Long a staple in the business-to-business sales world, CRM systems are databases created to hold information about people relevant to your organization. Whether you are a business, government agency or nonprofit/NGO, people inside and outside your organization drive your success. CRM is the way you can manage relationships and measure success.What is CRM? A Definition of Customer Relationship Management and Constituent Relationship Management
In the commercial business world, they are typically referred to as “Customer Relationship Management” systems. In the public sector or nonprofit/NGO realm, you may hear the term “Constituent Relationship Management” used instead to show the focus on service vs. revenue. Typically geared to be a single source of information about the people who are connected to your organization – either directly or indirectly. The people could include:- customers or program participants- staff, volunteers, or Board members- investors, funders or donors- vendors, service providers or partnersCRM systems track activities for these people, including:- Transactions and interactions: donations, products purchased, customer service or customer support interactions- Time spent on: volunteer hours, development or service interaction, sales cycle length- Communications documentation: dates, time and content of emails, phone calls or letters- Participation in: events, marketing campaigns, sales or service processesIn the business world, there is typically a heavy focus on measuring and managing sales deals and effectiveness -- improving the ROI on sales and marketing expenses.For nonprofits, the focus is on donor management, volunteer management, services enablement and program improvement.Typically, a CRM system replaces or connects existing legacy systems. In a commercial environment, this could include integrating or replacing outdated:- Sales Force Automation (SFA) systems- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems- Customer Service Representative (CSR) databasesIn the nonprofit world, it is typically replacing an entire suite of older, disconnected or “silo’d” systems:- Donor Management System- Volunteer Database/Spreadsheets- Program Management Package- Mailing Lists living in an Email Distribution SystemThe idea behind a CRM is to create a central command system that interconnects the information you need to drive your entire organization.
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