CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) CLOSES COST BARRIERS – SMALL BUSINESS USERS
|skip to page 1 | 2 | 3|
Customer Relationship Management software systematizes and automates the sales process from concept to sales to service. It eliminates the traditionally fragmented approach to managing marketing efforts because all information is maintained in one repository that is accessible instantly for analysis in any given marketing situation.
Customer Relationship Management Systems development and analysis began to take place beginning somewhere in the early 90s. The driving force was the introduction and uptake of e-commerce solutions that pushed customer service demands into the forefront of the Internet boom. The past couple of years has seen a maturity and sophistication evolve in the performance and capacity of CRM systems. It is generally agreed that CRM systems are successful in providing cost savings and efficiency in customer development and customer retention activities. Traditional installations of CRM systems from larger companies are typically beyond the reach of most Small and Medium Businesses because of pricing and maintenance costs associated with larger application installations.
Formerly, it was only large corporations that could afford the cost of implementing these large CRM Solutions as they required a serious commitment of finances and resources to acquire and maintain the systems. Initially the acquisition of CRM systems entailed the purchase and maintenance of expensive software, consulting services to customize or integrate with other information holdings, and expensive maintenance and upgrade requirements. As a result, Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) were left out of the loop when it came to acquiring CRM systems to automate marketing activities.
Many SMBs struggle to meet and maintain market placement and enterprise efficiency in their marketing and sales efforts without the benefit of a CRM system. As small and growing enterprises know, it is imperative to undertake analysis of marketing efforts and to maintain an understanding of the results as part of their business line activities. Typically this has been achieved with the use of a combination of tools, usually a series of inefficient stand alone applications with/or without a paper process. The time commitment to access and analyze information from separate holdings is a drag on company resources and limits excellence in marketing efforts.
The costs of traditional CRM systems have been a proven barrier for SMB until about the mid nineties. The development of on-demand services since then has made Marketing Automation Services a viable option for SMB in addressing the various aspects of their marketing efforts in a cost efficient manner.
Product offerings in better on-demand CRM packages offer an end to end solution, that allows for interaction between Marketing, Sales, Customer Service/Support on the front end and supply chain functionality on the back end. They include such activities as tracking marketing efforts to identifying sales leads and value customers, and integrating the sales team and customer service activities in a seamless integrated platform. Currently, additional functionality available in some of these packages includes integration to the supply chain and billing aspects of the sales process.
By merging data from all marketing streams within an on-demand CRM solution, it is possible to gather information and data together to transform it into useful information. At this point a SMB owner is able to use the service to identify high value customers, identify and correct deficiencies in service and/or support and finesse customer support. SMB can now level the playing field with acquisition of an affordable CRM tool. There are many many other opportunities to exploit depending on the level of detail and understanding of your business processes and interest in investing in developing the CRM application.
|skip to page 1 | 2 | 3|