Why CRM benefits businesses

The use of CRM systems can benefit organizations ranging from small businesses to large corporations, through:

  • Having customer information such as past purchases and interaction history easily accessible can help customer support representatives provide better and faster customer service.
  • Collection of and access to customer data can help businesses identify trends and insights about their customers through reporting and visualization features.
  • Automation of menial, but necessary, sales funnel and customer support tasks.

Components of CRM

At the most basic level, CRM software consolidates customer information and documents it into a single CRM database so business users can more easily access and manage it.

  • Marketing automation. CRM tools with marketing automation capabilities can automate repetitive tasks to enhance marketing efforts at different points in the lifecycle for lead generation. For example, as sales prospects come into the system, it might automatically send email marketing content, with the goal of turning a sales leadsinto a full-fledged customer.
  • Sales force automation. Sales force automation tools track customer interactions and automate certain business functions of the sales cycle that are necessary to follow leads, obtain new customers and build customer loyalty.
  • Contact center automation. Designed to reduce tedious aspects of a contact center agent’s job, contact center automation might include prerecorded audio that assists in customer problem-solving and information dissemination. Various software tools that integrate with the agent’s desktop tools can handle customer requests in order to cut down on the length of calls and to simplify customer service processes. Automated contact center tools, such as chatbots, can improve customer user experiences.
  • Geolocation technology, or location-based services. Some CRM systems include technology that can create geographic marketing campaigns based on customers’ physical locations, sometimes integrating with popular location-based GPS (global positioning system) apps. Geolocation technology can also be used as a networking or contact management tool in order to find sales prospects based on a location.

Types of CRM technology

The four main vendors of CRM systems are Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle. Other providers are popular among small to midsize businesses, but these four tend to be the choice for large corporations. The types of CRM technology offered are as follows:

  • Cloud-based CRM
  • On-premises CRM
  • Open source CRM