Customer Relationship Management (CRM) | Marketing Concepts.

Customer Relationship Management or administration of the customer relationship , integrates all functions and processes involved in the activities of the company with its customers. The main purpose of the CRM solutions is to attract, develop and retain more profitable customers, and maximize their loyalty.
A CRM solution includes as main functional areas, sales, Marketing and service departments. In addition, as channels of communication with customers.
To increase their profits, the companies in Latin America begin to bet on demand. In this context, the relationship with the customer becomes an asset, and the company's mission is defined as giving customers what they want. The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the tool to accomplish this mission. His central idea: not to do things for the customer, but with the client.
To achieve this integration CRM should be based on technological tools, through 3 components:

  • Automated sales force tools that can help improve productivity by eliminating many repetitive and routine tasks associated with the management of your sales team and to the monitoring of the acquisition of new customers. It also allows you to increase sales and margins without incurring additional costs for staff.
Some additional benefits you will get: increase the productivity of your sales force to increase the conversion of opportunities in sales; you will have a consistent process to handle market prospects and customers; It will improve the planning and sales forecast.
  • The automated customer support will help increase the process of billing and payments, help desk, service management, problem solving, and others. Through the automation of this process, you may satisfy better their customers while minimizing your costs.
  • Automated marketing tools will help you track the effectiveness of advertisements and Marketing efforts. You can more effectively determine your ROI if layers of track events costs to customers, advertising and mailing, and then compare them with the sales generated.

How to implement efficient ideas

Although the CRM was being developed as a concept by large consulting firms around the world, in recent years it has strengthened through the thrust generated by the sellers of technology, which have taken over the idea to encompass a series of tools derived from the call center industry, for example.
Precisely, the central concept behind the tools targeting each customer interaction rests on a single database, which includes information generated around each customer, products and previous transactions. So that the technological aspect, i.e., the ability to withstand all these functions with solidity, becomes a key aspect. However, there are several areas included in this change.
Jeffry Golterman, Vice President of the consulting firm Gartner Group CRM, explains that "at the business level, what is being sought is generate a balance between the market value of the company and the value of the consumer. At the level of the tools, the technology connects and integrates the Organization to all channels that consumers can use: sellers field, call center, contact center, network, business partners, sales channels, brokers, retailers. The technologies allow a greater knowledge of the customer, greater access and integration of channels, and more effective interaction".

Generating benefits by areas

Gartner Group recommends that, to put together a mix of basic CRM, should include the three major functional areas of the company: marketing, sales and service to the client, which in turn must be connected with the backoffice of the companies, as well as mobile agents, Internet and call centers.
The benefits expected for each of these areas are notable.
  • In the case of sales, it is possible to shorten the sales cycle on the basis of a strong increase of the efficiency of the staff, who happens to have access to up-to-date information of all products and services of the company from any computer, a laptop, a palm or a web enabled phone.
  • For the marketing area, the benefit is tangible through sharing information from sales and marketing, guaranteeing data exchange in time and form, as generating new campaigns made best performances.
  • In the service area to the client, the convergence of all the data the company has on each client, helps each contacted consumer is transformed into a business opportunity.
The first thing is the change of policies
CRM represents a profound change. Many organizations think that it is just a technology, but both consultants and "vendors" indicate that the main thing is to recognize the keys necessary to operate the business. The behaviors of individuals immersed in the day-to-day contact with the customer are also fundamental.
In that sense, "the first thing you need to do a company who wants to implement CRM is to define policies," explains Golterman, of Gartner Group.

Tools for change

Customer Relationship Management is a practice whose development is just beginning in this part of the world. Under their immaturity, need to be clear that any vendor can replace the essential aspect of development: the necessary cultural change within the company, whose purpose is to decide to make every customer contact in a new business.
To give impetus to sales is not enough to treat current customers to buy more. The best way is to win more customers, which means innovative behaviour. The key to success lies in identifying customers suitable for growth objectives, and strategies that help conquer them are five:
  • Study the market and plan contacts with potential customers to be able to automate the sales process.
  • Use the experience and expertise of the company to gain credibility and seduce customers.
  • Diversify and adapt the offer depending on demand.
  • Partnering with strategic clients.
  • Acquire or merge with a competitor that cannot be defeated.

