The CRM as it has been
There are so many vendors, so many solutions, so many different marketing packages, but all the CRM solutions come down to the same:
A CRM a relational data base having:
- Input forms: leads, customers, projects, salesmen, products
- Search screens: on all the above and many of their combinations
- Reports using the same data
Standard relational data base systems
All the CRM solutions are based on the standard Structured Query Language (SQL) statements for inserting, appending and retrieving information in or from the relational data base.
In order to imagine what is a relational data base: a spreadsheet where the different worksheets are the tables with data:
- The rows of each worksheet are the records: a record for every customer
- The columns are the fields: customer name, customer address,…
Several worksheets make up the complete information about the customers: contact details, contact history, projects,…
SQL allows to querying and inserting data into the different tables.
More on CRM and relational data base here.
In order to solve more complex problems of data located in different tables, the different relational data base tables are being joined.
All these features and methods are standard for relational data base systems.
All this relational data base technology was commercially available on a large scale since the mid-eighties from several vendors: like Oracle and several others. Thus there is nothing technically new since long ago.
Variations on the same CRM theme
Many flavors and other approaches have been created addressing different segments of the market: CRM for call centers, CRM for after sales, CRM small businesses, CRM for project companies, …
All of them are variations on the same pattern: a relational data base with entry forms and reports.
Web service as innovation?
Since 2000 the new technology feature is offering a CRM as a web service (Saas Software as a service), eliminating the setup, running costs and no IT expertise required.
However this is no innovation as the functions and features remained the same.
At the same time several attempts have been made to use the CRM on mobile phones.
The high cost of mobile data communication has limited the adoption of mobile CRM.
Thanks to the availability of Wifi, the cost of mobile CRM has become affordable.
As the quality of the displays of mobile phones is increasing CRM on your mobile will become a standard feature.
Disruptive changes in business
Since the nineties email, Internet and mobile communications have been introduced and have changed radically the way people do business.
As businesses have undergone disruptive changes in their methods of work it is time to change the CRM too.
Disruptive changes in CRM
New innovative CRM solutions are required in order to cope with the changes:
A solution which helps the sales and marketing people by collecting all the electronic available data from multiple sources:
- The email communications
- The Internet: company website data, news feeds, social website data
- The website where your leads and customers visit: visit data
- The intranet for data from within the company
Instead of a data entry and reporting system, the CRM needs to change into an aggregator of data from different sources.
All data that already exists in electronic format needs to be used by the CRM, without being re-entered, for lead generation, customer nurturing and selling.
The evolution of CRM:
1. The first new solutions have aggregated the email communications by customer.
2. Then solutions have integrated information available on the Internet.
3. A next step is to integrate the visit data from your website by company (leads and customers).
4. Finally the information locked up within disparate systems within the company will need to be integrated. This is the most difficult as there is no standard or uniform data storage use and no uniform data retrieval available.
The benefits of CRM changes:
This change is very disruptive from the fairly simple data entry and reporting systems to complex data aggregator systems that will serve sales and marketing in order to:
- Better lead generation
- Improve nurturing customers
- Increase sales
- Decrease significantly the amount of administrative work and time wasted
Thus increasing profits.
Note: LEADSExplorer provides email, Internet and website visit data aggregation as a web service.