A customer relationship management (CRM) solution is a software system that helps effectively manage, analyze, and improve customer relationships.
But there’s more to a customer relationship management strategy than just software, and there are just as many perspectives on the benefits of CRM and what exactly a CRM is.
With this in mind, we asked three industry leaders to explain what customer relationship management means to them and how they implement it across their businesses. Here’s what they had to say.
“Good managers invest in understanding their employees and helping map out paths for them to thrive and reach their goals. Similarly, customer relationship management is the act of understanding your customer’s goals and where they are in their journey with your solution, then creating a personalized path to help them realize the additional success they could see by continuing a relationship with your brand.”
How a customer feels about a business is perhaps more important than the specifics of how the relationship is managed. Randy Frisch, chief evangelist at Uberflip, a content experience platform, agrees.
“I encourage people to think of customer relationship management as customer experience management. Whether you’re a B2C consumer or B2B buyer, we're all looking for an amazing experience from any company we interact with. From how we consume music on Spotify to how we buy software from a large enterprise, it's about the experience we’re having—not just with the people, but with the entire company's communication process. It’s the experience we need to manage, not just the relationship.”
Nearly every B2B organization has the processes, technologies, and tools to support CRM. But Kerry Cunningham, senior principal of product marketing at B2B account engagement platform 6sense, sees the possibility for a new approach.
“The word ‘management’ in customer relationship management implies maintenance—keeping a steady state, keeping it under control. But is that the right approach to take when it comes to your customers? A better framing of CRM is ‘cultivation’—foster growth and establish the conditions in which the customer will thrive. Review your customer-facing practices. Are they designed to cultivate or just to manage? If they’re only managing, take action to change that.”
Customer relationship management strategy and a CRM solution work hand in hand to support loyal customer relationships through superior experiences that keep your customers coming back—time and again.
Beth Perry is a Senior Content Marketing Manager for Oracle Advertising and CX.