CRM Software Industry News & Views

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a business development and client retention strategy supported by customer affinity objectives, customer facing business processes and supporting CRM software systems. CRM strategies are designed to systemically and continually grow customer share and reduce customer turnover.

CRM business strategies and supporting CRM applications have become symbiotic in the pursuit of customer acquisition and retention objectives. For most organizations, CRM software suites include marketing management, sales force automation (SFA), and customer support modules. Ancillary functions such as Partner Relationship Management (PRM), quotes generation, sale order processing, customer analytics and social CRM tools often compliment traditional CRM systems. New technology plays such as open source CRM, new remote delivery methods such as cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS), new pricing models such as utility or subscription billing and outsourced IT systems management continue to introduce new avenues for CRM acquisition, implementation and utilization.

Knowing you need to acquire a CRM software system is a no brainer. However, figuring out which CRM software best accommodates your business objectives, available resources and budget constraints can be a taxing exercise. Fortunately, there are CRM bloggers and CRM software review sites, some expert, fair and impartial; while others are clealry pay for say.

CRM is a journey and success is much more than a software implementation cut-over event. Key benefits from CRM strategies and CRM software applications usually include a change in company culture and a continuous pursuit that continuously adapts to changing customer needs and new company capabilities. It's important to first understand that CRM is a business development strategy and then recognize how CRM software can act as the framework and automation to achieve the company's most important customer objectives. Supporting CRM applications increase understanding and response to an organization's customers' needs in a timely, effective and mutually rewarding manner.

CRM practitioners have discovered repeatable methods, best practices and lessons learned which collectively reduce risk and increase the payback of customer focused business strategies. Community websites offer a collection of shared experiences designed to leverage social networks, user generated content and community collaboration for the benefit of all participants.

This purpose of community CRM advice is to share, collaborate and socialize the collective content, information, cooperation, networking and knowledge that can be achieved from a community of like minded business people. Readers are encouraged to share their first hand experience, views and insight for the community's benefit.

This CRM software industry website is internationally focused in order to extend reach in information sharing and networking beyond just the North American market place. We hope you will join us in this CRM journey.

Social CRM

CRM strategies and CRM applications have succeeded in migrating from the management and streamlining of customer-facing transactional processing to mining customer knowledge in order to better serve and collaborate with clients. While there is clearly a normal transformation which will continue to enhance customer data segregation, analytics, and continuous process improvement, the next CRM industry trend is clearly focused toward social CRM.

Social CRM was born from the seeds of social media and the Web 2.0 phenomenon characterized by new customer driven communication channels such as social networks, blogs, wikis and RSS syndication. Social CRM thought leaders are piloting new methods to engage customers in the way the customer desires, to elevate the communication flow from monologue to dialogue and to engage the customer in a manner that delivers mutually rewarding information to both parties. For forward thinking CRM practitioners, social CRM goes well beyond just making the customer feel wanted and in fact, makes the customer feel as though they are valued and an integral extension of the company's operations - possibly the marketing team, the Research and Development team or other line of business that benefits from direct contribution by the ultimate recipient.

Social CRM requires new thinking and understanding that the customer relationship balance with the new social customer has changed from a relationship where the organization thought it controls the communication dialogue with its product and service directed messages to one where the customer is proactive, part of a much larger virtual community and is more intent on being heard and recognized as part of the product solution.

Many companies view social CRM and social media in general as a business threat rather than knowledge to be harnessed, leveraged and folded into the development of products and services for improved customer acceptance and increased market share. While it is true that the Web can put organizations under a microscope of scrutiny, it is also true that customers can review unbiased evaluations of products and services never before available and social communities can either impose their disdain on uncooperative businesses or their blessing of transparent and trusted companies. Corporate transparency is a must and can be used as a key strategic advantage in the competitive marketplace. It's hard to imagine the product or service that cannot be improved from the candid and passionate feedback of social customers.

Customers are normally not unreasonable. They understand business economics and therefore social CRM need not be viewed as a necessary evil. Customers will reward suppliers that strive for a win-win result. As enterprises understand that social customers have a new avenue to get what they want, when the want and how they want, these organizations will also recognize they have an new opportunity to reduce market guess work, design higher fit customer solutions, achieve go to market products in reduced cycle times, deliver products which achieve better market acceptance and ultimately acquire more meaningful and profitable customer relationships.