Customer relationship management (CRM) software is used to support business processes, identify prospects, and retain customers. Typically, CRM software consists of modules such as sales force automation and customer communications management. Effective CRM software applications enable businesses to collect data about existing customers and organize that information for analysis and action. For example, an equipment supplier can use customer relationship management software to maintain a database with customer contact information and data about the machinery that clients have purchased. Using this information, the equipment manufacturer can determine which customers to contact when new machinery becomes available.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software differs in terms of architecture, features, and applications. Web-based applications do not require the installation of CRM software on employee workstations, personal computers (PCs), or handheld devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablet PCs, and pocket PCs. Instead, employees use a browser to connect to a remote web server. Most PC-based applications use the Microsoft Windows operating system, client/server architecture, and network protocols such as Ethernet or token ring. Standalone products such as personal productivity applications are commonly available. Some CRM software runs under the MacOS operating system. Other products use Linux. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. MacOS and Apple are registered trademarks of Apple Computers, Inc. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is used in many different applications and industries. For example, automotive CRM software is used by car dealerships and leasing agencies to contact potential customers about new product offerings. Small business CRM software may include a limited set of feature, but permit easy installation and implementation. Call center CRM software is often part of a complete system that provides predictive dialing and inbound call center distribution. Distributed sales personnel can also use customer relationship management (CRM) software as part of their day-to-day activities.