Contact Relationship Management (CRM) systems are emerging tools that help people and organizations succeed. They do so by making it more efficient to create and maintain relationships with the people you have in your database.
According to LinkedIn’s “The State of Sales 2016” report, "Success is closely tied to an organization’s willingness to adopt to intelligence and social tools. This trend will gain strength over time as more professionals across all generations continue to leverage products that help them to build and manage relationships."
As they were originally developed around the premise of helping fortune 500 companies successfully manage high loads of customer inquiries on the fly; these systems are no longer purely tied to the adage of “businesses” to “consumer” relationships.
The most effective nonprofits, advocacy groups, cause-related campaigns and the like, have attributed their success to the implementation of these systems in their organizations.
CRM hasn’t always been the robust, stand-alone software that so many organizations rely on today. Over the past four decades, it has evolved out of a variety of other business programs. During that time, the CRM industry has undergone sea-changes and shakeups that could have derailed the entire concept.
In the Beginning
The humble paper pad and pen allowed people to track basic information.
The Rolodex offered companies the ability to spin through paper records, adding customers while updating existing customer information, details and more.
This new process allowed companies to amass and analyze information, enabling people to create customized communications.
Contact Management Software
The arrival and mass rollout of PCs and server/client architecture saw businesses collecting and organizing customer data into what were effectively digital Rolodexes. The net result though was clunky and limited.
The first real push into CRM begins in earnest as software development explodes, ushering in "Automation" that enabled companies to hone their sales processes and boost productivity.
The acronym ‘CRM’ is coined.
Mobile & SaaS
CRM continues to evolve and by the end of the century, the world’s first mobile CRM solution is introduced plus the first ever Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) CRM product.
CRM continues to breakdown barriers, increasing its huge potential for creating ever-deeper relationships with customers by shifting from a ‘transaction’ focus to an ‘interaction’ focus. Companies begin to see CRM as a way to manage all relationships via a single platform.
The sky’s the limit; the breadth and depth of a fully optimised CRM platform is vast – and organizations know it.