CRM or Customer Relationship Management can be defined in its simplest form as a software system allowing your business to manage the data and information associated with your customers and prospective customers.
Customer Relationship Management systems are most commonly used by Sales and Marketing professionals, though this is also now being widely adopted by customer service and support teams to streamline work flows using automation, improving efficiency and productivity.
A CRM is essentially a central data hub containing all of the interaction history with your contacts such as emails sent, calls made or received, meetings, notes and sales etc., giving you clear visibility of your sales pipeline.
A great example of customer relationship management functioning is the following; A user on your website completes and submits an enquiry form. This triggers the creation of a new account within your CRM (if there is no existing customer record) which in turn triggers an automated task for a sales representative to follow up the customer contact with a reply and the start of the sales process with all interactions being tracked against this record.
Although CRM systems are software based it is becoming more and more common for them to be hosted in the cloud as a SaaS (Software as a Service) model.
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