The CRM definition refers to customer relationship management software that automates the path of the prospect as he/she travels through the sales pipeline and becomes a customer.
Marketing activities, technical support functions, and customer service operations are an integrated into the software as each of these areas “touch” the prospect and serve the customer. In some cases even the customer can directly access information.
All toward increasing revenues with a streamlined system that allows users to match customer needs with product plans and offerings, remind customers of service requirements, and know what other products a customer had purchased. Ideally, all functions for repeatable, predictable, reliable sales cycles are automated and systematized.
Sales professionals have first contact with the software and as such are the ones who enter data into the CRM during every day sales activities. From that data upper management forecast sales, related expenses, and increases or decreases operations as those forecasts dictate.
The original CRM definition planned for customer relationship software programs to manage the sales process from initiation to close. The systems were thought to be able to serve sales professionals through the steps of finding, attracting, winning prospects as customers.
Then, the idea is to build new business as customers make their way through the nurturing process in the pipeline; retain current customers in the same way; and win-back former customers. All the while reducing the costs of customer service and marketing through automation.
Wikopedia information anticipates customer relationship management to breach $11 billion annually in 2010 and after as small, medium, and large businesses plan to systematically increase revenues, improve the customer experience, and increase productivity of marketing, customer service, and technical support representatives.
Sales professionals who cold call have created demand for a solution that would separate lead management from the sales pipeline. The CRM definition lumps these two functions together and sales people are vocal about the fact that this just doesn’t work for them.
Because, getting prospects to the pipeline requires different skills from those skills required to get prospects through the pipeline. Finding and attracting prospects is a process that differs considerably from the process of winning prospects as customers.
This shortcoming of CRMs has created a demand for lead management software. The information technology gurus are coming up with software systems that integrate with and fit in front of CRM software while addressing the needs of prospecting processes.
There is no CRM that is all things to all cold callers. However, there are flexible systems that allow a "hands on" implementation approach. Such systems allow you to custom tailor your cold calling around the unique processes you most need to measure and manage. With these flexible systems either you or the software vendor can make the necessary adjustments, affordably.
Because lead management sales software is an effective solution for sales professionals who are prospecting, the data going into your CRM is much improved.
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