Customer relationship management

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"Contact management software" redirects here. For other uses, see contact manager.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.[1]


Marketing and Customer Service[edit]

Customer relationship management systems track and measure marketing campaigns over multiple networks. These systems can track customer analysis by customer clicks and sales. Places where CRM is used include call centers, social media, direct mail, data storage files, banks, and customer data queries.It helps you to find customer's profile as well.

CRM in customer contact centers[edit]

CRM systems are customer relationship management platforms. The goal of the system is to track, record, store in databases, and then data mine the information in a way that increases customer relations (predominantly increased ARPU, and decreased churn). The CRM codifies the interactions between you and your customers so that you can maximize sales and profit using analytics and KPIs to give the users as much information on where to focus their marketing and customer service to maximize revenue and decrease idle and unproductive contact with your customers. The contact channels (now aiming to be omni-channel from multi-channel) use such operational methods as contact centers. The CRM software is installed in the contact centers, and help direct customers to the right agent or self-empowered knowledge.[2] CRM software can also be used to identify and reward loyal customers over a period of time.


CRM software programs can automatically synchronize suitable appointment dates, times, and methods for customer contact. Once appointments are saved in a systems calendar, recalls the information so that it can be easily retrieved. It pulls up information on appointments and sends a represented message for action.[citation needed]

CRM in B2B (Business-to-Business)market[edit]

The modern environment requires one business to interact with another via the web. According to a Sweeney Group definition, CRM is “all the tools, technologies and procedures to manage, improve, or facilitate sales, support and related interactions with customers, prospects, and business partners throughout the enterprise”.[3] It assumes that CRM is involved in every B2B transaction.[4]

Despite the general notion that CRM systems were created for the customer-centric businesses, they can also be applied to B2B environments to streamline and improve customer management conditions. B2C and B2B CRM systems are not created equally and different CRM software applies to B2B and Business-to-Customer (B2C) conditions. B2B relationships usually have longer maturity times than B2C relationships. For the best level of CRM operation in a B2B environment, the software must be personalized and delivered at individual levels.[5]

Characteristics of CRM[edit]

Well-designed CRM includes the following characteristics:

  1. Relationship management is a customer-oriented feature with service response based on customer input, one-to-one solutions to customers’ requirements, direct online communications with customer and customer service centers that help customers solve their questions.
  2. Sales force automation. This function can implement sales promotion analysis, automate tracking of a client’s account history for repeated sales or future sales, and also сoordinate sales, marketing, call centers, and retail outlets in order to realize the salesforce automation.
  3. Use of technology. This feature is about following the technology trend and skills of value delivering using technology to make “up-to-the-second” customer data available. It applies data warehouse technology in order to aggregate transaction information, to merge the information with CRM solutions, and to provide KPI (key performance indicators).
  4. Opportunity management. This feature helps the company to manage unpredictable growth and demand and implement a good forecasting model to integrate sales history with sales projections.[4]

Importance of CRM to the B2B sector[edit]

Many of the characteristics in the B2B market suggest that CRM is a factor which influences the business. CRM has special characteristics in the B2B market.

Consider “Critical mass (software engineering)”. Due to customer relationship, a network can be established and extended. Extension causes the network not to increase benefits linearly, but in an exponential way. As new members can contact by any existing member the benefit of a network of 200 people is much more effective than one with 100. Hence, these networks can be used to increase the amount of available information for each company. This may lead to more information about a customer which can be used to make the way of handling the customer easier in the future. The history of previous sales from this customer may be a great relief. Moreover it is possible to establish technical cooperation a bigger network is more likely to provide special services.

These services include, among others “systems integration, hosting, financial services such as payment processing, receivables management, credit analysis and logistics services”. Services of this kind encourage companies to join the B2B network by using CRM. Furthermore, B2B hubs have another advantage as they can substitute external personal if members of the network liaise. This may not only avoid extra costs for arrangement of a new contract but is also likely to accelerate the speed of this arrangement as they are in the same network and already possess information about their negotiating partner. Ultimately, special knowledge is required for B2B markets. As B2B customers are generally more rational customers than B2Cs, a person or a team with special knowledge to each customer or industry may enhance the sales in this area.

