The ABCs of CRM

Aug 26, 2019 | General

It’s hard to imagine any business manager who hasn’t heard about CRM Systems. It has become a very popular tool in the past years and most people have at least a small understanding of it.

We decided to take a step forward and create a guide that would dive deep into the origins of this term and gather all the information you will ever require on the subject.


The Origin

Back in the 1980s, husband and wife Robert “Bob” Kestnbaum and Kate Kestnbaum, who were database marketers, pioneered the collection and use of customer information data for future customer communications customisation. Later on, in 1986, their idea was transformed by Pat Sullivan and Mike Muhney, who introduced the business world to its first ever CRM – ACT!.

The system was very simple and lacked a lot of the modern features you see today, but it got the main job done – it enabled its users to organise and store customer data in a simple and effective way.

The IT community began to understand the possible perks a system like this could bring and inspired it to start investing into its development. In the early 90s, various innovators contributed to the evolution of contact management software, directing it mostly towards sales force automation, a symbiosis of database marketing and contact management.

One of the leading names in this industry at that time was Tom Siebel, who after leaving Oracle in 1993, created Siebel Systems, one of the leading SFA providers of that period. It is also believed that he was the one who gave the solution its final name – CRM.

The next decade revolutionised the industry. With Oracle, BaaN and SAP entering the market and thus making it highly competitive, CRM vendors were forced to push boundaries and continue to maximise the variety of tools available in the systems.

E-CRM vendors started offering a new level of intra-organisational collaboration, with the help of intranets, extranets and the Internet, while Siebel Systems took its first step towards mobile systems with the creation of its Siebel Handheld.

The idea of a stand-alone, cloud hosted, and moveable bases inspired other vendors, and at the end of the 90s, Siebel Systems finally gained a rival in the face of Salesforce, who brought out the first major SaaS solution, geared towards smaller businesses.

The 2000s took a hard hit on the CRM industry by bursting the dot-com bubble and leading to multiple losses. Microsoft entered the market with Dynamics CRM, Siebel Systems were acquired by Oracle and Sugar CRM created the first open-source CRM system. Finally, in 2007, Salesforce changed the market once again, by creating the first ever cloud-based CRM software.


The Definition

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a software tool that allows its users to organise and manage existing and prospective customer data. It also automates sales management and onboarding, delivers key insights and reports, and offers a vast variety of integrations. Focusing on the relationships you build with your clients, it helps you and your team see the big picture of your data and saves you hours of time by automating various tasks. Basically, a CRM system is a centralised hub that controls all your company’s data.

Today, CRM solutions are used by sales, marketing, customer support and compliance teams all over the world and in many different industries.


The Value

CRM systems transform businesses by introducing new levels of accuracy and efficiency to them.

CRM software is essential for businesses because it improves their relationship with clients and increases their customer lifetime value. It directly affects their strategies and pin points the areas they need to focus on. It helps to increase efficiency, raise conversions and productivity.

Last, but not least, it allows them to make their sales strategies completely customer centric, eliminating risks like data loss or un-followed up leads.




The Types

There are 4 main types of CRM Systems – Communication CRMs, Sales CRMs, Contact CRMs and Marketing CRMs.

A Communication CRM System organises your corporate emails and allows you to never miss an important message again. A Sales CRM System is the most popular type of CRM software, and is basically an automated project management tool for your sales team. Contact CRMs are your simple contact databases and thus are the cheapest of the 4. Finally, Marketing CRMs are customer evaluation tools that allow your company to target the right audience at the right time.


The Benefits

There are a number of key benefits, that make CRM software so appealing to business owners. First of all, CRMs help companies to offer a better level of customer experience. By collecting all customer data in one centralised place and analysing the success of each communication attempt with them, the CRM system allows your team to build a better understanding of who they are targeting. The more they learn about your audience, the more personalised their approach will be. It also helps them improve post-sales activities and increase customer loyalty and retention.

Secondly, CRM systems guarantee higher productivity and effectivity for your team. By automating administrative tasks, that usually take up a huge amount of your employee’s time, CRMs allow your teams to focus all their energy on the one thing that matters – increasing your company’s revenue. They eliminate duplication, streamline corporate processes and provide instant access to all needed information. They also boost collaboration and internal communications, by allowing your team to see who is doing what and leave comments in real-time.

Thirdly, and most importantly, CRM systems increase your sales and onboarding. They provide detailed reports and forecasts, give your team a clear customer activity insight and help to analyse the ROI of campaigns. They follow each lead through the whole process of onboarding, allowing you to categorise and prioritise them in a way that gives you a clear vision of your future actions. 

If you want to learn more about the use of CRM in the Forex industry, make sure to check out our previous blogs on the subject:





Author: Nadia Ivanova, PR & Digital Marketing Manager at Qobo Group Ltd