Customer Relationship Management – CRM

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By Tim Berry, Courtesy of


What is CRM?

Customer Relationship Management is an information industry term for methodologies, software, and, usually, Internet capabilities that help an enterprise manage customer relationships in an organized way. For example, an enterprise might build a database about its customers that described relationships in sufficient detail. Therefore, management, salespeople, people providing services, and perhaps the customers could directly access information, match customer needs with product plans and offerings, remind customers of service requirements, and know what other products a customer had purchased.


According to one industry view, CRM consists of:


  • Helping an enterprise to enable its marketing departments to identify and target their best customers, manage marketing campaigns with clear goals and objectives, and generate quality leads for the sales team.
  • Assisting the organization to improve telesales, account, and sales management by optimizing information shared by multiple employees, and streamlining existing processes (for example, taking orders using mobile devices).
  • Allowing the formation of individualized relationships with customers, with the aim of improving customer satisfaction and maximizing profits; identifying the most profitable customers and providing them the highest level of service.
  • Providing employees with the information and processes necessary to know their customers, understand their needs, and effectively build relationships between the company, its customer base, and distribution partners.


Brief history of CRM

With the advent of e-commerce comes the e-customer. According to Vantive, a customer relationship management solutions provider, the e-customer expects constant access to a company; through e- mails, call centers, faxes and websites. They demand immediate response and a personalized touch. Meeting their needs places new demands on the enterprise. Since traditional enterprise resource planning applications did not include a customer management aspect, CRM was the logical next step. Vantive, for example, has been developing and implementing customer-facing applications since 1992.


Two trends have brought CRM to the forefront, explains Boston University professor Tom Davenport, who directs Andersen Consulting’s Institute for Strategic Change. First, as global competition has increased and products have become harder to differentiate, “companies have begun moving from a product-centric view of the world to a customer-centric one,” says Davenport . . . read more at



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