The value of CRM business

A Customer Relationship Management strategy is designed to increase income and profitability to attract new customers, develop your business, and increase your customer satisfaction and loyalty, allowing more efficient business processes and the use of lower-cost technologies.
The primary objective of the CRM is to obtain higher revenues, and not to cut costs. CRM solutions improve sales and marketing efforts, and allows organizations to provide better service to customers. Earn new customers, retain existing ones, and buy in larger quantities. End users benefit by receiving a better service to the customer and obtain the products and services that they want, when they want them. A company that does not have a CRM strategy or does not use CRM applications is at a competitive disadvantage.
Before committing on a mission to implement a CRM strategy, it is critical to determine what are the specific objectives and how to measure the return on investment. There are grim statistics which indicate that more than half of CRM implementations "fail", mainly due to the lack of consensus in the agreed and more important objective, quantifiable objectives. While the objectives can determine the specifics of a poor performance - for example, under performance in sales or low satisfaction scores to the customer - it is important that also support the entire customer lifecycle.
Implementing a solid CRM strategy, companies can obtain great benefits.
CRM applications perform the following business functions:
  • Sales automation: Sales professionals provides access to critical information from customers and tools that improve your ability to sell effectively as well as the manage your time. For example: management of contacts, calendar functions, production tools, configuration models.
  • Marketing Automation: marketing departments provides the tools to manage campaigns, generate initiatives, and data mining. The management of closed-cycle initiatives is one of the most important functions of marketing automation and depends on integration with a data warehouse and related applications.
  • Service to the customer and support: allows the company to handle questions, problems, or issues of customers effectively and efficiently. While customer satisfaction is the main goal, many organizations are looking to increase revenue at the same time that provide service to the customer through "cross-selling" or cross-selling.
  • Channel management / management of relationship with partners: extends CRM capabilities to the needs of sales channels extended as distributors and value added resellers. CRM applications allow companies distributing initiatives and manage promotions outside of the company's sales team.
  • Desktop internal support (Helpdesk): support internal users through applications that cover the management and support of network, registry and resolution of calls and support of internal clients.
Categories of applications that integrate CRM are evolving continuously, reflecting the emergence and adoption of new underlying technologies, changing requirements of businesses in response to competitive pressures, and increasing sophistication and expectations of the users. The quick acceptance and integration of the Internet has given rise to the most significant change in CRM - a transformation in the categories applications to CRM applications are increasingly using Internet-based architectures.
CRM and e-commerce are converging towards a solution focused on users, which helps organizations interact, selling, and servicing customers across all channels.
Internet is empowering many and new activities and processes of businesses that were never possible. For example: 1:1 marketing and "Customizing mass" of the marketing programs, fronts of stores Web purchase online, and auto-enabled Web service for customers.
The service to the customer is an important factor that companies try to differentiate themselves to attract and retain customers. Competition is much more fierce - now only a click away - because of the Internet.
Businesses are focusing more and more on the interaction with the customer and determining ways to improve the customer experience at every point of interaction or contact that customer has with them. The customers are in the driver's seat, businesses are flirting them and they are in the position to demand how they want to be treated or contacted.
Companies that have implemented a single application, CRM, customer support, are now looking to integrate that application with others, such as automated sales force or service management customer. It is increasingly important that a CRM solution to integrate with other applications of the company such as financial systems and other systems back Office in order to leverage the information of customers residing throughout the company.
As attention focuses on CRM and e-commerce increases, companies are investing in CRM applications to integrate them across the enterprise, and therefore manage relationships effectively and optimal client.

