Business is a dynamic and challenging environment. As such, effective marketing is critical to an organization’s overall success. Additionally, the marketing team must be able to anticipate and cater to the needs of both prospective and existing clients. Firms that wish to differentiate themselves from their competition should utilize practices that will support them in a way that makes them stand out above and beyond the basics of sales and advertising. One way in which to do so is via customer relationship management. Also known is CRM, this approach is defined as “the process of identifying prospective buyers, understanding them intimately, and developing favorable long-term perceptions of the organization and its offerings so that buyers will choose them in the marketplace and become advocates after their purchase” (Kerin, R.A. & Hartley, S.W., 2019).
In essence, customer relationship management serves to foster more positive relationships between consumers and businesses while also ensuring that the business products effectively meets the needs of the client base. A business that has a comprehensive understanding of their customer is in a much better position to provide or adapt certain offerings to provide the best possible customer service. Since CRM promotes ongoing communication even well after the sale of a product, this approach has been known to lead to increased sales, and an improved ability to cross-sell or up-sell certain products by being able to better identify customer preferences and demand (Info Entrepreneurs, n.d.). Ultimately, appropriate utilization of CRM results in more satisfied customers.
Implementing customer relationship management into a business’s marketing concept can be very time consuming. Fortunately, technology can be leveraged to assist in this mission and several tools are available to ease such a burden on an organization. One of the most sought after “CRM” options is Salesforce which offers a variety of solutions based on factors such as business size, type, or industry. Their products cover everything from sales and service to engagement and analytics. Rather than a narrow focus on customer service, Salesforce helps businesses to focus on customer success.
Through its various offerings—all customizable based on the needs of a business—Salesforce flaunts itself as “the world’s #1 CRM platform” and promises to deliver “a massive community of evangelists committed to your company’s growth” (Salesforce, n.d.). One of their competitive advantages over other customer relationship management tools on the market is their proprietary tool known as Einstein AI which can help identify patterns and trends, which leverages customer data in a whole new way. Salesforce states that the main goal of integrating artificial intelligence into their product is to “make employees more productive” while also using predictions and recommendations to “make customers happier” (Salesforce, n.d.). Businesses that exploited Einstein as a resource have experienced tremendous levels of success. For example, upscale furniture retailer, Room & Board, was able to utilize Einstein’s features to “boost web sales by 40% and in-store sales by 60%.” To accomplish this, the marketing team uploaded all of their customers’ order histories. Einstein utilizes this data to make product recommendations to visitors on their website or to suggest complementary products when they are browsing specific items. Additionally, as Room & Data continues to upload this data, the Einstein tool is only getting smarter, therefore improving its recommendations and predictive intelligence, while also increasing the company’s return on investment with Salesforce as much as 2,900% (Salesforce, n.d.).
Customer relationship management tools such as Salesforce help businesses to automate, aggregate, and analyze their customer data more efficiently so that they can tailor their offerings to better meet customer demand. Client needs are ever-changing and in a fast-paced environment, and every business must be able to adapt to these fluctuations in order to experience continued success and profitability. CRM tools are invaluable assets and provide a competitive edge that a successful organization needs.
Info Entrepreneurs (n.d.). Customer relationship management. Retrieved from: https://www.infoentrepreneurs.org/en/guides/customer-relationship-management/
Kerin, R. A., & Hartley, S. W. (2019). Marketing. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education
Salesforce. (n.d.). Discover the 5 best Salesforce benefits that make us the best value in CRM, year after year. Retrieved from: https://www.salesforce.com/products/salesforce-advantage/?d=70130000000i7zF
Salesforce. (n.d.). Room & Board makes recommendations intelligent with Marketing Cloud. Retrieved from: https://www.salesforce.com/customer-success-stories/room-and-board/
Salesforce (n.d.). Work smarter with artificial intelligence that’s build right into Salesforce. Retrieved from: https://www.salesforce.com/products/einstein/overview/