Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is all about creating loyalty. The phrase refers to a game-changing philosophy: sales and customer retention strategies should be driven by relationships rather than transactions. CRM also references the technology that facilitates this approach to business.
Whether its tools and principles are used to connect sellers to buyers or a brand to its fans, successful CRM implementation can boost profits while also cutting costs.
The online Master of Business Administration in Marketing program offered by Northwest Missouri State University provides students with a solid foundation in CRM for strategic and global business. In MKTG 55635: Advanced Marketing Communication, students also learn about CRM’s potential to transform business processes and interactions.
Elements of CRM
CRM can give both large and small businesses a strategic advantage, regardless of their workforce size or geographic reach. Effective CRM focuses on three areas of management:
People: Success requires a company-wide investment from employees and management. CRM works best when its guiding philosophy is adopted at all levels of the organization, from front-line sales and customer service staff to the C-suite.
Process: Finding and retaining customers is fundamental to doing business, and lasting relationships are built largely through sustained effort and proven results. Adopting a CRM-based approach in every aspect of customer interaction — from marketing to sales to support — helps businesses create a better and more consistent customer experience.
Technology: CRM can help businesses easily and purposefully collect data from disparate sources and mine it for results. Sophisticated, intuitive CRM software allows sales, marketing, analytics, market trends and other relevant information to be read together as a unified tapestry, delivering a deeper form of insight about customer needs and behaviors.
CRM Drives Results
One reason CRM has become such a popular strategic management tool is because it can drive a host of positive changes and results. It gives businesses the capability to:
- Automate processes and synchronize systems to eliminate performance gaps and better enable on-demand customer response.
- Connect areas of business that might normally operate independently, such as marketing, sales and fulfillment.
- Collect, manage and analyze a wide range of customer data.
- Tailor and personalize customer interactions, creating stronger connection.
- Integrate social media and manage online presence.
- Improve risk and reputation management capacity.
- Expand cloud computing and storage solutions.
Preparing for a CRM Leadership Role
The main challenges in implementing CRM are not always cost or organizational capacity. Managers may encounter a lack of confidence in the philosophy at first, or simply resistance to changes that could represent a radical shift in approach. Employee buy-in is critical, however, and to lead effective CRM efforts, MBAs must have a comprehensive command of CRM principles, processes and technologies. They must also understand how to work with staff who may be slow to embrace CRM.
The Advanced Marketing Communications course in the online Master of Business Administration in Marketing program from Northwest Missouri State University helps MBA students gain a better understanding of CRM and its potential, and learn how businesses can take advantage of its cutting-edge tools. This element of the MBA-Marketing curriculum also emphasizes a variety of skills in related areas of strategic marketing such as advertising, public relations and integrated marketing communication. The course serves as a primer in the art of persuasion and the craft of response — two strategic management capabilities that MBA-Marketing grads will use throughout their careers.
When workers at all levels of an organization understand the philosophy behind CRM and the positive change it can produce, companies can achieve faster buy-in and better results. Online MBA-Marketing graduates are prepared to lead in this crucial area of business and build the kind of relationships that drive lasting success.
Learn more about Northwest Missouri State University’s online MBA in Marketing program.