Customer relationship management (CRM)

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a strategy for managing a company’s interactions with (potential) customers. It involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize business processes. Sales, marketing, customer service and technical support usually make the biggest use of CRM software.

Goals in CRM

CRM is often implemented with goals to reduce costs and increase profitability. By managing customer interactions, CRM has its finger on the pulse of the customer relationship. CRM can be used to win new clients and solidify customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. CRM software goes hand in hand with CRM strategy. It’s a long (and not always successful) process.

CRM data for decisions

“True” CRM compiles information from all data sources within an organization (and sometimes from outside the organization) to give a holistic view of each customer in real time. This complete picture of all customer data is also called a 360-degree customer view. This allows customer-facing employees to make quick and informed decisions on cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, target marketing strategies and competitive positioning tactics.

CRM systems and Email Service Providers

Email marketing, one of the primary channels of communication for many companies, is dependent on customer data (email addresses, profiles, behavioral data). This is true for individual messaging as well as broadcast email marketing campaigns. Your Email Service Provider must incorporate the email channel in CRM strategy.

CRM requirements for email tools

Whatever path you choose in your CRM strategy, email marketing usually plays a (big) part.  Therefore, it’s extremely important to assess CRM requirements and future needs when choosing an email marketing vendor or writing a request for proposal. The relation between CRM systems and email tools can be handled in various ways. Some companies use a CRM system’s built-in email functionality. Others rely on APIs to use the functions of email marketing tools, while some only synchronize data between systems.

As with email tools, most CRM vendors now offer their software as a service (SaaS) with web-based access, so you don’t have to install anything locally.

Read our article The Complete Guide To Choosing The Right CRM

Jordie van Rijn

About Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named one of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch " by Entrepreneur magazine.

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