CRM Software

According to analyst firm Gartner, prior year trends will continue to give the customer relationship management (CRM) software market a boost in 2011, while at the same time the industry will enter a three year shake up in 2011, as a number of key trends take hold.

Sales, marketing and customer service technologies, projects and implementations will incur new changes and increased growth over the next few years. "Over the next three years, social CRM (SCRM) will continue its exponential rise, Software-as-a- Service will become routine, will reshuffle the market order, and consultants and system integrators will sell their own CRM software," predicted Ed Thompson, vice president at Gartner, in a prepared statement.

The $1 billion prediction for spending on social CRM compares with Gartner's forecast of more than $12 billion for overall spending on CRM software applications in 2012, means that social CRM will encompass approximately 8% of all CRM spending in 2012, up from about 4% in 2010.

In the analyst firms prior year Customer 360 Summit, it was speculated that the total revenue mix of traditional CRM applications, social CRM solutions and analytics would redistribute from the current 90%/9%/1% mix to approximately 70%/20%/10% allocation - leaving traditional CRM software with the lion's share of the market, but clearly taking a back seat to both social CRM and analytics in terms of market growth.

Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) is a data driven approach to support customer management strategies, oftentimes pursuant to customer affinity goals, customer facing business processes and with supporting CRM software applications that are increasingly delivered from the cloud. CRM business strategies are designed to methodically enhance customer share and lower customer churn.

CRM software supports business goals with information systems that are designed for the pursuit of customer acquisitions and retention. For most companies, CRM software systems include marketing, sales force automation (SFA), and customer support or customer service software. Sometimes these Customer Relationship Management software systems also include related business functions such as Partner Relationship Management, order to cash processing, mobile CRM, social CRM and powerful analytics which compliment both on-premise and cloud CRM software applications. New and sometimes disruptive technology innovations such as open source CRM, cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS), modified pricing models such as utility or subscription pricing and outsourced CRM application management continue to offer new alternatives for CRM software acquisition, implementation and operation.

For most business leaders, knowing they need to be using a CRM software application is the easy decision. However, properly figuring out which CRM application best accommodates their company objectives, processes, resources and budget can be a difficult exercise. Fortunately, there are several good CRM bloggers and CRM software review sites; some expert, fair and unbiased; while many others are clearly pay for say. Diligence can normally detect which is evident.

A CRM software strategy is a journey and a successful approach includes much more than an software implementation and go live event. Important precursors and benefits from CRM software and strategies often include a change in company culture and a continuous customer pursuit that reacts to evolving customer needs and new company opportunities. It is important to first comprehend that Customer Relationship Management is a business strategy and then understand how CRM software applications can act as the data capture, framework and automation to handle the organization's most important customer objectives. CRM software systems also help increase knowledge and response to an organization's customer needs in a timely, efficient and mutually rewarding way.

CRM pros have discovered many repeatable methods, processes, best practices and lessons which lower risk and increase the payback or ROI of CRM software investment. Some good industry websites offer shared experiences which tap into social networks, user created content and community dialogue for the benefit of their members.