A good question without a simple answer. It’s not simple because CRM can be different things to different businesses. But let’s not tackle that yet, let’s look at CRM in its purest form.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and, as a software solution, helps your business interact with your customers better. CRM can improve your internal processes, provide better service to your current customers, or help you win new ones – and giving everyone that needs it a complete view of your customer’s history with your business. And all the while CRM is giving your management improved visibility over these processes so they can make better decisions.

The key business processes that most CRM systems commonly focus on are the parts of the business that most commonly interact with customers, that is sales, service and marketing.

CRM for sales management is focused on getting your salespeople and others involved in the process of selling, a common set of practices. When everyone is following the same processes and recording their progress in the same way, getting a handle on your pipeline and performance is a breeze.

CRM’s service functionality helps you to manage your customer’s requests and issues. When a customer makes contact and action needs to be taken by someone in your organisation, CRM helps to ensure the action is assigned to the right person and is actioned in right timeframe according to your consistent resolution process. This information continues to be stored against the customer record so everyone is aware of the customer’s history. This is what creates happy customers and drives loyalty.

CRM supports your marketing efforts with tools to help you communicate with customers or prospects and an automated and targeted way. With tools to help you to select the right customers for your campaign and track their responses, measuring the success and return on investment is made easy.

Ok, but having said this, every business is unique and CRM is used as a platform to create some pretty unique solutions for all types of business. This is why CRM systems are generally flexible and customisable tools for businesses.

This is both a blessing and a curse. You can’t buy a CRM, plug it in, and have it work for you straight away. It will always need some introspection and planning on your part to decide what your business uniquely needs it to do to support your processes and how you work – then, some configuring and customisation to make the solution a match for you.

We’d go so far as to say, that if someone tells you that their CRM solution will work for you straight of the box, you should run a mile. It just isn’t possible to have a single configuration that drives success for everyone.

Having said this, CRM solutions have a common set of functions that help support organisations in dealing with their customers and prospects – or whomever it is that they interact with and need to keep track of – for example, members, applicants, suppliers, patients.

Layered over the top of these core functions, needs to be a user experience that enhances productivity. One of the key reasons why CRM systems seem to fail to deliver, is because your people won’t use a system that they don’t see value in. The key is to make sure you build or configure your CRM to help, and not hinder your staff, so it’s not another step to complete, but an essential part of the process.

This is why we work exclusively with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and have done for years. Let’s face it, everyone already knows how to use Microsoft Outlook and the Microsoft Office suite so there’s an inherent productivity advantage in the seamless integration with these products.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM does all of the standard stuff you’d expect, but there is also a limitless number of ways to set up to suit a particular business need.  Some of the world’s largest companies, use Microsoft Dynamics CRM and so do small businesses. It’s that flexible and scalable.

Talk to us about what you want to achieve with your CRM. We’re here to help you make your CRM exactly what you need it to be.