What is a CRM

Health IS Technology Blog

What is a CRM?

Hands on a laptop with a screen that reads customer relationship management

“With a powerful CRM, you can target the right customer and build sustainable relationships between your business and your customers upon the satisfaction of all parties. Having a custom CRM system is like creating and maintaining a balanced ecosystem for your business." ~ Mengdi Chen, USF IT Product Owner

A CRM, or a Customer Relationship Management system, is your one-stop shop to getting to know your customers. These systems organize the data you have on your customers in the way your memory has tried to for decades.

What Does a CRM Do?

Hand holding a paper speech bubble with the word CRM written on itA CRM stores all of the information on your customers that you could ever need. Things like customer contact information - emails, phone numbers, social media, website - records of past interactions, correspondence preferences, and more can be stored in your CRM. Somewhat simply, a CRM answers the following questions, listed by Hubspot:

“Who are our customers? How do we get in touch with them? How do they interact with our content? What does our pipeline of new business look like?”

Hubspot also presents a very important point-of-view: customers look at their relationship with your company as one with the organization itself, not with several different individuals. So, every team member should know at least the summary of the customer’s interactions and feelings concerning the company. This is where a well-organized CRM comes in handy.

Your company’s relationship with customers should be considered in the exact opposite light, however. CRMs help to make sure customer interactions are looked at as individual, and that said customers are treated as such. Because all customer communication and notes can be stored in your CRM for all appropriate team members to view, no one is forgotten. The moment you prove to your clients that you value them, you will gain their loyalty.

Why is it Important?

A CRM is a vital asset in today’s technology-driven society, especially for businesses - small or large. In the days before these types of software, customer information was stored in file cabinets, spreadsheets, rolodexes, and memories - all of which can be easily lost or misplaced. While nothing is unlosable, it is much harder to permanently delete something that lives in organized software, especially if that software utilizes the cloud.

Any company unsure if investing in a CRM is the correct move should consider the following questions, as posed by Hubspot:

  • “Do you have a need for maintaining a central list of information on your leads and customers?
  • Does this information live in several different places?
  • Are your customers regularly interacting with multiple people on your team?
  • How does everyone keep track of where the conversation with any one customer left off?
  • Do you need a way to better understand the productivity of your sales team?
  • Does your sales team have a structured process they follow?

If you said yes, then a CRM might be a beneficial option for your business.”

Popular CRMs

Microsoft Dynamics 365: “Microsoft uniquely delivers a modern approach to business applications helping you unify data and relationships, build intelligence into your decision making, and achieve better results.”

Salesforce CRM: “Salesforce offers a wide variety of CRM categories and systems to meet your needs, including Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Analytics Cloud, Data Cloud, Community Cloud, App Cloud, and IoT, serving more than 150,000 customers…. the only CRM that offers the full range of features and functionality, at a cost that is scalable to fit any business, is Salesforce.”

Oracle: “Oracle CX Cloud Suite breaks down silos to deliver a seamless customer experience across marketing, sales, commerce, service, social, and configure, price, and quote (CPQ). Whether deployed modularly to tackle specific business challenges or deployed as a comprehensive solution, Oracle's approach enables your company to provide cross-channel, consistent customer experiences using pre-built business processes that span silos.”

SAP CRM“Differentiate your business with personalized customer experiences (CX). Our integrated customer relationship management (CRM) cloud software can help you engage with customers at every touchpoint, in intelligent ways – and build trust and lifetime loyalty.”

USF Health Information Systems is a comprehensive technology group serving the needs of the Academic Research and Clinical missions. We partner with our customers to deliver agile responsive technology solutions that drive business value and make life better for our students and patients. Be informed at all times by visiting health.usf.edu/is/. You can connect directly via phone by calling (813) 974-6288 or by sending us an email via support@health.usf.edu, after hours.


Bekah Witten
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Bekah is the content writer for the University of South Florida department of Information Technology.