What is a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management)?

CRM is the abbreviation for “Customer Relationship Management”, or in German “Kundenbeziehungspflege”. A CRM system is used to manage customer-related data in a structured way in order to optimize business processes in sales. In an integrated business software, the stored customer data is also used for other operational processes such as the creation of receipts

Wikipedia defines the term “CRM” as follows:

“Customer Relationship Management, or CRM for short, describes the consistent orientation of a company towards its customers and the systematic design of customer relationship processes. The associated documentation and administration of customer relationships is an important component and enables more in-depth relationship marketing. In many industries (e.g. telecommunications, mail order, service companies), relationships between companies and customers are long-term oriented. By means of CRM, these customer relationships are cultivated, which should have a significant impact on the success of the company”

A CRM system therefore serves to optimize processes in marketing for acquisition and customer retention by consolidating all customer-related data directly in the customer data record.

CRM systems are available as stand-alone software systems and as part of integrated business software. Stand-alone CRM systems can be highly specialized and in certain respects go far beyond the functions of standard software. Customizing systems can be used to add new functions to existing systems according to individual requirements.

What data does a CRM system store?

In an extensive CRM system, the following data can usually be stored:

  • Customer master data with several customer addresses
  • Classification of contact data into categories (customer, supplier, etc.) and priorities (A customer, B customer, etc.)
  • Several contact persons per customer with additional data
  • Several bank accounts per customer
  • Action history and resubmissions for processing customer-related events
  • Customer-related definitions such as payment type, currency, price group, etc.
  • Storage of customer-related external documents, if necessary scanning and filing of documents in the customer record
  • Customer and vendor accounts for the creation of accounting data

Kunden verwalten mit einem Warenwirtschaftssystem

What functions does a CRM system contain?

A CRM system usually has the following functions as part of an integrated business software:

  • Creation and invoicing of documents, SEPA mandates, direct debits and credits from the customer data record
  • Storage of an action history with resubmission lists
  • User-defined fields for individual data
  • Assignment of external files to the customer data record or to the action history
  • Entry of services that can be billed to the customer
  • Export of address and appointment data as a file and transfer of such data to Outlook or the calendar and contact app
  • Scanning of paper documents and assignment to the customer data record
  • Route planning with geocoding and storage of routes
  • Customer-related statistical evaluations
  • Printing of contact sheets, lists and labels
  • Connection to telephone systems or the Fritz!Box for software-supported telephony
  • Import of data from other systems
  • Export of data in various formats

To which modules is a CRM system connected?

In an integrated business software the CRM module is connected to many other modules:

  • Services for recording services to customers
  • Correspondence contains all documents that are linked to the customer.
  • Invoicing contains offers, order confirmations, delivery notes, invoices, credit notes, reminders and orders as well as bookings, SEPA mandates, direct debits and credit notes to the customer.
  • Project management to create and manage projects. A customer should participate in several projects and a project should be able to contain any number of customers. With regard to projects, it is often possible to store a lot of additional data such as documents from invoicing, project activities, files or contact persons.

In current CRM systems, all data stored on the customer can be called up directly in the customer data record. If a new document is created in billing from the customer data record, the system automatically assigns the new document to the corresponding customers.

CRM for Mac, Windows and Apple iOS

The business software gFM-Business has an integrated CRM system for managing customers, suppliers and other contacts. The software, which is based on the FileMaker platform, offers many of the features mentioned in this article and runs on Mac, Windows and on the Apple iPad.

More information about CRM in gFM business

gFM-Business Unternehmenssoftware

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About Author

Markus Schall
Development of FileMaker databases since 1994, modification and extension of FileMaker solutions, conversion of FileMaker databases from .fm, .fp3, .fp5 (FileMaker 2-6) or .fp7 (FileMaker 7-11) to .fmp12 (FileMaker 12-17), interfaces to third-party systems such as online shops, CMS or other databases. Development of individual FileMaker database systems based on the gFM business framework with personal advice from Oldenburg. Operator of the online specialist portal, developer of the CRM and merchandise management system gFM-Business. Member of FileMaker Business Alliance, FileMaker Developers Subscription and FMM Expert. Winner of an FMM Award 2011, awarded by the FileMaker Magazine.