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“Utilize CRM to Leverage Your Business and Maximize ROI”

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely-implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service. Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments.

The three phases in which CRM support the relationship between a business and its customers are to:

  1. Acquire: CRM can help a business acquire new customers through contact management, selling, and fulfillment.
  2. Enhance: web-enabled CRM combined with customer service tools offers customers service from a team of sales and service specialists, which offers customers the convenience of one-stop shopping.
  3. Retain: CRM software and databases enable a business to identify and reward its loyal customers and further develop its targeted marketing and relationship marketing initiatives.

Customer relationship management is high on the corporate agenda. Recent research carried out by Business Intelligence reveals that six out of ten companies have already started out on the CRM journey, and a further quarter are planning to do so. Improved customer profitability, life-time value and increased sales are just some of the benefits.

But CRM is more than customer satisfaction or a new SFA system, more than developing a new website or call centre. Being customer-centric is a while new way of doing business. It could completely transform the way of doing business. It could completely transform the way your company operates and will have major implications for people, processes and technology. Planning for and managing change in these three key areas is crucial – neglect any of them and your CRM programme will hardly get off the ground.

If you have been tracking conversations around social media for business, you have undoubtedly come across people talking about Social CRM. If you are anything like me, the first time you heard it, you probably rolled your eyes and said, “Ugh, another social media buzzword!” And while I do take issue with the jargon itself (and will discuss that later), Social CRM is a central concept that businesses need to understand deeply and integrate fully, in order to serve the social customer.

Social CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.

For many large organizations — particularly those that have been through a series of acquisitions — managing customer relationships is not a matter of whether they have a CRM system, but how many.

Take, for example, Synopsys Inc. a maker of electronic design automation (EDA) technology for developing systems on chips. It grew its revenue from $500 million to $1 billion by acquiring more than 40 EDA companies in roughly 10 years, and with it came 17 different legacy CRM systems.

“When we had a new acquisition it would just add to the list of systems,” said Ani Bhutkar, group director of corporate applications for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. “Halfway through the spree of acquisitions we [realized that we needed] a master system that things would integrate into.”

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“Save Time and Money with Social Media Strategy.”

It’s easy to plan a squeaky clean social media strategy for your business when it’s on paper. But executing all of the day-to-day tasks involved in that strategy can be a different story — and a giant, tangled mess — without implementing processes to manage it.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and strategies that can help community management teams communicate with each other, stay on the same page, schedule posts and cooperate with other departments.

Before you launch your strategy, consider how you will manage the execution. These six steps can help get you started.

Companies large and small are rushing to understand and get involved in social media. But most of the agencies and consultants who are being paid to establish social media campaigns for corporations are afraid to tell their clients three things they don’t want to hear. Hear what Mashable believes to be most important about social media strategy.

I found this powerpoint especially helpful. It explains social media strategy by recapping the business case for social media, addressing pitfalls of social media marketing and providing a roadmap for a social media strategy.

What platforms should I be using  to promote my blog or company?

  1. How many channels will I select to achieve my goals?
  2. Should I stick with what I know or what should I push the boundaries and test something new?
  3. What channels should I use to to communicate to my target markets?
  4. What are the messages I should send out?
  5. What listening tools should I use?
  6. What apps should I use to increase my efficiency?
  7. What analytics tools are the best for our situation?

By now, most companies see the value in engaging with their current and potential customers via social media channels. As you attempt to manage your brand and interact with consumers, you should be aware of both the opportunities and potential pitfalls that you could face.

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