Interaction between internal and external services through CRM
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is perhaps best known as a software tool to manage and improve the interaction of companies with current and future customers. This improving aspect is owed to the extensive data analysis that a CRM system can carry out. These analyses are mainly focused on retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.
CRM as a means of communication
However, diving into the details reveals that CRM is more than just a marketing tool. In order to collect the necessary data, essentially a large and complex network of communication channels is built up. These include customer data, website data, social media, phones, emails, chats, marketing materials and anything else you can think of, depending on the nature and operations of the company in question. Importantly, the techniques used do not have to be limited to customer management. We usually distinguish not 1 but 5 main goals or types of CRM. Besides being a platform for client data, CRM is a strategic, operational and analytical tool, and one that can improve collaborations.
In order to fulfil all these tasks, CRM not only incorporates the company’s internal processes, but also various external services (external stakeholders or shareholders). This includes parties such as suppliers and (re)sellers, but also the various groups, departments, services and organizational structures of the company itself. For example, feedback gained in a call center can be very useful for the marketing department and customer service. With CRM you can share this information quickly, correctly and in a targeted way. This makes the system very suitable in a business-to-business environment. It’s very important that the CRM software is sufficiently personalized so that information can be provided on an individual level.
B2C versus B2B communication
The main difference between communication with consumers and with businesses lies in aspects such as database size and relationship duration. B2B databases are generally smaller, as are sales volumes. Then again, in some cases B2B costs can be (much) higher and here, long-term relationships arise more often. In addition, B2B CRM also needs to be able to respond better to the products of other companies. These integrations make it possible to predict customer behavior based on parameters such as purchase history, invoices and sales success. That is why the automation of the sales process, for example, becomes very important in this context.
External services for effective CRM
When it comes to effective CRM, the role of third parties is certainly not to be underestimated, and managers now see these services as an integral part of their own company. It is becoming increasingly important to implement shared business principles and strategies, meaning agreement must be reached on complex processes such as working methods, shared platforms, reports, feedback and so on. The efficiency of the partner companies increases in proportion to the efficiency of the flow of information, and thus of the CRM system.
The sharing of information via CRM creates uniformity and thus steers the partners (and their individual employees) more easily toward common goals.