CRM (Customer Relationship Management) includes software, methodologies and Internet capabilities that assist companies to steadily manage their relationships with existing and potential customers. Companies mostly use the CRM software applications to automate and synchronize sales & marketing, technical support and customer service. These applications are mostly available as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) or on-premise solution.
CRM solutions offer companies proper data that they need to provide products and services as per their demands. CRM systems also help in cross-selling, providing effective customer service, close deals and get a better understanding of their customers.
Most CRM applications cover following capabilities:
Sales force automation (SFA): This helps in integrating and automating sales processes, opportunity management, sales forecasting, order management, fulfillment and incentive compensation management.
Marketing automation: The software automates entire marketing process along with capabilities including email management, campaigns, website search engine optimization, lead reporting & analytics and landing page and form creation.
Customer support and service: These capabilities cover customer portals, case & ticket management, time tracking and knowledge management.
The Rise of CRM
CRM applications can find their roots back in the 1980s, when database marketing came across as a new and improved form of direct marketing. Robert and Kate Kestnbaum were pioneers in this area, who introduced metrics like customer lifetime value, econometrics to marketing strategies and application of financial modeling.
In the mid-1980s, CMS (contact management software) applications such as ACT! came out in the business software market. These programs that function as ‘digital Rolodexes’ let companies store and organize customer contact information.
In 1990s, CRM software went through major advances. Contact management software became SFA software with Siebel systems and became the leading provider. By the year 1995, the term “customer relationship management” started coming into use. In the second half of the decade, ERP vendors like Baan and SAP came into the market, which led to more sales, marketing and service features being added to the CRM. Near the end of the decade, e-CRM came into existence with first mobile CRM application; more importantly, the first ever SaaS CRM application was introduced now.
The dot-com broke of the early 2000s hit hard the CRM industry and e-CRM vendors in particular. At the end of the decade, cloud-based and SaaS CRM systems began conquering markets due to their lower cost, integration speed and flexibility. By the end of 2012, market experienced 12% of growth, for on an average, four out of ten CRM systems that were sold were the SaaS-based.
With rising social media, the term “social CRM” came into existence fostered by communication with customers through multiple social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Driven by high level investment in digital marketing and customer experience openings, the CRM software market marked of nearly 14% growth in the year 2013.
CRM Trends Today
Most of the experts from industry agree that we have traveled to the age of the customer. In present day digital and social world, linear sales cycle of earlier generations has made a way to customer lifecyle, where buyers hold the true power. As a result, its visibility has also become highly important.
Support for iOS, Windows and Android based mobile devices has become a must-have for CRM solutions. Whether it’s latest metrics, customer details, calendar information or anything else, business users require real-time access to every information.
Another trend that companies want is CRM applications that can integrate with social solutions such as Qontext and Yammer, as well as the leading email and productivity tools like Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook.
It’s a daunting task to find a cloud-based CRM system that delivers all capabilities together. Only a right solution provider can assist you transform customers’ experience through increased sales, providing valuable insights and making sales organizations more efficient. NetSuite CRM + software is the single cloud-based solution that could fit the demands by providing lead through sales order, fulfillment, upselling, cross-selling and support. NetSuite Expert is the place you can get every solution at the right price and value.