Magazine article Black Enterprise

Make Relationships Count: CRM Software That Works

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Make Relationships Count: CRM Software That Works

Article excerpt

IN THE OLD DAYS, ALL YOU NEEDED TO KEEP TRACK OF CUSTOMERS was a Rolodex. But with the Internet, mobile technology, and globalization, the world of customer relations has expanded. Fortunately, customer relationship management (CRM) software and online tools make things easier.

CRM can sound both complicated and expensive. It's actually a simple technology that lets businesses collect customer information--from client history to promising advertising and marketing leads to complaints all in one program. It is generally based around three components: sales automation, marketing, and customer support. Salespeople can use the product to document accounts and deals; executives can track their leads and their results; and customer service departments can collate a customer's entire history of problems, questions, and complaints.

CRM software often allows universal access across an organization, making the information available to anyone at any time. Depending on the CRM system, users might need only a PC with Internet access to take advantage of the program; software can range from complex systems hosted on a server to online programs that are as easy to use.

Here's what's available:

* Salesforce.com offers the same sales, marketing, and customer service tools as other CRM providers but has additional applications such as content management, a shared ideas section, and an application directory known as AppExchange: an exchange program with more than 750 applications. …

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