Although CRM definitions are many and varied and are typically wrapped around CRM software and vendor's self serving interest, we support a vendor neutral and industry standard definition of CRM.
CRM is a business strategy aimed at understanding, anticipating and responding to the needs of an enterprise's current and potential customers.
CRM should not be thought of as just a software technology product to be deployed but rather as a holistic focus on customer-enriching touches and activities designed to add a distinct and measurable competitive advantage.
CRM is not software, although CRM software is a necessary enabler to achieve most CRM visions and objectives. From a technology perspective, CRM implies the integrated use of customer information combined with operational, analytical and support tools which empower staff and provide a superior delivery mechanism to customers. CRM is not Sales Force Automation (SFA), although SFA is a component of CRM software. By most analyst standards, the minimum number of software components to achieve a true CRM software suite include SFA, Marketing Management and Customer Service. CRM is also not an implementation or an event; it is a process embodied from the highest levels of an organization and pervasive throughout the organization.
CRM can be any number of processes designed to improve a company's relationship with customers across sales, marketing and customer service departments. CRM processes don't always require technology. Remember the old axioms 'service with a smile' and 'the customer is always right'? These are CRM processes made popular long before the current generation of software technology.