The most valuable asset businesses (digital enterprises in particular) have is their customer and prospect list.
The fresher and more detailed that list is, the more useful it will be when it comes time to market and sell to a potential and existing audience. Few enterprises, however, spend the required resources (time or money) to manage their customer database, but those who do are those that reap the greatest rewards, most notably increases in revenue and retention.
Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to the practice, strategies and, of course, technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal of using these systems is to improve relationships with customers, assisting in retention and over time, and most importantly, driving sales growth.
Today's CRM offerings are incredibly powerful and there is a solution designed for every type of enterprise. CRM software suites most often provide a mix of sales force automation functionality including contact, account and opportunity management. They also offer marketing automation features such as lead and campaign management, customer support tools like support case and knowledge management, and an underlying and unifying database for companies to manage all customer information and their customer-facing applications.
CRM solutions are fast becoming a key part of the sales and marketing software stack and billions of dollars are spent each year on these solutions. In this month's Website Magazine Top 50, readers will discover some of the most powerful and popular solutions available today. There are enterprise-level solutions from some of the biggest brands in technology including Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft, mid-tier vendors including Zoho and Nimble, and a long list of solutions catering to the small business market.
If 'Net professionals take the time to explore this exciting landscape, they are sure to find a solution that meets their needs and fits in with the demands of their enterprise.