Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)

Whether you have a PC or a Mac, there is a lot of software available to optimize your customer relationship. Whatever your sector of activity (services, trading, industry, agro-food), the size of your company, or the type of your customers, your organization must put all the chances on its side to differentiate itself.

More than the products or services offered, customer satisfaction is today the same condition to ensure the sustainability of your organization. CRM software allows you to better manage the relationship with your customer contacts and thus optimize your performance (sales and marketing). You will get to know all about this in the article.

The CRM Tool: All Your Data Centralized in a Single Tool

The concept of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) appeared in the 2000s. This acronym can be translated into French by Gestion Relation Client or GRC.

This new software offers new commercial perspectives with a “Customer-centric” approach (centered on your customers). The idea is to have all the data relating to the commercial activity of your company in a single tool (CRM software).

This data concerns all your contacts: your prospects, your customers, your partners, or even your suppliers.

CRM solutions have been designed to integrate perfectly with your information system, in particular with your business management solution. Indeed, the CRM tool interfaces with your ERP in an automated way to avoid re-entries and limit errors or omissions.

CRM Software Offers Many Features:

  • Contact management (prospects, customers, partners, suppliers),
  • Planning and monitoring of commercial actions (visit reports),
  • Planning and monitoring of marketing actions,
  • Management of field sales visits schedules, etc.

How to Choose a CRM Solution?

Different possibilities are available to you to equip yourself with CRM software. It is above all very important to clearly define your needs upstream for the project to be a success. Criteria that are very easy to identify can help you:

  • The workforce of your company (SME-SMI, ETI, or large group)
  • Your sector of activity (agro-food, services, industry, trading, etc.)
  • The typology of your customers (their professions and associated needs)
  • The terminals used by your sales teams (laptops, smartphones, tablets)

It is also essential to clearly define your budget allocated to the CRM project while considering that it is a long-term investment.

What are the Advantages of CRM Software?

Using a CRM solution for the customer relationship management of your company has many advantages. First of all, the time savings are considerable since you will no longer need to search for your information in different files. Everything will be centralized. Likewise, salespeople will be able to directly enter customer data during their travels, which will limit the loss of information.

CRM software helps improve your performance thanks to the various monitoring (sales and marketing actions, orders) and analysis (reporting) functionalities. These functions allow you to offer a high-quality service in correlation with the requirements of your customers. All this information related to your contacts is also decision support tools for the pilot (s) of the company.

The modernity (flexibility, intuitiveness, ergonomics, ease of use) of this type of software also has a positive impact on the motivation of your teams and all of your services (marketing, accounting, logistics, etc.). If the CRM solution facilitates the work of salespeople, their efficiency will be increased tenfold. The evolving nature of CRM software is also an asset.

Difference Between Internalized and Externalized CRM Software

The difference between in-house and outsourced management software is a question that companies often ask themselves during the preparatory stage of their CRM project.

However, our experience has shown us that the majority of professionals do not understand the subtlety between the two concepts and confuse them with other terms.

What are the Differences Between Internalized and Externalized?

The first concept consists of installing the software on a local server which can be physically stored in the company and potentially integrated into your ERP.

The second type of software, on the other hand, is installed on a virtual server also called Cloud Computing. This hosting model assumes that all your data is backed up on remote servers.

Have you also heard of SaaS? Indeed, they are IT tools that allow companies to manage their customer relationship without purchasing the software license. You can rent it, for a fixed or indefinite period, in order to avoid large material investments. We consider that these tools are more part of the outsourced software because they are hosted in the cloud.

The Internalized System, What Interest for Your Activity?

The key benefit of internal hosting is the ability to sync your tool with the rest of the software applications your business already has.

The classic case of this configuration is the presence of a CRM module in your ERP.

In this case, the data entered in the database is integrated into the rest of the modules (accounting, production, logistics); information flows smoothly and securely.

Email exchanges, phone calls, customer quotes. The visit reports described in a sheet, for example, represent sensitive information that involves several departments: sedentary salespeople, the field sales force, order pickers, etc.

It is therefore important that it be visible to all these actors.

Can We Trust an Outsourced Management System?

Cloud solutions have become increasingly important in recent years. Their success is due to the many advantages of this hosting system such as ease of use, availability of online documentary resources, automatic updating, etc.

However, the performance of Cloud Computing depends a lot on the efficiency of maintenance teams.

As the system and databases update automatically, you never intervene. All the work is done by publisher support services or by your integrator. If one of them does not have the capacity to react, you can quickly find yourself blocked.

Selection Criteria for Your CRM Solution

To assist you in your choice and help you find the management software that best suits your business needs, we offer a non-exhaustive list of conditions to be met. Your new tool should:

  • Offer the main functionalities noted in your specifications
  • Give the possibility to customize certain functions
  • Be synchronized or synchronizable to your ERP
  • Be ergonomic and easy to use
  • Provide facilities for entering, importing, and exporting data in different formats
  • Guarantee the confidentiality of customer data as well as your own information
  • Be compatible with the operating system you are using (Mac, Windows)

In conclusion, the CRM tool is a real competitive advantage for you. While it represents an investment, it also generates many benefits for you and your customers and contributes to the sustainability of your organization.

Mukul Mahajan

Mukul Mahajan is one of the Directors and founder of Tetra Information Services Pvt Ltd. Company is focused on providing Cost-effective solutions to Corporates using Open source technologies.

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