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The definition of CRM

CRM is defined as customer relationship management, which is a category of data-driven solutions that helps manage, track, and store information related to your current and potential customers. By keeping this information in a centralized system, business teams can access the information they need, the moment they need it.

CRM systems help drive efficiency by bringing together tasks and data. From there, they use relational intelligence to create actionable insights across sales, marketing, and service activities. As a result, you can define CRM as solutions that help organize, consolidate, and automate information related to supporting customers—and then using the information to provide a better overall customer experience.

By tying this information together into a single solution, CRM systems can help provide a complete view of customers so that you can create improved experiences that build brand loyalty.

Scenarios where CRM systems can create impact

With a wide range of features and capabilities, CRM solutions or systems help an organization monitor and manage the information needed to provide exceptional support for both current and potential customers.

Often used in sales, marketing, and service activities, here are some examples of how a CRM solution can help keep your team organized and efficient:

Sales

Track leads.

Monitor progress with an all-up view of your current leads. CRM systems can track—and prioritize—lead status, stage, and engagement.

Monitor the sales pipeline.

Understand your potential sales revenue by knowing which opportunities your sales team is working on. CRM systems can offer a single view of all the deals currently in the pipeline.

Marketing

Manage campaigns.

Build digital campaigns within your CRM solution, tracking engagement, results, and providing reporting.

Personalize the buyer experience.

Create customer journeys based upon engagement, helping offer an experience unique to the needs of the customer.

Service

Respond to customer issues.

CRM solutions help you to address customer needs through email, live chat, or on social media.

Route issues for fast resolution.

With centralized data, information about each customer is stored in one place, providing easy access and streamlining the resolution process.

Defining the benefits of CRM

CRM systems can make a tremendous impact in your business, creating increased efficiency, better communication, and an improved ability to meet the needs of your customers. Here are some key benefits you’ll find from implementing CRM systems:

Identify and engage the right customers. Predictive insight and data-driven buyer behavior can help you learn how to identify, target, and attract the right leads—and then turn them into customers.

Improve customer interaction. With a complete view of the customer, every member of the sales team will know a customer’s history, purchasing patterns, and any specific data that will help your team provide the most attentive service to each individual customer.

Track progress across the customer journey. Knowing where a customer is in your overall sales lifecycle helps you target campaigns and opportunities for the highest engagement.

Increase team productivity. Improved visibility and streamlined processes can help increase productivity, helping your team focus on what matters most.

Align sales, marketing, and customer service. CRM systems offer a single view of the customer, helping all members of your team understand where a customer is in the journey, and how to provide the best service.

What to look for in a CRM solution

As you begin to define your CRM strategy, here are some key features to consider:

Multi-channel capabilities. With the pace of technology, you want a CRM solution that can keep up. Look for a CRM system with artificial intelligence (AI), mixed reality, social, and mobile capabilities.

Business intelligence. Gain actionable insight with a CRM solution that weaves in leading analytics and business intelligence, helping you take your CRM system beyond a basic tracking system.

Flexible solution. Your business needs may change as you grow, and a scalable, integrated solution built on a secure platform provides the flexibility to meet your needs, regardless of your business size.

Artificial intelligence (AI)- and data-driven insights. CRM solutions today provide far more than CRM solutions of the past. As the tool gathers data, systems that feature AI can offer predictive insight, helping you make smarter decisions backed by buyer behavior.

CRM in action

Creating a single solution across marketing, inside sales, outside sales, and customer service, Sage Publishing streamlined efforts and developed a customized experience to help manage sample book distribution, follow-up, and related sales.


Get CRM capabilities with Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 brings you digital transformation through a new approach to business applications—seamless apps that work great on their own and even better together. Get the CRM features you need through modular apps that are modern, intelligent, unified, and adaptable.

Dynamics 365 offers CRM capabilities across the following apps: