Customer Relationship Management (CRM), is a software tool used by various firms to build a long term relation with customers, manage sales pipeline and establish trust. An expert has defined CRM as, “A computerized system for identifying, targeting, acquiring, and retaining the best mix of customers”. But the CRM, hasn’t always been the most robust, self-contained software that so many businesses rely on today. CRM has undergone sea-changes over the time.
Traditionally, every transaction used to be on paper and was totally dependent on goodwill which created difficulty in to clasp customers. People used to work hard to retain customers by proposing new products with phenomenal services. This too resulted in customer satisfaction and loyalty up to some extent, but at the end of the day there was no such bonding or relation between the two to carry on with future business smoothly. CRM originated in early 1970s and the first CRM software program was only one-dimensional and was used for filling cards with customer details. However, Origination of CRM turned out to be a piece of cake for all suppliers and customers due to its advantages. It came as a process that conversed building relationship with customers, surpassing the whole business.
1970s- Originally Customer Relationship Management Software was based on three major principles; Upholding the current customers, acknowledge new customers and improving benefits of all the customers.
1980s– In the mid 1980s, to increase conversion rates, the marketing professional started to communicate directly to the clients. This was the beginning of database marketing. Now, organizations were combining information related to the customers with sales strategy.
In the late 1980s, various business units like sales, marketing, accounting and customer service were all connected through back office applications. This was the era of the launch of Contact Management Software, which led to effective marketing calls (Cold-Calling) to sell their products. In 1986, first digital rolodex ACT was introduced, and customers soon started to get familiar with CRM. Now various platforms like analytics, transactional databases, and customer data were consolidated.
1990s- In early 1990s, the first major step in augmentation of CRM software was Salesforce Automation. Sales Force Automation provided all the features of Database marketing combined with contact management. This helped firms in getting useful information about their customers. Not just these, SFA also automated the difficult tasks like inventory control and tracking the customer interaction.
In mid 1990, the term Customer Relationship Management was used for the first time. So in 1995, CRM got its name as it was no longer just a customer solution software, it has all the features required by a business like product planning, manufacturing, shipping in addition to sales, marketing, payment and many more..
In late 1990s, First mobile CRM was launched, though mobile technology was not so popular. First major software-as-a-service i.e. SaaS CRM was launched. Now CRM was available for small businesses too
2000s to Present– Sales and development of CRM products got affected by the launch of many dotcom bubbles.
In Mid 2000s, Software giant Microsoft entered the CRM market with Dynamics CRM, and Oracle acquired Siebel and numerous other enterprise application vendors.
In Late 2000s, the next big change in CRM industry was created by Salesforce with the launch of cloud-based CRM. Cloud-based CRM was combined with Saas Based CRM and all were convinced that the new customized web based CRM can be used specific business requirements
At present, CRM softwares are integrating more features for Customer Service and Social CRM. It has continued to gain popularity mainly because of focusing on customer satisfaction, Very flexible platform and easy integration with mobile devices.
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