Customer relationship management (CRM) has been a hot term for about a decade within sales organizations, and it has rapidly been making necessary inroads into the world of marketing. CRM is defined by Wikipedia as: "A widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support."
CRM brings science and process into the marketing industry. To know thy customer (or potential customer) is to be able to market more efficiently and effectively to them. Using a CRM approach allows an organization to attract, retain and nurture clients and leads.
This strategy can utilize simple or complex systems. Well-known names such as Sugar CRM, Salesforce.com, Infusionsoft and Microsoft CRM are powerful systems that can automate and store vast troves of data. However, sometimes these systems can be overkill and difficult to gain high adoption rates due to their complexities. For companies that fit into this group, we recommend something simpler, such as a basic, custom database to collect and track leads that can be connected to your website.
thunder::tech believes in the importance of CRM so much that we have formed a CRM practice within our agency. This practice is led by strategists within our Data department, and like everything else we do at thunder::tech, will operate across the agency and act cross-functional in our service delivery.
We apply our Search Marketing team and our website developers to attract and capture sales leads. Our Social team brings social media communication strategy and a growing social business model to this effort. Our PR/Communications team and our Creative department work with this data to develop better messaging and visual assets to appeal to audiences based on what we know about them. We’re proud of the work we’ve done in this arena in the past and are excited to deepen our offerings for clients.
Customer relationship management has grown into a complex field and tends to be overwhelming for most organizations just starting to take it on. We treat CRM like any other new marketing service area: plan, test, learn and repeat. Steady, digestible progress creates buy-in from entrenched sales teams and as this group grows into the practice, other internal teams such as customer support, research, product development and others begin to investigate ways CRM can assist them.
Remember, CRM is not just about the technology. It’s a mindset that allows an organization to bring process to their customer management practices. When implemented effectively, CRM brings accountability through transparency, efficiency through automation and insights into your customers, which are the lifeblood of any organization.
Jason Therrien is the president of thunder::tech. He is a fan of entrepreneurs and trailblazers, a proud dad and he liked scotch before Mad Men.
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