CRM Buzzwords and Trends for 2009

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Customer relationship management (CRM) is more than a technology. It’s a business strategy that aims at identifying customers and their needs and then creating sales and service strategies that are unique to them.

Here is a quick look at CRM—from buzzwords to trends, to some recommended solutions.

CRM Buzzwords

  • CRM ecosystem - the changing landscape of customer relationship management

  • Customer experience – a purchasing experience provided to a consumer by a retailer aimed at retaining customer loyalty

  • Mobile CRM – a solution that provides remote access to the sales force in the field to important customer data, such as quotes, contracts, etc.

  • CRM 2.0 – like Web 2.0, CRM 2.0 allows users to communicate through various platforms and forums on a variety of customer-related topics (such as products, purchasing, service, etc.)

Hot and Trendy in CRM
To be successful, there are certain things your business can’t—or shouldn’t—be without. One of those things is CRM. Why wait until one of your competitors gets the latest and greatest in CRM technology—leaving your business in the dust? Do your CRM shopping today by finding out what’s new, hot, and trendy in CRM for 2009. At the same time you’ll learn about the different ways your organization can retain customers in these hard economic times.

#1- Going Mobile
Many organizations have already adopted mobile CRM to help improve productivity and enhance the customer experience. In the service sector, mobile CRM has become a big priority, as it provides the ability for sales people in the field to access and update CRM information anywhere they can use a mobile device (PDA, Blackberry, etc.)

With instant access to customer information, sales reps can easily update records, respond to leads, as well as customer’s requests. Mobile CRM helps businesses and their sales force improve its customer service; it provides greater visibility to real-time data, and helps to shorten the sales cycle.

#2 - Analytics and Forecasting
Today, more and more companies are investing in understanding customer value and modeling customer behavior. As such, through the use of analytics, businesses now have a comprehensive way of capturing data and learning more about the customer, their spending habits, and much more. Here are some examples of what analytics can provide.

  • customer sales analysis

  • sales analysis by salesperson

  • sales analysis by sales region

  • sales analysis by product group

  • statistics of all customer visits

  • creation of sales forecasts

Marketing and Service

  • reports on how well your marketing programs are doing

  • multichannel campaign tracking

  • statistics of all telephone calls made

  • customer service response times

#3 - Social Networking/Social Computing
Everywhere you go these days, people are connected in one way or another. I don’t mean in the “six degrees of separation” kind of way, but literally connected—through their computers, laptops, pagers, cells phones, SmartPhones, iPhones, or Blackberries. And through forums like MSN Messenger, wikis, podcasts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Classmates, MySpace,, personal blogs—just to name a few. The list is endless. This is what is known as social networking, social computing, or Web 2.0 (in this case CRM 2.0).

While social networking is certainly not a new technology, it seems to be gaining momentum. For the über-shopper, new technologies like StoreXperience now allows consumers to communicate with stores through a simple application download to their cell phone through text message. Not only can consumers check prices by scanning the price tags with the phone's camera while shopping, they can also receive detailed product information instantly on their phone from the retailer.

In addition to communicating through many different forums, users can communicate about many different topics—including what products they’ve purchased and how they rate them. You might be thinking that for manufacturers and retailers this might be a bad thing. On the contrary, these organizations are welcoming Web 2.0 as a means of helping them to improve their product and ultimately their brand. By using social networking tools, companies can test new ideas with the consumer and get their feedback.

CRM and the Economy
With the economy in a downturn, 2009 is expected to be a very tough year for businesses. Even though consumers will likely be tightening their pocketbooks in the coming year, companies still need to ensure that the customer’s they do have are well taken care of. By leveraging new technologies that can help improve performance, you can turn your call center from a cost center to a profit center.

CRM Offerings at a Glance

  • CDC Software - The Pivotal CRM platform and the applications built upon it are highly flexible, enabling customers to mold the software to fit the way they do business. Extreme architectural flexibility cuts down on the time and cost of customizing Pivotal CRM solutions and allows businesses to create the internal processes and external customer experience that fit their strategy and vision.

  • Exact Softwaree-Synergy is a web-based collaborative platform that includes CRM and human resources (HR) functionality, including real-time financials, multisite reporting, and relationship and knowledge management capabilities. The solution allows organizations to access all customer contacts, correspondence, transactions, and activities in a single central database, securely from anywhere via the Internet or intranet.

  • MicrosoftMicrosoft Dynamics CRM is a fully integrated CRM solution comprised of a robust suite of sales, marketing, and customer service capabilities. The product offers businesses of all sizes a fast, flexible, and affordable solution for finding, winning, and growing profitable customer relationships. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides enterprise scalability, performance, and flexibility with a choice of on-premise and on-demand deployments.

  • Maximizer SoftwareMaximizer CRM is a CRM application that brings together sales, marketing, and customer service and support in one suite that is accessible from the office, remotely via the Web, or through mobile devices (including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Palm). The solution helps enterprises track and measure individual and team performance; generate accurate forecasts, and preserve each customer's life cycle.

  • SysproSyspro CRM was developed around a process automation methodology in which key functions of the CRM solution are defined specific to the end users' needs allowing for improved efficiency in regards to customer and vendor management. With strong marketing, campaign, and service management, the Syspro CRM solution was designed to dynamically handle the constantly changing requirements of today's business.

If you’d like to take a closer look at the above vendor’s CRM offerings, or if you’d like do a comparison analysis, visit TEC’s Software Evaluation Centers for the latest in CRM enterprise software solutions.
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