In 1954 Peter Drucker’s, The Practice of Management, he stated that “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer” which is a great definition of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Since that time a lot has obviously changed with the evolution of technology and software, but the core of the message holds true. Leading companies, experts, and publications all have a variation of what their definition of CRM is. Here are a few that we found to stand out:
- An enterprise wide business strategy designed to optimize profitability, revenue and customer satisfaction by organizing the enterprise around customer segments, fostering customer-satisfying behaviors and linking processes from customers through suppliers – Gartner
- An application used to automate sales and marketing functions and to manage sales and service activities in an organization. – Microsoft
- A strategy used to learn more about customers’ needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them. – CIO
You can read how 21 experts define CRM in their own words and pictures and find the definition that resonates most with you. The re-occurring theme from these definitions is that software technology can unify an organization to manage your customers and leads. Once you have the software in place, you can not only understand their needs but engage with customers and prospects.