CRM, in our context, stands for Customer Relationship Management.

This concept emerged at the beginning of the 2000s, at a time when companies realised that, in an ever-increasing competitive environment, the quality of the relationship they maintained with their customers and potential customers would have a direct impact on their turnover.

This marked the starting point of a culture where customers were (at long last) taken into consideration.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): definition

The concept of “CRM” encompasses several realities: a strategy; a tool; a philosophy.

What is a CRM strategy?

A CRM strategy is a first step. For a company, becoming aware of the importance of the quality of its relationship with its customers and prospects is a big step forward. It is the sign that the company is interested in them and is ready to invest the resources necessary to meet the needs customers express.

When discussing the relevance of a CRM strategy, there is one particular statistical figure which is often cited: it is estimated that it is six times easier and cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. Yet, on average, sales representatives usually spend 80% of their time trying to acquire new customers, and only the remaining 20% to retaining their existing customers and handling daily administrative tasks, etc.

A CRM strategy, therefore, should take into account customers and prospects, and should focus on optimising the work of sales teams (as well as that of all the other departments in direct contact with customers and prospects, such as Marketing teams and Customer Service).

What is a CRM software solution?

A CRM software solution is designed to enable the different departments of a company (marketing, sales, customer Service) to manage their relationship with their customers and prospects. It centralises all the data to facilitate knowledge sharing and to optimise the productivity of those teams involved with customers. For all these reasons, CRM is garnering increasing attention. For instance, more and more companies now have a CRM Manager.

CRM activity is monitored closely, and often there are indicators, KPIs, which can help track interactions and business involving customers and prospects. So, in addition to offering vital information to the sales, marketing and customer service departments, a CRM software solution also lets you generate Dashboards which will enable managers to monitor business and performance.

Customer relationship management: a strategy, a tool… and more: a corporate culture

By definition, a CRM is a strategy, a tool.

Too often people forget the corporate culture which must accompany this. Being customer-focused has become a vital key to survival for companies.

If they are to be successful, they have to be able to offer a spotless customer relationship, from beginning to end. Some talk of Customer Culture­­, others of Customer Experience. These different titles most often refer to the same thing.

Citizen Relationship Management: definition

Business may have been first, but the relationship management wave then reached other fields: public service, local governments, consular organisations, etc.

For public organisations, having a good CRM is just as vital. In this context, the preferred term is Citizen Relationship Management, for the obvious reason that these institutions do not deal with “customers” but rather with constituents. At the end of the day, however, a citizen is a customer like any other. After all, do they not vote on a regular basis to confirm their connection with a particular brand, in this case a party?

Therefore, the same principles apply for CRM in the public environment as in the private sector. “Marketing” actions are communication campaigns targeted at the local population (invitations, newsletters, etc.) and the “customer service” manages claims and complaints from its constituents regarding disturbances in a neighbourhood or questions about public facilities.

So, Citizen Relationship Management is just as multi-faceted as Customer Relationship Management. Of course, the KPIs mentioned earlier are just as critical for these organisations, especially in the months running up to an election.

Sales relationship

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