The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville MBA with a Business Analytics Specialization online program includes a course in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It introduces students to the concepts, methods and applications of CRM, developing their understanding of the theoretical underpinnings and practical considerations of customer relationship management. The course provides an excellent foundation in CRM, one of the fastest-growing business functions in corporations worldwide.
What Is CRM?
CRM is the practice of managing a company’s relationships and interactions with prospects and customers. It is used to develop these relationships to win business and improve sales throughout the customer lifecycle. It helps to identify sales and marketing opportunities, manage marketing campaigns, keep track of service issues and centralize all customer data.
CRM software systems provide a broad view of customer and prospect activity; everything is visible through dashboards that describe individual customer “journeys” with your company, including orders, feedback and service communications. Such systems are necessary because customer journeys have become increasingly complex. Customers now hop between websites, social media and offline platforms, while also receiving information through traditional channels like television, radio and print.
The Online Marketing Institute reports that the average number of touchpoints leading up to a sale can exceed 13. A single interaction like a billing dispute can occur across multiple touchpoints, from the phone to an online chat, and poor experiences have become more common with channel complexity.
Consider the Opportunity
Businesses in every industry are prioritizing customer satisfaction and placing their bets on cloud-based and mobile CRM solutions to drive customer data-driven strategies.
- By 2021, CRM will be the single largest area of spending in enterprise software, according to Gartner.
- Today 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use CRM software, according to BuyerZone.
- A Mobile Marketer study projected 11% growth for the global mobile CRM market to $15 billion worldwide in 2019, as businesses seek to connect with their customers through their mobile devices.
- According to Salesforce, CRM applications have a proven track record of increasing lead conversion by up to 30% and sales by up to 30%.
Consider the following CRM roles.
The Chief Customer Officer
The role of Chief Customer Officer is relatively new; the first CCO was installed about 20 years ago when Jack Chambers presided over customer service and retention for Texas New Mexico Power in 1999. The CCO is a C-suite executive who provides “the comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and creates corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximize customer acquisition, retention, and profitability,” as defined by the Chief Customer Council.
The CCO is the final authority on the customer experience. This role is responsible for driving customer strategies, generating profitable customer behaviors, raising customer satisfaction and retention, resolving chronic problems, and creating competitive advantages. The CCO is aligned to revenue and is accountable for metrics including the gross retention number (the percentage of revenue preserved or renewed year over year) and net retention number (includes expansions of existing clients, such as upsells and cross-sells).
A sales manager oversees the activities of the sales team and works with executives to ensure execution on larger business goals. This role uses CRM to track individual and team performance by productivity and revenue. CRM systems enable the sales manager to monitor and provide help for performance improvement, access data for goal-setting analytics, and update accounts and individual contracts.
This role tracks and improves the quality and quantity of leads gained from marketing campaigns and drives customer engagements through the lifecycle. The marketing manager uses CRM to refine marketing funnel strategies, oversee quality marketing automation, identify customers and contacts for marketing opportunities, and uncover the components of lead quality.
The CRM administrator “owns” the CRM software in an organization and knows how to manipulate it to meet customized business requirements. The person in this role also trains others on the software, develops workflows and builds custom sets for special use cases.
CRM software skills are crucial for early- and mid-career CRM professionals. As your career moves forward, your roles will likely combine management and interpersonal skills with your CRM expertise to connect business capabilities with the needs of customers.
Learn more about SIUE’s online MBA program with a Business Analytics Specialization.