CRM Solutions come with many features and tools and it's important for a company to choose a product based on their specific organisational needs. Most vendors will present information on their respective websites which includes :
- Features These are what the product actually does and what value it can provide to an organisation.
- Support Many CRM vendors have a basic level of support which generally only includes email and/or access to a support forum. Telephone support is often charged in either an annual or ad hoc pricing strategy. Some companies on site support which is charged as an extra premium.
- Pricing This will be shown either per user or a flat price for a number of users. Many solutions require a lump sum annual license, others are a monthly/quarterly service or have variable pricing options depending on organisational needs.
Characteristics of CRM
- Relationship management is a customer-oriented feature with service response based on customer input, one-to-one solutions to customers’ requirements, direct online communications with customer and customer service centers that help customers solve their questions.
- Sales force automation. This function can implement sales promotion analysis, automate tracking of a client’s account history for repeated sales or future sales, and also сoordinate sales, marketing, call centers, and retail outlets in order to realize the salesforce automation.
- Use of technology. This feature is about following the technology trend and skills of value delivering using technology to make “up-to-the-second” customer data available. It applies data warehouse technology in order to aggregate transaction information, to merge the information with CRM solutions, and to provide KPI (key performance indicators).
- Opportunity management. This feature helps the company to manage unpredictable growth and demand and implement a good forecasting model to integrate sales history with sales projections.
CRM in customer contact centers
CRM systems are customer relationship management platforms. The goal of the system is to track, record, store in databases, and then data mine the information in a way that increases customer relations (predominantly increased ARPU, and decreased churn). The CRM codifies the interactions between you and your customers so that you can maximize sales and profit using analytics and KPIs to give the users as much information on where to focus their marketing and customer service to maximize revenue and decrease idle and unproductive contact with your customers. The contact channels (now aiming to be omni-channel from multi-channel) use such operational methods as contact centers. The CRM software is installed in the contact centers, and help direct customers to the right agent or self-empowered knowledge. CRM software can also be used to identify and reward loyal customers over a period of time.
CRM in B2B (Business-to-Business) market
The modern environment requires one business to interact with another via the web. According to a Sweeney Group definition, CRM is “all the tools, technologies and procedures to manage, improve, or facilitate sales, support and related interactions with customers, prospects, and business partners throughout the enterprise”. It assumes that CRM is involved in every B2B transaction. Despite the general notion that CRM systems were created for the customer-centric businesses, they can also be applied to B2B environments to streamline and improve customer management conditions. B2C and B2B CRM systems are not created equally and different CRM software applies to B2B and Business-to-Customer (B2C) conditions. B2B relationships usually have longer maturity times than B2C relationships. For the best level of CRM operation in a B2B environment, the software must be personalized and delivered at individual levels.