CRM Still a Driving Force for Business Success

If the customer is "at the center of everything," so, too, should be a company's system for managing customer relationships, according to a recently published white paper.

In other words, customer relationship management software (CRM) needs to be more than just a way to handle queries about products or fielding feedback from clients. It needs to be used as a central platform for connecting people, processes and data, as well as a means of identifying opportunities to increase efficiency, improve service, optimize social media conversations and generate new leads.

"To keep ahead, organizations need to change the way they collect, analyze and use data to make more informed decisions about how to engage with their customers and demonstrate how they can adapt to this dynamic environment," according to the whitepaper just released by ConsultCRM, an arm of Advanced Business Solutions. A Microsoft partner, Advanced Business Solutions that company's Dynamics CRM application.

The pressure to change in that way stems from new technologies that enable customers to access much more information about products and services than ever before. Between social media, Web sites, ever-smarter search engines, blogs, whitepapers and 24/7 mobile Internet access, customers have a plethora of data at their fingertips before they ever make their purchasing decisions.

But all those resources can also help sales and marketing professionals better stay on top of customers' wants, needs and preferences -- if they make the most of their CRM tools, ConsultCRM noted.

CRM 'A Connecting Tool'

Customer relationship management software should act as a hub for everything a company does, according to the white paper, "The digital face of your organization: How CRM can drive business transformation in the digital age."

Applications for managing customer relationships should also be used as connecting tools for data, people and processes, according to the white paper. CRM...

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