Implementing CRM to the company[edit]

The following are general guidelines on implementing a CRM system.

  1. Make a strategic decision on what problems you want your CRM system to address, what improvements or changes it should bring in the business processes of the organization.
  2. Choose an appropriate project manager. Typically IT will be engaged, however a manager with a customer service/sales and marketing business focus should be involved, as the impact of the project will be mainly on the business side.
  3. Ensure executive sponsorship and top management support.
  4. Empower team members with the required authority to complete the tasks.
  5. Select the correct implementation partner. They must have both vertical and horizontal business knowledge, as well as technical expertise.
  6. Define KPI's that will measure the project's success
  7. Use a phased approach. Work towards long-term enterprise-scale implementation through a series of smaller, phased implementations [6]

CRM software[edit]

Selecting a CRM program means finding the software that best fits the company’s needs. CRM software comes with many features and tools, and despite the fact that many CRM products offer similar feature sets, there are some unique tools in each one. Programs can be divided into categories by several criteria:

Differences between CRM for B2B (Business 2 Business) and B2C (Business 2 Customers)[edit]

B2B and B2C marketing operates differently, that is why they cannot use the same software. All the differences are focused on the approach of these two types of businesses:

B2B operations require special CRM solutions that are not the same for B2C industry:

So, all the B2B applications must be both personalized and be able to establish channels of support communication for customers

SaaS CRM Software[edit]

These are software created “on-demand” which are available via Internet and do not require install and support. Businesses using the software do not purchase the software, and typically pay a subscription fee to the software vendor. [8]

Workbooks CRM[edit]

This suite of Business Applications are specifically designed for small and mid-size organizations and are delivered via Software-as-a-Service, therefore removing the traditional requirements of having hardware to maintain and software to install and support.[9]


This software allows the company to automatically track all the web activity generated from marketing and automatically sets the Lead Source as Marketing.: Website.[10]

BPMonline CRM[edit]

Includes built-in features and process management tools to automate CRM activities, to improve campaign response, close deals, and satisfy customers.[11][12]


AmoCRM's software assists the manager, sales team and sales management with full contact management, lead management, and sales pipeline reporting and analysis. For the B2B CRM needs, amoCRM's software is a user friendly, cost effective approach. It comes scalable to meet future growth needs without having to change platforms and retrain.[13]

Firmao CRM[edit]

Firmao features include VoIP switchboard integration, extensive customization possibilites, mobile applications and cloud data storage space. Users can create own templates of documents such as invoice, offer as well as custom data report. [14]

Small business[edit]

For small businesses a CRM system may simply consist of a contact manager system which integrates emails, documents, jobs, faxes, and scheduling for individual accounts.[citation needed] CRM systems available for specific markets (legal, finance) frequently focus on event management and relationship tracking as opposed to financial return on investment (ROI).

Social media[edit]

CRM often makes use of social media to build up customer relationships. Some CRM systems integrate social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to track and communicate with customers sharing their opinions and experiences with a company, products and services.[15] Enterprise Feedback Management software platforms such as Confirmit, Medallia, and Satmetrix combine internal survey data with trends identified through social media to allow businesses to make more accurate decisions on which products to supply.[16]

Non-profit and membership-based[edit]

Systems for non-profit and also membership-based organizations help track constituents, fund-raising, Sponsors demographics, membership levels, membership directories, volunteering and communication with individuals.[citation needed]

Customer-centric relationship management (CCRM)[edit]

CCRM is a style of customer relationship management that focuses on customer preferences instead of customer leverage. This is a nascent sub-discipline of traditional customer relationship management; to take advantage of changes in communications technology.

Customer centric organizations help customers make better decisions and it also helps drive profitability. CCRM adds value by engaging customers in individual, interactive relationships.[17]

Customer-centricity differs from client-centricity in that the latter refers almost exclusively to business-to-business models rather than customer-facing firms.

