What is CRM? Customer Relationship Management [Practice Guide]

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The organized and structured maintenance of customer relationships through customer relationship management models (CRM models) is a common standard in the business world today. But what exactly is CRM and how are relevant strategies structured? In this article, interested parties will learn everything they need to know about CRM. Just read on!

What is CRM? - Customer Relationship Management explained in brief

Customer relationship management (CRM) is the strategic and permanent orientation of a company towards its customers and the systematic development and maintenance of customer relationships.

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The customer relationship marketing that frames this process includes documentation and management of existing as well as first-time customers and represents an important source of information for Marketing and Distribution dar.

In principle, customer relationships in most industries are long-term in nature and therefore require appropriate care, including ongoing consolidation.

An important aspect of customer relationship management is to turn customers into fans of the brand so that they can become part of the brand through qualified influencing. New customer acquisition Contribute.

Customer Relationship Manager
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Business background for the use of CRM models

Addressing customers in a qualified manner and retaining existing customers for as long as possible are of great importance in today's business world. This is because research has clearly shown that activities to acquire new customers are more important to the Up to five times more expensive come as measures to retain existing customers.

Based on this insight, companies store all customer data as well as all sales transactions carried out in databases, process them, analyze them and thus gain new information for customer marketing.

Sales and production processes are continuously adapted to the knowledge gained.

But what is CRM in practice and how do customer care models support the marketing process?

A CRM model captures all stages of a customer relationship and backs them up with facts, figures and data.

In this way, relationships with high customer value can be identified and weak points in the communication process with the customer can be eliminated. In order to ensure systematic work at consistent process quality to ensure this, the use of a high-performance CRM Software including relational database is highly recommended.

This provides the necessary structure to enable a standardized and quality-assured way of working. Ideally, the software is oriented to the operational processes.

Customer relationship management should always be understood as a holistic approach to business management and seamlessly integrated into the corporate philosophy.

All customer-related processes in the company (e.g. Marketing, Customer service, Distribution, Development) are to be integrated into CRM across departments; evaluations of the influence of activities carried out on the number and quality of customer relationships are to be carried out periodically.

Goals in Customer Relationship Management

The primary objective in customer care management is to create added value on the supplier and customer side and to put this into practice within the framework of business relationships.

Since there is always an intensive connection between CRM and marketing, goals in the CRM Always off Marketing goals and be aligned in their entirety with entrepreneurial objectives.

The aim is to increase customer satisfaction and sales through a comprehensive analysis of purchasing behavior and the use of appropriate marketing tools.

From interested parties shall New customers existing customers by providing them with customized actions be preserved.

In order to implement CRM goals in practice, it is necessary to bring together all the information received about a customer and then present it in visual and numerical form in order to be able to provide meaningful input to questions and problems posed by marketing and sales.

If the data on which the customer relationships are based is centrally recorded and managed, this leads to a Cost reduction as well as to an increase in the speed of delivery and response.

At the same time, the focus on the customer is optimized, as customers can be sent offers tailored to their needs.

By matching the data contained in the Databases stored data can show a changed Customer behavior as well as changed Customer needs can be quickly identified and appropriate measures initiated.

What is CRM? - Processes and CRM-relevant business areas

The company's internal divisions Marketing, Distribution and Service are of particular importance for customer care. These process units define external and internal organizational units (e.g. employees, suppliers, customers, etc.) which interact with Customer Relationship Management.

This classification is also a valuable structure provider when implementing functional tasks - such as the division between operational and analytical CRM.

In any case, it is important that CRM processes cover all stages of a customer relationship.

The role of CRM in acquisition, retention & marketing


The function that Customer Relationship Management assumes in the acquisition of new customers is to address leads held evident in the database using marketing strategy methods (e.g. direct marketing) and, if possible, to win them as customers.

By continuously maintaining a dialog with the customer - for example, through competitions or surveys - a clear picture of their wishes and ideas can be gained.

This enables conclusions to be drawn about the customer's requirements for a product and the next point in time of a possible impulse to buy. This puts the offering company in a position to make a tailored offer at the ideal time.

