What Is CRM? 🤯​

It used to be a pure sales thing... but not anymore.

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is a business strategic approach aimed at increasing revenue and profitability, fostering customer satisfaction, and building customer loyalty. 

It employs CRM technologies to facilitate these goals by effectively identifying and managing customer interactions, whether in person or online. 

CRM software supports this strategy across the entire company through four key segments: sales, marketing, customer service, and digital commerce, offering tools and functionalities designed to optimize customer engagement and business performance with a holistic approach setup for success. 

Let's get a bit deeper into it!

Figure out the dimensions of what composes a CRM and how they relate to business, strategy, technology itself, and growth in the short, mid, and long-term 🌱✨ 🚜.

Business strategy

This is the right, or probably, the most accurate place to start when considering having a CRM. Depending on the size and complexity of your business, you may want to also jump into defining the CRM product vision, strategy, and planning the execution going forward.

THE BUSINESS' NEEDS DRIVE EVERYTHING: the problems we solve, the values we deliver, or the opportunities we create, from the short to long term, are way more consistent and set up for success when they continuously enable the business to achieve its vision, strategy, and objectives. Changes will always happen, and it's part of the game, but keeping consistent with the business strategy is a win-win situation.

Once you have a good understanding of your business strategy, it gets way easier for you to define the next steps, considering topics like company growth forecast, headcount growth forecast, expansion, profile of your internal users (management, marketing, sales, operations, customer support, etc.), profile of your external users (aka prospects, customers, and partners), and last but not least: budget available for short, mid, and long term investment.

Make sure you work closer to some key leadership in the company to become your enablers and sponsors, not your blockers (it's pretty common and you can avoid it), I'm speaking of bringing the CEO, CFO, CPO, and CTO to your side—or if you don't have a c-suite role framework, involve the similar leaders in your company. The way to sustainable growth via technology and processes is to scale up while reducing the need for human intervention in repetitive tasks.

CRM technologies

After understanding your business strategy, let's continue and acknowledge that NO SYSTEM IS PERFECT.

We are living an amazing technological era, which is just in the beginning, and this is not different for CRM: there is an abundance of CRM technology options today—but it can be a blessing or a curse at the same time, leading us to the following question: WHICH PLATFORM IS THE BEST FOR MY BUSINESS?

The answer for this question may be found once you know the business strategy, the business needs,  and you get to map all requirements and prioritize the possible initiatives. Once it's done, it's easier to research, demo, validate the solutions, and get into commercials for negotiations with the suppliers. It's important also to map urgencies and possible trade-offs that the business is willing to take in order to optimize the negotiations and select the best possible value and R.O.I. of the selected solution.

Normally, companies commit to the selected solution for a minimum of 1 to 3 years depending to the business size and how detailed the business requirement document was, aiming for a "future-poof" solution granting plenty of room for growth and customizations not only for the present but also for the future.

Consider not only features and its release schedule, but also interface customizability capabilities, platform expansion, data privacy and retention policies, servers location, and available integrations (out off the shelf or via APIs) with your existing tech stack and martet leading technologies that may be in your radar for the future.

Important: this is not a recommendation of how to tackle a software selection process. Its purpose is solely to guide you towards our thought process explaining the content addressed on this page—what is CRM. If you desire a proper article about the software selection process, please get in touch with us and suggest this content topic, and we may consider to add it to our next content agenda discussion.

The 4-key segments of CRM


Marketing is the segment that covers in-depth, end-to-end, the entire customer journeys and lifecycle through several disciplines, such as acquisition, lead nurturing, activation, retention, user-product engagement, and insights and feedback collection—through 1:1 personalized marketing and transactional omni-channel communications (email, SMS, web push notification, mobile push notification, in-app notification, mobile inbox, WhatsApp, etc.), at the right time in the right channel. It may include content marketing solutions such as landing pages, websites, and blogs.

A successful strategy for CRM Marketing is to integrate and work closer to all areas of the company that touch and are responsible for customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.

A common misunderstanding is to think that CRM is only about marketing automation (campaigns, overall messaging, etc.). Although this segment covers the entire user experience and the acquisition funnels, this is only a fraction of what CRM is.

Marketing Forum ↗️

Sales & operations

You name it: lead management, qualification, KYC, collection, contract signature, invoicing—it doesn't matter the stage in the funnel, all of those are part of an acquisition funnel owned by sales and operations teams in most companies out there.

Organizing your sales and operations processes and mapping their stages is a clear way to manage the entire selling journey, enabling those teams with forecast capabilities to predict with more accuracy the next months and quarters, as long as the funnel is healthy and qualified leads as injected to the top of the funnel. This approach also empowers account management teams looking after business recurrence, partner and customer success, and loyalty.

Automating repetitive tasks is a great way to add efficiency and consistency, while reducing operational mistakes across the board, freeing up time for the sales and operations teams to focus on what matters: closing deals.

Sales & Operations Forum ↗️

Customer service

The secret sauce, beyond great products, is offering a great customer service, regardless of its size, industry, or positioning. It is one of the main reasons for revenue recurrence, loyalty, and satisfaction.

Customer service may take advantage of CRM systems to enhance and personalize the omni-channel support experience for every customer and partner. It integrates detailed customer data, including past interactions, preferences, and feedback, enabling support teams to provide swift, informed assistance tailored to each individual's needs.

CRM systems streamline support workflows, improve resolution times, and ensure consistency in the quality of support across all channels. This personalized, data-driven approach leads to higher customer satisfaction, fosters loyalty, and strengthens relationships.

Customer Service Forum ↗️

Digital commerce

Digital commerce, aka e-commerce, may not only be the main channel of self-service sales available 24/7x365, but also an amazing resource to extend the best available offers, cross, and upselling items to your customers and partners based on their data and past interactions for an optimal online shopping experience.

Imagine offering a unique online store 100% customized for your logged customers or partners, based on their profiles or past interactions. It's a powerful approach that removes friction if used wisely and optimizes conversion, business performance, and customer and partner satisfaction.

This segment is available in leading CRM platforms, and in the last years, becoming a popular integrated approach using data integration and seamless experience for your customers and partners. 

Digital Commerce Forum ↗️

But, how all of this could benefit your business?

Through a unified customer-centric approach!

It's a strategy or method that places the customer at the center of all business operations, ensuring a cohesive and integrated experience across all touch-points and interactions with a brand or company. 

This approach emphasizes understanding and meeting the needs, preferences, and expectations of customers in a consistent and personalized manner, regardless of the channel or platform they use to engage with the company. Key elements of a unified customer-centric approach include:

  • Integration across Channels and Platforms
  • Data-Driven Insights
  • Personalization
  • Customer Feedback and Engagement
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration
  • Technology and Automation

Read more