4 phases of development
CRM has developed from a pure and simple tool into a field in its own right — a business strategy which effects the implementation of an organization's philosophy. Let's take a look at the four phases through which CRM has progressed.
CRM as software
It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg story. No doubt there was a vision of CRM, and the thought arose that software might just be the perfect thing to support that vision. Still, many companies started out simply using a CRM tool to store and manage customer data.
For small organizations, this might still work fine. However, the larger and more complex an organization is, the more you'll want to put into and get out of CRM. When it comes to CRM, as an organization, there's no escaping the fact that you have to think a step further.
CRM as a system
In today's world, CRM is less and less of a standalone product. Links between CRM software and a range of other applications mean CRM can be deployed more broadly. When you think of CRM as a system, integration between multiple kinds of software is a natural extension. When you realize that different systems can work together, you can create a flexible and powerful organization.
CRM as a service
With an up-to-date CRM tool linked to a range of different software products, you can get to work in a much more proactive way as an organization. You can provide tailored service to customers, which means using CRM as a service. In this phase, the organization is really only one step removed from embracing CRM philosophically.
CRM as a strategy
In applying CRM as a strategy, the point is that the entire organization is permeated by the need to keep the central focus on customers and to add value for those customers. CRM serves organizational goals, short-term goals, and long-term goals. This is dependent on solid data management (CRM as software), integration between different systems (CRM as a system), proactive interaction with the target group (CRM as a service), and the full involvement of everyone within the organization. These concepts will incorporate CRM into the organization's DNA.