Features of CCRM[edit]

Customer-centric relationship management is used in marketing, customer service and sales, including:

Accenture[18] and Emerald Insight[19] are now beginning to focus on CCRM as a discipline, with studies appearing on Mendeley.[20]

Adoption issues[edit]

In 2003, a Gartner report estimated that more than $2 billion had been spent on software that was not being used. According to CSO Insights, less than 40 percent of 1,275 participating companies had end-user adoption rates above 90 percent.[21] Many corporations only use CRM systems on a partial or fragmented basis.[22][citation needed] In a 2007 survey from the UK, four-fifths of senior executives reported that their biggest challenge is getting their staff to use the systems they had installed. 43 percent of respondents said they use less than half the functionality of their existing system.[23][citation needed]. Recently, it is found in a study that market research regarding consumers preference may increase the adoption of CRM among the developing countries' consumers.[24]

CRM Paradox[edit]

The CRM Paradox also referred to as the "Dark side of CRM".[25] Favouritism and differential treatment of customers may cause perceptions of unfairness which results in buyers opting out of relationships, spreading negative information, or engaging in misbehaviour that may damage the firm. CRM fundamentally involves treating customers differently based on the assumption that customers are different and have different needs. This may cause dissatisfaction, issues of distrust and unfair practices due to the perceived inequality. A customer shows trust to bond in a relationship with a firm when they know that the firm is acting fair in creating a win-win situation. However, will customers trust that firms will be fair in splitting the value creation pie in the first place? A good example:’s test use of dynamic pricing (different prices for different customers) was a public relations nightmare for the company.

Market leaders[edit]

The CRM market grew by 13.7 percent in 2013, three times the average of all enterprise software categories.[26] The following table lists the top vendors in 2006–2008 and 2013 (figures in millions of US dollars) published in Gartner studies.[27][28]

Vendor2013 Revenue2013 Share (%)2012 Revenue2012 Share (%)2008 Revenue2008 Share (%)2007 Revenue2007 Share (%)2006 Revenue2006 Share (%)
SAP AG2,62212.82,327.112.92,05522.52,050.825.31,681.725.6
Microsoft CRM1,3926.81,135.36.35816.4332.14.1176.12.7


Many CRM vendors offer subscription-based web tools (cloud computing) and software as a service (SaaS). Some CRM systems are equipped with mobile capabilities, making information accessible to remote sales staff.[citation needed] was the first company to provide enterprise applications through a web browser, and has maintained its leadership position.[29] Traditional providers have recently moved into the cloud-based market via acquisitions of smaller providers: Oracle purchased RightNow in October 2011[30] and SAP acquired SuccessFactors in December 2011.[31]

The era of the "social customer"[32] refers to the use of social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram, Yelp, customer reviews in Amazon, etc.) by customers. CR philosophy and strategy has shifted to encompass social networks and user communities.

Sales forces also play an important role in CRM, as maximizing sales effectiveness and increasing sales productivity is a driving force behind the adoption of CRM. Empowering sales managers was listed as one of the top 5 CRM trends in 2013.[33]

Another related development is vendor relationship management (VRM), which provide tools and services that allow customers to manage their individual relationship with vendors. VRM development has grown out of efforts by ProjectVRM at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Identity Commons' Internet Identity Workshops, as well as by a growing number of startups and established companies. VRM was the subject of a cover story in the May 2010 issue of CRM Magazine.[34]

In 2001, Doug Laney developed the concept and coined the term 'Extended Relationship Management' (XRM).[35] Laney defines XRM as extending CRM disciplines to secondary allies such as the government, press and industry consortia.

