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Getting started with CRM

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a term used to define best practices and best ways a business should handle the current and prospective customers. CRM Software helps business achieve CRM objectives.
There are multiple technologies/modules used to achieve CRM objectives. A Call Center is used to handle Customer Complaints, Support and Billing queries. CRM Software also involves running marketing campaign. Scripting concept is used to guide the sales agent to ask intelligent questions. Enterprise Marketing Campaign is used to identify and target prospective customers for Campaign. Sales Force automation is implemented to help the sales team by keeping track of Business Accounts and Contacts. eCRM can be implemented to provide Sales people access to CRM thru internet. All these modules make up Operational CRM.

Analytical CRM can be implemented to provide intelligent analysis to the management for better decision making and reducing performance load on Operational CRM. A Data warehouse can be implemented to support analytics. A data warehouse can collect data from Operational CRM and other Transactional systems (ERP etc). Data mining techniques can be used to predict behaviour of prospective customer based on past data and customer behavior.

Important Modules in CRM

1. Inbound Call Center

Inbound Call center is used every time Customer needs to contact a Business over the phone. Ever wondered what technologies are involved in running an Inbound Call Center. Here is a list of Key ones

  • ACD (Automatic Call Dialer)/EPABX is used to route calls to agents automatically and intelligently.

  • Power of CRM application is used to provide agents with means of better servicing and interacting with clients.

  • IVRS or Interactive Voice Response System is used to handle routine queries.

  • Workforce management software is used to forecast Call volume and hence manage number of agents require to handle Calls.

  • Speech or Voice recognition is also  increasingly used.

  • Quality Management tools are implemented to measure how well agents adhere to business policies and procedures.

2. Outbound Call Center

Outbound Call Center is primarily used when Business needs to contact Customers or Prospective Customers. It can be used for running marketing campaign, for conducting Customer Satisfaction survey etc.

  • Power of CRM application is used to provide agents with better means of interacting with clients.

  • Campaign management module generates a targeted list of Customers to call for effective Campaign.

  • Scripting is used to provide agents with pre-written script for productive and effective interactions.

3. Sales Force Automation (SFA)

Sales Force Automation is a CRM module (Probably Most Popular) to help Sales Executives win New Customers and Business. All the stages are recorded including any interactions with the client. There are numerous advantages of using SFA. Primary functions of Sales Force Automation are

  1. Account Management keeps track of Companies and help manage companies.

  2. Contact Management keeps track of people in Companies and helps manage influencers and decision makers.

  3. Opportunity Management helps manage different selling opportunities that exist with Company.

SFA software makes it easy for Sales personnel to record, maintain and access list of contacts, details of previous meetings and intelligent information such as products and services, a customer might be interested in. This critical information helps sales rep make better use of their interactions with potential customers and close more sales.

Configurator can also be used to quickly configure Product based on Customer requirement and create proposal and presentation. Most PC vendors have something similar to let customers choose and customize the product (RAM, Wireless Cards etc) online and suggest price.

Web based CRM or eCRM is bringing CRM to the internet. That way, sales personals can use CRM over the internet and take the advantage wherever they are.

4. Enterprise Marketing Automation (EMA)

EMA is a CRM module (or Independent software) that helps a business plan and run marketing campaigns. It helps a Business by maintaining, managing and filtering prospective customers and provides a targeted short list to run campaign.

The information can be collected from various sources like public directories or can be bought from paid providers. It can also include Work Flow automation to automate entire process and sending each responsible person a reminder, when action is due.


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