Something many companies of today are considering is going with what’s known as a Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM. The basic principle behind this is to have a database of all the customers of a company, as well as potential customers.
But it’s more than just a standard database. CRM systems don’t only allow the owners to list things such as phone numbers and addresses and inventory. It allows them to list things not traditionally captured by software such as the names of family members, hobbies, clubs, networking events and anything else any of the company’s employees might know about these people. It allows them to figure out relationships that individuals might have with employees, other clients, or even competitors. And it increases the knowledge base of the entire company because, with training, every employee in the company can have instant access to that information, as well as be a contributing member in gathering that information.
Something else it seems to allow for some of these companies is a way to track whether what they consider as proprietary information is leaving the company and finding its ways in the hands of competitors. Many companies have their employees sign something saying that either they won’t work with a competitor for a particular length of time or that they won’t try to take anything they learned from a company or any other information with them to a new place. Sometimes that involves either technology or names of clients. CRM helps companies determine if someone has violated those rules and gives them the opportunity to sue them for breach of contract.
Some companies hire internal staff to create these databases for them, but there are companies that do this sort of work, including selling the technology to companies and allowing them to input the information on their own, with training. Probably the best known name in the industry is Oracle, the largest business software company in the world, Microsoft notwithstanding. They offer both different sizes of CRM software based on company size as well as internal and external data management, which includes web content and document management.
There are many companies on the market that offer this type of software, however, so the best thing to do is shop around and compare both prices and services. And, if you don’t have the staff to do it, you can probably get a pretty good deal by hiring a company to create and maintain this program for you. If yours is a large company, or one with specialized needs for your consumers, having a CRM database is imperative for the survivability of your organization.