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Customer Relationsihp Management

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CRM Features and Benefits

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) helps companies to understand, anticipate and respond to their customers' needs in a consistent way, right across their organization (Is4Profit, 2006,1). CRM is a business strategy designed to improve profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction. It consists of software, services, and a new way of thinking to improve profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction (Sibel, 2006, 1). Practicing CRM requires an efficient and integrated internal business system. Many businesses benefit from the organizational discipline CRM imposes, as well as from the technology itself. CRM can benefit and organization in that it can develop better communication channels; collect vital data, like customer details and order histories; create detailed profiles such as customer preferences; deliver instant, company-wide access to customer histories; Identify new selling opportunities. (Is4Profit, 2006, 1). CRM involves centralizing all customer data and automating much of the tedious work in managing sales, marketing, and customer service so that professionals can spend more time helping their customers become more successful and less time on administrative tasks. CRM has also come to include a new type of business intelligence software called analytics that provides managers with a real-time snapshot of their sales, marketing, and service efforts. This will help them make real-time changes to the business to ensure they meet their growth and profitability goals--instead of after-the-fact. The benefits of CRM are clear: by streamlining processes and providing sales, marketing, and service personnel with better, more complete customer information, CRM allows organizations to build more profitable customer relationships and decrease operating costs (Sibel, 2006,1).

Inside and Outside Target Groups

The inside SWU target groups are Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service. The Sales department will be targeted in that a CRM system will implement simple contact, opportunity management to forecasting, territory management, and pipeline management. Since CRM includes Sales automation processes, this enables management to see how their sales teams are performing in real time (Siebel, 2006,1). The Marketing department will be impacted in that marketing functions will be automated such as campaign design and management, email marketing, and lead assignment and management, organizations can increase the efficiency of their marketing organization and target their resources to the most effective marketing programs (Siebel, 2006,1). Marketing automation captures important customer, lead source, and demographic information that carry forward throughout the sales cycle. Management can identify new markets and opportunities; simplify marketing processes; quantify ROI on marketing spending; and improve marketing productivity while lowering customer acquisition costs (Siebel, 2006,1). Customer service will be impacted in that a CRM application will automate service request management, have a knowledge base, and use call routing. With these tools, agents become more productive by ensuring service requests do not fall through the cracks and solve customer issues faster (Siebel, 2006,1). Because agents have immediate access to complete customer records, they can quickly identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities as possible solutions to service issues. The outside target groups are determined by using existing marketing data on our business partners. Using data-mining techniques, target groups can be determined by looking at customer purchases and transaction histories. This will help us to model target groups for our marketing activities. But the target groups that are identified should be profitable customer groups. Also, dividing our customer master into different groups is called customer segmentation and depends to a great extent on the planned marketing activity. The segments created can then be processed in different ways, according to the particular needs and preferences of the business partners they contain (SAP, 2006, 1).

CRM Major Product Vendors

According to 20/20 Software (2006), below are the five top vendors selected along with their attributes and advantages.

Microsoft Inc.: Dynamics CRM 3.0

Because it is designed to partner with Outlook, Microsoft CRM delivers lower training costs, broader user adoption, less application-switching, higher productivity, and an incredibly rapid return on investment. Microsoft CRM can give employees direct access to customer information through Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA), enabling access to the information they need when they need it, in the office or on the road. Microsoft CRM adapts easily to your existing business workflow and processes. Information technology (IT) can quickly modify application forms, data fields, and relationships and add new activities and objects without writing a single line of code. This makes it easy to tailor Microsoft CRM to suit out needs and fit our business. It has a number of elegant workflow innovations that speed use, including next-step suggestions and automatic task assignment. The software has rapid, low-cost deployment; low support costs; and is easily scalability as your business grows. The major features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 are:

 Tight integration with Microsoft Office and Outlook

 Quick and easy access to your data

 Customized workspaces

 Service Calendar

 Powerful reporting and analysis tools

 Great mobile support

 A new marketing automation module

 Quick Campaign wizard

 Service scheduling

 Easy customization

 Flexible

 Easy to modify

 Streamlined installation

 Fast data searches

 Advanced management and notification

Overall the advantages of Microsoft CRM, are that it provides fully integrated customer relationship management solutions designed specifically for today's eBusiness climate. With Microsoft CRM, companies



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