Customer loyalty

A CRM-supported Customer loyalty model looks something like this: The company maintains contact with its customers at regular intervals; as part of after-sales management, the customer is asked about any requests.

Sales Psychology are sent during these talks Unique selling proposition and added values of the company's products are mentioned.

On the one hand, this helps to find out the customer's needs, and on the other hand, it gives the customer the feeling that he or she is being taken care of.

This process is framed by a comprehensive Service and complaint managementwhich can be contacted by the customer via a service and advice hotline that is available all day if possible.


A key element of marketing is informing customers about the company and its products through product information, image-building campaigns, and promotional letters.

As a basis for this, the data contained in the Customer Care System stored customer-relevant data. By sending NewslettersThe personalized cover letter and, last but not least, the personal contact with the customer give the customer the feeling that he or she is important to the company.

In all of these activities, efforts are always made to find additional CRM database receive relevant information from the customer.

Which variants of Customer Relationship Management exist?

In general, a distinction is made between analytical, operational, communicative and collaborative customer relationship management.

Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM is concerned with the analysis and evaluation of transaction and customer data, which is collected through data mining and Data warehousing activities have been compiled.

The goal is to filter out as much important information about the customer as possible.

In this way, new target customer characteristics can be identified, but also migration tendencies to the competition can be recognized at an early stage. The potential customer value can also be better estimated by means of analytical customer relationship management.

Operational CRM

This is where the insights gained through analytical CRM are put to practical use with an impact on success. This can be achieved through positive customer reviews, increase in Conversions per customer or the selling of supplementary and additional products (Cross Selling) find its expression.

This process is supplemented by follow-up activities of the sales department (e.g., follow-up telephone calls or mailings). In turn, operational Customer Relationship Management acquires numerous customer-related data for the analytical area, which are evaluated and processed and made available again to operational CRM.

Communicative CRM

This area represents the interface between the sales or marketing area of the company and the customer. The practical implementation runs via communication channels preferred by the customer (Phone, web, social networks, emails, letter) and is referred to as multichannel management.

Collaborative CRM

The task of Collaborative CRM is to ensure that Customer Relationship Management processes are not only implemented within an organizational unit or within a company, but that they have an impact across organizational boundaries.

This strategy requires the development of holistic concepts for pricing, discounting and target customer targeting. Customers must be addressed with a unified target focus as well as clearly defined areas of responsibility - e.g., clear demarcation between service and new business.

Uniform customer relationship concepts are implemented across company boundaries in collaborative CRM, which leads to optimization of the entire value chain while simultaneously reducing costs.

Software systems for customer management

Salesforce CRM
(C) Salesforce CRM - The top dog

A software or database application that deals with the management of customer relationships is called a CRM system designated.

Its use enables all customer and transaction data to be kept in a systematic and structured manner. The system also handles the evaluation and analysis of the data, which provides valuable information for sales and marketing.

In most cases, such customer management systems are designed as standard software, which means that they are offered on the market in great variety and at different price ranges. If special requirements exist, such systems are usually implemented as individual solutions.

What does a CRM system have to do?

The following requirements must be met by a modern customer management system:

  • Detailed preparation of customer data
  • Keeping records of the complete customer history
  • Development of the basis for marketing actions
  • Automated creation of quotations
  • Customer selection
  • Preparation of meaningful reports and statistics
  • Simple and fast processing of orders
  • Time management
  • Multichannel management
  • Data transfer to MS-Office
  • Integrated e-mail client
  • Automated task management
  • Problem-free data migration


Powerful customer relationship management models have become an indispensable part of today's business world and are essential for building long-term customer relationships. In particular, the areas of sales and marketing are optimally supported by a powerful customer management system; valuable insights for production and development can also be gained in this way.

Of importance now is that both the answer to the question:

"What is CRM?" as well as the practical benefits that such strategies bring, is anchored once and for all in the minds of those responsible. This is the only way to ensure that appropriate framework conditions are created everywhere for the optimal use of customer care systems.
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