In order to make the best use of customer relationship management (CRM) software, it is necessary to understand why it is important to use these CRM tools in the first place.
The idea of CRM is simply to enable your firm to understand (and identify) who target customers are and how best to market to them. A properly developed CRM system will allow your business to analyse marketing activity and its impact on sales. CRM systems create that vital link between marketing and sales.
A good CRM system allows for goal setting throughout the business and allows marketing to monitor how well a campaign is translating into sales. CRM is often the key to success for many major businesses and is a great way to transform a small or medium sized business into something bigger and more successful.
Some of the best and most popular CRM software packages include Goldmine, Sugar CRM and for larger corporations, customized systems from Siebel or Oracle. Your CRM system will also facilitate reporting as it will allow you to pull information such as “who received the marketing mail shot” and compare this with “who actually bought the product”.
Before deciding on which CRM system is best for your business, you should create a complete list of your company's needs, requirements and expectations when implementing a CRM solution. Think about what you want to achieve with the CRM system in place and how you plan on measuring it.
It will be necessary to allocate internal resources to a CRM function so budget for this and schedule staff time specifically for CRM. Make sure every department is involved and has full buy-in and support for a CRM system – this is probably best achieved by your company’s marketing manager.
It’s worth consulting with a variety of CRM resources and publications that provide user reviews, screenshots and product overviews of the various packages and solutions that are out there. You can then decide on which system best complements the needs of your business.