CRM is not a product. It is a strategy.
CRM is a customer-oriented company strategy that uses modern information and communication technologies to attempt to build up and consolidate profitable customer relationships in the long term through holistic and individual marketing, sales and service concepts.
The fundamental pillars of successful CRM strategy
- Collecting customer data, such as requests and expectations
- Maintaining customer contacts and activities
- Sales force automation
- Marketing and customer service automation
- Evaluation and preparation of the obtained data
- Data warehouse
- Data mining
- Managing and synchronizing communication channels
The design of a CRM strategy
These pillars are the basis for the CRM strategy, which is developed individually for each company. The collection and maintenance of customer data form the basic prerequisite for a successful CRM strategy. Depending on the company’s focus, the structured prepared data is used to automate and optimize sales, marketing or customer service processes. The aim is always to please the customer’s wishes and expectations (customer satisfaction).
The analytical CRM provides mechanisms for evaluating data, which is then prepared in line with the aim of the CRM strategy. This process does not only involve the customer’s ‘master data’, but also information from transactions, such as the quantity, colors or sizes of the purchased items. New knowledge, such as individual offers for products and services, can be obtained and used from this combination in order to generate other or additional purchases.
The collaborative CRM offers the basis for communication with the customer, which must always be an essential point in the CRM strategy. The customer is individually approached and advised regarding the various communication paths and automated solutions.
Existing CRM strategies must always be re-examined and realigned.
The reasons are that
- the competition in the markets is always increasing
- products and services are becoming increasingly similar
- companies are hardly able to position themselves based on their core performance
- the customer must be offered added benefits
- traditional customer behavior has changed
- customers are becoming increasingly more loyal
- customers want the best product, the best service, and the lowest price
- customers are often better informed than the sellers
- mobile devices are available at all times and anywhere and are becoming increasingly more important as shopping tools
This is not necessarily a disadvantage for companies. On the contrary, they have to incorporate the technological progress into the CRM strategy. For example, it is possible to address a customer who enters a business and looks at a certain item by using NFC technology through the customer’s smartphone to provide additional information about the item in a targeted manner.
In addition to the communication channels, various sales channels play a crucial role today. Traditionally, we are familiar with stationary sales in a shop and online business.
The development goes from multi-channel to cross-channel and omnichannel sales, to no-line commerce where the limits of individual purchasing worlds no longer have to be perceived as such. The basis for consideration in the CRM strategy is formed by modern and smart devices, which the customer can use as a seamless link.
To this point, a CRM strategy is separate from software.
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