Acronym Monday: CRM

What does CRM mean in plain English?

Today’s Acronym Monday is brought to you by the acronym CRM.

If you work in marketing, this is likely not your first encounter with the term. In the website development industry, when we talk about CRM, we are talking about a CRM system. It can stand for two things: “customer relationship management” or “constituent relationship management.”

The difference between the two is the former deals with people that purchase goods from you, and the latter deals with people that don’t purchase goods from you. It’s business versus non-profit. Businesses typically manage customer relationships whereas non-profits usually manage constituent relationships.

A good CRM system has features desirable to both types of entity, so it’s usually okay to use the term interchangeably.

What does a CRM system do?

A CRM system is a marketing tool. Most CRM systems have more or less the same functionality, but there are some that offer wider or narrower ranges of features depending on what is needed.

Many CRM systems come with contact management and membership management tools. If you’ve ever seen a button on a website that said something like “Sign up for our newsletter” or “Register to login” chances are that organization was using a CRM system. Organizations use these tools to store contacts and sort them into different groups. If your organization has levels of membership (bronze, silver, and gold for example), the CRM system helps keep track of each level.

Another useful tool that many CRM systems have is a mass email marketing tool. Taking your organization’s contacts, you could send emails to all or a smaller group of customers. Say you just wanted to notify your bronze members about some news in your organization. A CRM makes it easy to select that group, and send an email to all of them all at once. Some CRM systems even show you statistics about the emails, such as how many people have opened the email, how many have replied, and more.

If you do fundraisers with your organization or company, CRM systems can help you organize and fulfill them. Or if you take donations, as many political candidates do for example, a CRM system allows you to take either one-time donations, or constituents can even set up recurring donations if they want to donate every month or every week. Some systems are able to process transactions themselves, securely, right through the web or over the phone.

What are some examples of CRM systems?

We at Wildcard have a lot of experience using and providing open source software (software with publicly available code, so anyone can make changes and improvements to it), and there are some really great open source CRM systems available.

CiviCRM is one such example that we have personally used for event registration, but it does everything I talked about above and much more. If you’re curious about what else CRM systems can do, I encourage you to check out this page on their site and take a look at their features.

Another system that we have started using more and more lately is Odoo (pronounced Oh-doo). Like I mentioned above, some CRM systems do more than others. Odoo has many of the same tools as CiviCRM, but we like it because it also has a website building tool. We use this tool to design websites for small businesses and organizations that aren’t really looking for a top-of-the-line, ultra powerful, ultra expensive website, but that might also be looking for CRM features.

Speaking of our customers, if you’re looking for a tool that can make your customer relationship management easier, contact us and let us know. We will help you find the right tool for you. And as always, if you’ve got an older website and you’re itching to join the 21st century, look no further than Wildcard.

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