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CRM Application
Customer relationship management applications are generally organized into the primary functions of marketing, sales and service. The following descriptions outline the main elements of each of these application areas. It should be noted that modern CRM applications have developed to be extremely rich in features and functions, far beyond what could be practically represented here. The following descriptions, therefore, should be seen as an overview only.

Customer and product management
Customer and product management may be separate areas of a CRM application, or they may be built in to sales, service or marketing. In either case, it is essential that products and customers be adequately modelled in the application.

The CRM marketing process involves assessing and segmenting customers (often based on customer value), using the resulting lists to run campaigns, and then evaluating the results of these campaigns to identify leads for the ongoing marketing and sales effort.

Marketing applications must also deal with the many different channels for customer communication. These include e-mail marketing, newsletters, telemarketing, conventional direct mail and web marketing. In all cases, the CRM focus on segmenting and personalizing the marketing effort is made possible by the sophistication of the underlying applications and availability of customer data.

You can download excellent powerpoint slides on Marketing Strategy and Marketing Management HERE.

Customer relationship management sales applications typically support many different styles of selling: B2B complex selling, B2C telesales, and so on. These may involve team selling, partner selling, specific sales methodologies and territory management. In most industries the focus is on the sales opportunity. The opportunity tracks the sale as it progresses along the sales pipeline, and allows quotes, orders and forecasts to be generated from a single source.

Service and support
Service and support applications in CRM are also highly variable. Servicing complex industrial products often requires field service engineers, while servicing a consumer with a complaint requires centralized teleservicing and a current knowledge base. The central element in CRM service is the service request or trouble ticket. This is used to track the service event through to completion, including service orders and resolutions.

Partner relationship management
Channel members and partners all require support if they are to manage effectively the relationship with the end-customer. This can involve marketing, selling and servicing functions through the channel. In addition to these applications, managing the partner relationship requires specialist functions to be supported, such as partner qualification and sign up, developing joint business plans and objectives, measuring performance, partner training, administration of marketing funds between the organizations, and specialist partner incentive schemes.

Sources of Reference:
Farncis Buttle, Customer Relationship Management, Butterworth-Heinemann Publishing. You can obtain this excellent book here