Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the set of strategies and technologies that companies in the present era to analyze customer interactions. CRM system and tools capture customer interactions through various channels including company’s website, phone, social media, direct emails, live chats etc. This helps in providing the customer facing employees mostly sales and marketing department to get customer detailed information like personal details, preference, patterns and concerns. Thus targeting customers as per need of the product becomes easier. The overall motive of CRM is to improve customer service relationship, retain customers and drive sales growth.

The four main CRM vendors that are usually chosen by large corporates are: Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle. Many additional functionalities have been added CRM system some even customized to make it more useful. The types of CRM technology offered are as follows:

  • Cloud Based CRM: This CRM technology used cloud computing also known as SaaS (software as a service); data is usually externally stored with a remote network or may be with a third party service provider that is accessible by the employees wherever there is an internet connection. This not only rules out installation and maintenance costs but the cloud’s quick and easy deployment capabilities appeals to companies with relatively less expertise and resources. Vendors usually charge the users on a subscription basis and offer option of monthly or yearly payments. Popular cloud based CRM providers include Salesforce, HubSpot and Zendesk.
  • On-premises CRM: This system puts the responsibility of administration, control, security and maintenance of the database and information on the company using the using the CRM software. In this system companies buy an upfront license from cloud service provider instead of buying yearly/monthly subscriptions. The software resides on the user’s servers and the user bears the cost of upgradation. Cloud based providers like Salesforce and WorkWise also offer on-premises offer of their CRM software.
  • Open source CRM: This system makes the source code available to the public, so that companies can make alternations fitting their business needs and strategies at no cost to the company employing the system. Some of the open source CRM platforms are OroCRM, Bitrix24, SuiteCRM, SugarCRM etc.


Companies can adopt any of the CRM method based on the business needs, goals, resources etc. as each method has different cost associated with it and need different level to expertise.

Despite of all advancements in CRM technology, without proper management a CRM system may become cumbersome to access. Data needs to be properly connected, distributed and organized for users to access relevant information. Duplicate and outdated data should be avoided in order to provide a better customer experience and drive sales growth. Thus companies should spend time cleaning up the existing database to eliminate duplicate and incomplete records before CRM data is supplemented with external sources of information.

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