What makes up CRM? Simple: Customers, Relationships, and the Management Thereof. In this three-part series, we looking at each term to better understand what a CRM system is and what it can do for you.
Today, let's look at the final term: "Management."
As individuals, we have many relationships that we do not often think about "managing" in any structured sense. But, that is because we are not seeking the same outcome from every relationship, and we do not have success metrics and goals for how well we do with that process. In business, however, we do. And moreover, we often need more relationships than any one human can maintain naturally. So, naturally, we rely on technology like CRM to manage it all.
Managing business relationships begins with defining how we want relationships to progress. We cannot begin to manage a process until we have defined it. How do strangers learn about us? How do prospects experience our value? How do leads come to buy our product? How to customers refer us future customers? These are all aspects of a relationship that must be defined before they can be managed.
But once they are defined, management is not a passive tracking or monitoring, it's the act of progressing relationships through the defined processes. Managing customer relationships using CRM software can be scheduled, held accountable, and even automated in many cases.
You cannot manage what you cannot define. The first step in managing customer relationships is to define how they are expected to progress. But the most effective form of management will automate as many actions as possible so that the human interactions required can be most effective and efficient.
Without the "M" a CRM is reduced to little more than an archive. Management is the crucial component that makes CRM an essential tool to any small business.