“The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.”
This succinct truth from Peter Drucker in The Practice of Management (1954) is a apt and insightful definition of CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
But a lot has changed. CRM now involves technology, software, inbound and outbound marketing, lead acquisition, databases, multiple touch points, multi-channel marketing, enterprise solutions and social media.
Here’s how 21 expert define CRM.
- A way to identify, acquire, and retain customers, a business’ greatest asset. – Siebel
- A widely implemented model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. – Wikepedia
- An enterprisewide business strategy designed to optimize profitability, revenue and customer satisfaction by organizing the enterprise around customer segments, fostering customer-satisfying behaviors and linking processes from customers through suppliers – Gartner
- An application used to automate sales and marketing functions and to manage sales and service activities in an organization. – Microsoft
- A business strategy directed to understand, anticipate and respond to the needs of an enterprise’s current and potential customers in order to grow the relationship value. – CRM Forecast
- A strategy used to learn more about customers’ needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them. – CIO
- An information industry term for methodologies, software, and usually Internet capabilities that help an enterprise manage customer relationships in an organized way. – Marios Alexandrou
- A comprehensive business model for increasing revenues and profits by focusing on customers. – Martin Walsh
- The belief that customers should feel like a VIP every time they communicate with your company. – Jennifer Carnie, Customer Systems
- A management philosophy according to which a company’s goals can be best achieved through identification and satisfaction of the customers’ stated and unstated needs and wants. – Business Dictionary (1 of 2)
- A computerized system for identifying, targeting, acquiring, and retaining the best mix of customers. – Business Dictionary (2 of 2)
- A business process of understanding, collecting and managing all of the information in a business environment relating to a customer. The goal of CRM is to more effectively communicate with customers and improve customer relationships over time. – James Wong, Avidian Technologies
- The processes, software, and systems that help an enterprise manage its relationships with prospects, customers, distribution channels, call centers, and suppliers. – Complete CRM Solution
- A person you have dealings with on a professional basis. A relationship as how you interact with someone, your view of them, their view of you and how this affects the way you deal with each other. Being in control of your customer relationships, defining them, steering them in the direction you decide. – Bluesoft
- A combination of software and a customized software process to help companies gain a competitive advantage in either sales, marketing or customer service. – MondoCRM
- The aggregation of customer-centric strategies which drive new functional activity not only for sales, marketing and service, but often back office functions such as accounting, production, and shipping which demand reengineered work processes for everyone affected which require technology support to implement. – Unknown
CRM involves steps and stages that are sometimes better visualized. So, here are some ways the process of CRM is defined pictorially.
All of these definitions prove to me technology can advance the management of the customer; but the relationship that keeps them is the understanding of their needs and values, which has less to do with technology and a lot more to do with how you engage with your customers.
What do these definition prove to you?