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    Home > Articles > CRM - Customer Relationship Management

    What is CRM?

    Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a label that has been tacked onto practically everything having to do with marketing. Like the broad field of marketing, CRM touches all aspects of marketing analysis, marketing communications, sales, and customer service.

    CRM is the technique -- a set of processes -- for collecting information from prospects and customers about their needs, and for providing information that helps them evaluate and purchase products that deliver the best possible value to them.

    CRM vendors like to think of CRM as a category of products that can be compared and evaluated against each other. However, CRM shouldn't be thought of as just a technology or product. Instead, marketers need to think of CRM as a process for managing the company's resources to create the best possible experience and value for customers while generating the highest possible revenue and profit for the company.

    A typical CRM system uses a centralized database to store data about marketing, sales, and customer service. This gives employees a complete view of the company's relationship with each customer.

    The question frequently comes up about how one-to-one marketing is related to CRM.

    One-to-one marketing is a philosophy of building relationships that lead to understanding the needs and priorities of each prospect and customer, and providing the products and services that meet those needs.

    A CRM-enabled company implements one-to-one marketing by using a unified approach to marketing analysis, marketing communications, sales, and service. This improved communication technique results in creating a one-to-one relationship of understanding each prospect's needs and showing that the company's products meet those needs, which encourages the prospect to select that vendor.

    In other words, a CRM approach to one-to-one marketing helps a company implement the learning and communications techniques that demonstrate the desire of the company -- and the value to the customer -- in forming a long-lasting relationship.

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