounts of information and increased fluidity of the programs.

What is CRM Software – the Features

What is CRM software if it doesn’t offer extensive features and capabilities to enable an organization to develop loyalty among the customer base? The features continue to expand and evolve, yet for the most part include contact management, customer tracking, configurable reminders, tasks and alerts, customer history, customer profiling, direct mail management, a complete email system or email integration, telemarketing management, automated and configurable notification systems and mailings, customizable letter system, issue tracking and alerts and online self-service. Today’s solutions will also enable remote access, integrated analytics, mobile access, multichannel support, list management and lead generation.

What is CRM Software – the Benefits

With a deep understanding of customer behaviors, needs, and wants, any organization seeking to understand what is CRM software will learn how to anticipate customer actions and convert these actions into sales. CRM software enables the sales department to more accurately and systematically manage the customer lifecycle from lead identification to closed sale, as well as support after the sale. The clear benefits to what is CRM software include increased revenue opportunities, improved profit margins and a happier customer base.

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