CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It is in essence a program that stores the details of all your customers and contacts (just like a database or even a contact list) but also connects with business history such as previous transactions or work carried out and previous correspondence such as email and phone calls.
It means that for everyone of your customers or contacts that you have all the necessary information regarding them safely stored in one place and you have all of your previous work, meetings, sales, emails and phone calls at a glance.
If used in the correct way a CRM package can be a very powerful and useful tool. It is an interesting fact that up to 60% of a company's future business can come from previous customers so having all of your business client's details safely stored is of paramount importance.
These details can also be used for marketing purposes thus increasing the chance of repeat business.
CRM products available on the market include:
- ACT! from Sage
- Microsoft Dynamic
- Google Docs (shared applications)
- Maximiser CRM
- Legrand CRM
Another alternative to off the shelf software are web based CRM solutions. There are a number of companies who offer this service which include;
Prices start from £10 per user per month.
The main advantage with the online solutions is that they can be accessed using any computer that has access to the Internet. The main disadvantage being if the Internet connection in the office fails the Company would not be able to access their Company database.
A useful guide to assist in choosing a CRM software package can be found at the following link: http://wales.businessitguide.com/guides/view-guide/107/