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CRM and Software-as-a-Service Glossary
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CRM Resources

Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
CRM is a business strategy aimed at understanding, anticipating and responding to a prospect or customer's needs. While definitions of CRM vary, there are generally three industry accepted CRM components of operational CRM, collaborative CRM and analytical CRM. Operational CRM facilitates customer facing business processes and is generally managed and automated with the modular software components of sales force automation (SFA), marketing automation and customer service. The three modules should be integrated for efficiency purposes. A primary objective of operational CRM is to provide a single, consolidated and holistic view of the customer relationship across the organization. Collaborative CRM describes the direct communication and interaction with customers. Communication generally occurs over multiple mediums such as face to face, telephone, email, fax and the Internet. Social media and CRM 2.0 are having a large impact on collaborative CRM by introducing new communication channels such as self service, RSS Feeds, Vlogs, forums, Blogs and podcasts. Analytical CRM seeks to synthesize, analyze and understand customer data in order to predict customer behaviors, identify customer opportunities or better serve customers.

Customer Relationship Management Software:
CRM software seeks to manage and automate CRM business strategies. While CRM software vendors use varying definitions to describe their software solutions, most industry pundits agree that CRM software should at least offer sales force automation, marketing and customer support. The below table illustrates CRM software components (often called modules) in more detail.

Sales Force Automation
Marketing Automation
Customer Service
Sales Order Processing
  • Lead management
  • Account management
  • Contact management
  • Activity management
  • Opportunity management
  • Pipeline reporting
  • Sales forecasting
  • Mobile sales
  • Marketing management
  • Campaign management
  • Telesales & call scripts
  • Email distributions
  • Nurture marketing
  • Marketing analytics
  • Case management
  • Incident management
  • Help Desk
  • Asset management
  • Self Service
  • Quote management
  • Sales orders
  • Up-sell & cross sell
  • Invoicing
  • Shipping & RMAs
  • Contract management

Sales Force Automation (SFA):
SFA software seeks to organize, manage and automate the many sales-related activities performed by sales professionals. SFA activities often include lead tracking, account management, contact management, activity management, sale opportunity management, sales pipeline reporting and forecasting. SFA software typically integrates with marketing and customer service software applications.

Software as a Service (SaaS):
SaaS is the delivery of software via a service subscription; rather than the traditional procurement. The CRM SaaS movement has succeeded in altering the acquisition of CRM software from a capital procurement transaction to a rental or pay-as-you-go subscription arrangement whereby the application software is remotely hosted and delivered to users on-demand via their Internet browsers. The SaaS pricing model is based on utilization instead of ownership. The term "SaaS" has evolved from earlier terms such as on-demand, application service provider (ASP) and utility computing.



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