CRM futurist Dennison DeGregor describes a shift from 'push CRM' toward a 'customer transparency' (CT) model, due to the increased proliferation of channels, devices, and social media.[36]

Capterra, Inc. ranked the Top CRM Software Solutions in 2013 based on total number of customers, total number of users and social presence.[37]

See also[edit]

External sources[edit]


  1. ^ Shaw, Robert, Computer Aided Marketing & Selling (1991) Butterworth Heinemann ISBN 978-0-7506-1707-9
  2. ^ SAP Insider (15 November 2007) Still Struggling to Reduce Call Center Costs Without Losing Customers?
  3. ^ Davenport, T.H., Harris, J.G., Kohli, A.K. (2001), "How do they know their customers so well?", MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 42 No.2, pp.63-73.
  4. ^ a b Yun E. Zeng, H. Joseph Wen, David C. Yen, "Customer relationship management (CRM) in business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce", Emerald 11, (2003).
  5. ^ Rebekah Henderson, B2B Insights (2013) How to build a B2B-friendly CRM
  6. ^ Piskar F., Faganel A. (2009). A successful CRM Implementation Project in a Service Company: Case Study. Organizacija, Vol: 42, pp. 199-208
  7. ^ TopTen Reviews CRM Software Review
  8. ^ Cloud Taxonomy CRM Software as a Service[1]
  9. ^ Network Computing Award Winner 2014 [2]
  10. ^ TopTen Review Salesforce
  11. ^ BPMonline Why BPMonline CRM?
  12. ^ 'GetApp' Overview of BPMonline CRM
  13. ^ amoCRM' Official Web-Page of amoCRM software
  14. ^ Firmao CRM' Firmao CRM website
  15. ^ (2009) Who Owns the Social Customer?
  16. ^ Lester, Aaron (2013-04-23). "Seeking treasure from social media tracking? Follow the customer". SearchBusinessAnalytics. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  17. ^ It’s all about the Customer, Stupid – The Importance of Customer Centric Partners
  18. ^ Sales and Customer Services–CRM: Services Overview
  19. ^ Customer-centric relationship management system development: A generative knowledge integration perspective
  20. ^ CRM and customer-centric knowledge management: an empirical research
  21. ^ Jim Dickie, CSO Insights (2006) Demystifying CRM Adoption Rates
  22. ^ Joachim, David. "CRM tools improve access, usability." (cover story). B to B 87, no. 3 (11 March 2002): 1
  23. ^ David Sims, (2007) CRM Adoption ‘Biggest Problem’ in 83 Percent of Cases
  24. ^ Hasan, M. R., Rahman, M., And Khan, M. M. (2013). Rural Consumers’ Adoption of CRM in a Developing Country Context. International Journal of Business and Management Invention (IJBMI), 2(9), 121-131. [3]
  25. ^ Nguyen, B. & Mutum, D. S. (2012). A review of customer relationship management: successes, advances, pitfalls and futures, Business Process Management Journal, 18 (3). 400-419 [4]
  26. ^ (2013) 2013 CRM Market Share Update: 40% Of CRM Systems Sold Are SaaS-Based
  27. ^ "Gartner Says Worldwide Customer Relationship Management Market Grew 23 Percent in 2007" (Press release). Gartner, Inc. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  28. ^ "Gartner Says Worldwide CRM Market Grew 12.5 Percent in 2008" (Press release). Gartner, Inc. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  29. ^ Put Cloud CRM to Work PC World: April, 2010
  30. ^ Oracle Buys Cloud-based Customer Service Company RightNow For $1.5 Billion Techcrunch: 24 October 2011
  31. ^ SAP Challenges Oracle With $3.4 Billion SuccessFactors Purchase Bloomberg Businessweek: 7 December 2011
  32. ^ Greenberg, Paul (2009). CRM at the Speed of Light (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. p. 7. 
  33. ^ "Top 5 CRM Trends for 2013". Enterprise Apps Today. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  34. ^ CRM Magazine: May, 2010
  35. ^ [5] The Great Enterprise Balancing Act: Extended Relationship Management (XRM), Doug Laney, META Group publication, 10 December 2001
  36. ^ DeGregor, Dennison (2011). Customer-Transparent Enterprise: Beyond 20th Century CRM. Motivational Press. ISBN 1-935723-23-5. 
  37. ^