What does CRM stand for – in Marketing, Business and Technology

What is CRM – and what does CRM stand for in Marketing, Business and Technology?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. At its core, CRM is actually a philosophy. Businesses realized that many internal departments serviced each other with no regard of the end customer.

In effect, the end customer was forgotten. At the heart of CRM is the idea that the customer is in reality my employer. Without the customer, we would be jobless. Thus the customer must be focused on and be central to operations of each and every department. This includes Finance, Materials Management, Production and even Executive Management.

For example, if I work in the Shipping department, my goal is to not just get out my quota of 100 packages today – but rather to keep in mind that those 100 packages represent 500 end customers who have been serviced in a timely manner. What does CRM stand for? It is a corporate-wide attitude of customer prioritization.

CRM as a Software rather than just a Philosophy

Although, CRM is truly a philosophy of prioritizing the client, it has in recent years been reduced to simply a software system. This is more often the case though in B2B rather than in retail – simply because it is possible for many employees to never actually meet their customer in B2B.

Initially, the idea behind a CRM system was the ability for each department to see how their conduct related to an individual customer. For example, before a Sales Rep contacts a customer proactively, she should be able to look into the CRM system and possibly see the fact that the customer complained recently about an incorrect invoice.

The CRM system would then enable the Sales Rep to be intelligent and informed when approaching the client – thus beginning the conversation with empathy regarding the incorrect invoice. What is a CRM system? It is a software packaged designed to allow all departments access to customer information – with the purpose of better servicing the customer.

What is CRM – Software or Database Application?

CRM-What is CRM really? In recent years, CRM systems have been used less for serving the client and more for data mining with the goal of targeting the appropriate clients for cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. What is a CRM? A true CRM system should be helpful for not just Sales or Marketing, but it should empower all touch points within an organization to be better equipped to serve and satisfy the customer.

Benefits of a CRM

The greatest overall benefit of CRM is the ability to manage your entire business in relationship to the customer. If your CRM is configured properly from the beginning, it should include just enough customization to ease the workload of your staff. At the same time, it should not attempt to include each and every business process in your firm; we have noticed that such a detailed approach often overwhelms the team of users and results in a failed CRM implementation.

Below are a few key benefits of a well implemented CRM software system:

  • Automated Reports. I list this first because this is the one that upper management cares about the most. True CRM systems have built in Dashboards with preconfigured reports. Discover instantly where your Opportunities are at. In a world with no CRM, it is not unusual for the Business Development staff to spend hours on an evening preparing reports for the Business Development Manager, who in turn spends the next evening summing up these numbers and then preparing them further in Excel.
  • Alerts. With customized CRM software, users will not be forced to open up the CRM system in order to be alerted of emergencies. Instead, they will receive Emails in real time.
  • Unified software for data management. Regardless of industry (e.g. Manufacturing, Real Estate, Consulting, etc.), if properly implemented, a CRM can replace numerous spreadsheets that are typically used. Every single CRM rollout includes some sort of replacement of Excel spreadsheets that, due to the very data structure of Excel, are unable to represent their business processes.
  • Unified software for activity calendaring. A well customized CRM will allow users to schedule for other, view their schedule and quickly manage meetings and to-dos. When to-dos are fulfilled, they are translated into histories that are reported on and accessible when speaking to the customer.
  • Unified Client List. When a client’s phone number changes, this can be revised/update once in the system – instead ofrequiring each user to revise their own individual MS Outlook system.
  • Single history log file for email interaction. Quickly view your co-worker’s Email correspondence with your mutual client.  The benefit of this feature is actually worth the investment.
  • Marketing and Advertising. Business Development Reps usually do not care about this feature until they need to do their Christmas mailing. Then they all run around, trying to get a mailing list together while trying to decide which data for “Sally Jones” is really correct.

Salesforce vs Microsoft Dynamics CRM Evaluation

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - Free Analysis PDFWhat does CRM stand for in Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Click here to access our Free Microsoft Dynamics CRM Analysis.

Topics addressed include:

  1. Salesforce.com vs Microsoft CRM
  2. Pros and Cons of SaaS vs On-premise CRM
  3. Crucial User Adoption Factors
  4. Total Cost of Ownership of Microsoft CRM

Free TCO Calculator for CRM Projects

Free CRM TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) Calculator ToolClick here to download our Free CRM TCO Calculator Tool.

With this tool, you will be able to identify the key TCO line items that are relevant for any CRM implementation. We have also included data for comparing CRM software systems such as Microsoft CRM, Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Sage CRM, Sage SalesLogix and more. You will be able to view the 3 Year and 5 Year Total Cost of Ownership for both SaaS (Online/On-Demand) and Licensed (On-premise) pricing models.

TCO line items include:

  1. Annual License/User price
  2. Support
  3. Hardware (incl. Server and Users)
  4. Implementation
  5. Staff
  6. Network
  7. Mobile
  8. and much more.

Free Excel Tool to Compare CRM Systems

Free Excel CRM Comparison Tool - Comparing 10 of the Top CRM SolutionsClick here to access our Free Excel CRM Comparison Tool.

With this tool, you will be able to identify the key similarilites and differences between 9 of the top CRM systems, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage SalesLogix, GoldMine, Sage ACT!, Pivotal and more.

Comparison Topics include:

  1. Key CRM Features
  2. Pricing (Licensing, etc..)
  3. Available Modules (e.g. SFA, Marketing, Service, etc)
  4. Feature Details (Sync, Call Center, Quoting, E-commerce, Lead Management, Security, Workflow, and much more.
  5. Hardware and Network support (Microsoft, Linux, etc…)
  6. Industry/NAICS

Salesforce versus MS CRM Review Webinars

Join us for our webinar series as we explore the points outlined below – and hope to provide you valuable insight about this top-rated CRM solution. We hope that our comparison with Salesforce.com will help you on in your CRM evaluation.

Recorded Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Webinars registration

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Mark Shaw

Director at Accent Gold Solutions
Author: Mark Shaw, Director of Accent Gold Solutions, is certified in a number of CRM systems - including SAP CRM, SugarCRM and ACT! Having studied Business at the University of Massachusetts, he went on to consult several large Energy Utilities in the US and Europe - including designing a Sales Database for the largest European provider of Natural Gas. Using his unique combination of sales and marketing experience, Mark has set up and led successful sales teams for several firms, including Xerox.
Read more about Mark on our About Us page. Google