CRM is not just technology

Only because the philosophy of CRM implementation requires the use of technologies, created some confusion in the market. Since the concept attracted the attention of the media, specialized solutions were encouraged strong and fast. There is an infinite number of packages that are sold as a CRM, but it is not true, they cover only a part of it. CRM is more than a set of software. It is a continuous process that includes a business strategy, change of culture within the Organization and use of technology. CRM is not implanted by complexity, only once and in a standard way. As well as the clients are different, also each company differs from each other.
Following this logic, the CRM is different from a business to another. An operator of telecommunications, for example, which has a million subscribers, requires a project of CRM different from a company that produces ships. And why a company that makes ships requires CRM? Because usually a ship lasts 50 years, and throughout that time, the company will require managing the relationship with many people and entities. But in terms of the operator will probably require data warehouse (data store) to analyze the data of millions of people, the manufacturer of ships you can use a simpler system because the number of customers is much lower.
However, more than tools, is necessary to consider the concepts, processes, and understand how the CRM model fits within that company in particular. It is also necessary to take into account the objectives intended by the shareholders of the company, even to analyze if a CRM project is justified and, if positive, by which tip must be started: by the center of attention, sales (sales force automation) or marketing.


The following describes schematically, some fundamental components that must have a serious strategy for implementation of the new way of doing marketing in organizations:

Account management strategy (customer service)

  • Leader of account customer relationship
    • Establish scope of account
    • Proactively monitor needs
    • Respond to requests for service or product
    • Manage account plan
    • Manage relationships with customers
    • Promote services or products
    • Follow up on collection

Relationship leader of account account team

  • Interdisciplinary team
  • Organize participants and encourages interaction
  • Promote innovation
  • Design plan of care

Service strategy and/or products

  • Manage portfolio of services and products
  • Manage portfolio of accounts
  • Evaluation of products and the performance of services

Business intelligence strategy

  • Monitoring industry and markets
  • Benchmarking (competitive referencing)
  • (EIS) Executive information system
  • Knowledge management
  • Integration of knowledge base

CRM methodology

Conceptually, the methodology for the development of a project of this style includes the following stages:
1. definition of objectives and vision of the CRM project
It is necessary to define a vision ("How will be the Organization after the implementation of the project") as well as the overall objectives of the project to focus on these goals and to be able to keep track of them.
This definition should be developed following an initial analysis to get to know both the forts as weaknesses of the Organization, being critical this initial analysis for the further development of the project.
These goals should be quite specific (within range). I.e., the objectives would be for example "reduce the rate of loss of customers in x %" instead of "improving relations with clients".
2. definition of the CRM strategy
After having defined the vision and objectives, it is essential to define a strategy to achieve the defined objectives.
Obviously, this strategy is the key definition of the positioning of each one of the segments of clients in your organization, analyzing current and required competencies as well as a timetable for their implementation.
At this point, it is critical to analyze each segments as well as the definition of the value proposition for each of them. All customers should not be treated as a "uniform mass" but that each segment has its characteristics and peculiarities.
3. organizational changes, processes and people
It is necessary to modify the organizational structure and processes to achieve a customer-focused company. Processes must be redefined to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency , giving priority to those who have more impact on customer satisfaction. At this point, the technology will be key.
Similarly, it is necessary to introduce the values of corporate culture customer-oriented organization. This is one of the critical elements in the success of a CRM project: the "passion for the customer" integrated in the culture of the organization.
Everyone in the Organization must understand that "the customer is King" and that every interaction that you have with them is essential for the business outcomes.
4 information
Definition of good practices for the management of information.
This is a very important part of the development of the "intelligence of customers" (customer intelligence) and thereby achieving learn more customers, initial step for the development of a strategy complete CRM based on knowledge of the clients and the development of products and services to your needs.
Gathering information for the improvement of processes as well as to set is also important also up continuous improvement systems.
5 technology
After having perfectly defined all the objectives of business processes, organizational structure, etc., is the time to start thinking about technology.
At this point it is important to emphasize that it is absolutely necessary to know exactly the needs of business have to be able to choose the technological solution that is best adapted to the specific needs.
It is problematic to both choose the solutions that are oversized for the needs as picking a solution that after its implementation is clearly detected that it is insufficient for the needs of the organization.
6 monitoring and control
As any major project, they have to define indicators that serve to control the results as well as decision making accordingly with these objectives.
It is important to note that although we have a global plan of development of the project it is very important to take steps short and safe, analyzing the ROI (return on investment) of each of the steps and continue thus motivating the organization toward the long road to being a customer-centric "organization".
Published for educational purposes
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