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Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A strategy for managing an organization’s relationships and interactions with current and potential customers.

Business Glossary provided by

CRM systems help businesses stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability. These systems compile data from various channels, including the company's website, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials, and more recently, social media. They allow businesses to learn more about their target audiences and how to best cater to their needs, thus retaining customers and driving sales growth.

Context of Use:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy and technology used by businesses to manage interactions with current and potential customers. A CRM system helps organizations build customer relationships and streamline processes by tracking customer interactions, managing sales and engagements, and facilitating communication. This technology is used across various industries to improve business relationships, increase customer retention, and drive sales growth.


The purpose of CRM is to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth. A CRM system compiles data from a range of different communication channels, including a company's website, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials, and more recently, social media. By understanding the customers’ needs and history, businesses can better cater to their requirements, enhance service, and promote loyalty.


A retail company uses a CRM system to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. When a customer contacts the company, the system can show the customer's purchase history, preferences, and previous communication. This enables the service agent to provide personalized and efficient service, suggest relevant products, and resolve issues effectively, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Related Terms:

  • Lead Management: The process within CRM that tracks and manages prospective customers. Often a precursor to customer relationship management.

  • Sales Force Automation (SFA): The use of software to automate the business tasks of sales, including order processing, contact management, information sharing, inventory monitoring and control, order tracking, customer management, sales forecast analysis, and employee performance evaluation.

  • Marketing Automation: Technologies and software platforms designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

  • Customer Data Platform (CDP): A database used by marketing professionals to consolidate and integrate customer data into one single database to allow for more accurate, targeted, and efficient marketing communications.


  1. What are the key features of a CRM system?

    Key features include contact management, sales management, interaction tracking, workflow automation, analytics, and reporting.

  2. How does CRM contribute to customer satisfaction?

    CRM systems help provide better customer service, nurture relationships with customers, enhance communication, and streamline processes which contribute to increased customer satisfaction.

  3. Can CRM systems integrate with other software?

    Yes, most CRM systems can integrate with other software such as email providers, marketing automation tools, productivity applications, and more, to provide a comprehensive toolset for managing customer relationships.

  4. Why is CRM important for sales?

    CRM systems organize and analyze data which assists in more efficient lead tracking, enhances sales processes, and enables sales teams to up-sell and cross-sell more effectively, thereby increasing sales.

  5. What is the difference between CRM and ERP?

    CRM is a system that manages a company’s interactions and relationships with both current and potential customers, while ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) refers to a broader suite of applications that manage the business processes of an organization across multiple departments.

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