CRM Terms

It drives you crazy sometimes! All those terms around CRM flying around your ears. This list of CRM terms will help you have conversations about CRM with colleagues, customers and partners. If this is not relevant to you? Then the list can always be used as inspiration for Wordfeud or Scrabble!


Activity Accounting
A system that defines and reports the activities, costs, activity characteristics and outputs of each department, cost center or group of employees in an organization.

Activity Based Budgeting (ABB)
Activity Based Budgeting (ABB) is a common sense, systematic method of planning and budgeting the resources of an organization. In essence, ABB is Activity Accounting in reverse, e.g. start ABB at the bottom of the Activity Accounting spreadsheet. Define the cost per output target and planned activity workloads to determine headcount and expense budgets.

Activity Based Management (ABM)Activity Based Management (ABM) is common sense, systematic method of planning, controlling and improving labor and overhead cost. ABM is based on the principle “activities consume costs”. While traditional cost systems focus on the “worker”, ABM systems focus on the “work”. The basic building block for ABM is Activity Accounting.
Account Based Marketing (ABM)
Account Based Marketing is a leadgeneration strategy that targets a specific company or group of companies and uses tailor-made sales and marketing campaigns. With these campaigns you focus on the personal needs of your specific (potential) customer.

Activity-Based Costing (ABC)
Activity Based Costing (ABC) is a systematic, cause & effect method of assigning the cost of activities to products, services, customers or any cost object. ABC is based on the principle that “products consume activities”. Traditional cost systems allocate costs based on direct labor, material cost, revenue or other simplistic methods. As a result, traditional systems tend to overcost high volume products, services and customers and undercost low volume.

Application Service Provider (ASP)
Application Service Provider (ASP) offers an outsourcing mechanism whereby they develop, supply and manage application software and hardware for their customers, thus freeing up customers internal IT resources.

Application Software
Software applications that are intended for end-users, such as database programs, word processors, and spreadsheets. Application software runs on top of system software.

Artificial Intelligence
A broad term describing the field of developing computer programmes to simulate human thought processes and behaviours.

Balanced Scorecard
The continuous process of measuring producers, services, and practices against strong competitors or recognized industry leaders. It is an ongoing activity that is intended to improve performance and can be applied to all facets of operation. Benchmarking requires a measurement mechanism so that the performance “gap” can be identified. It focuses on comparing best practices among dissimilar enterprises.

BANTBANT is a qualification method for sales and marketing in order to analyse the quality of a lead. It stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe. Read more about BANT.
Best Practice (Good Practice)
A process or methodology that has been proven to work well and produce good results, and is therefore recommended as a model. Some people prefer to use the term good practice as in reality it is debatable whether there is a single best approach.

Buying BehaviorBuying behaviour is the name for all the activities people do in the run-up to a purchase. Examples include interactions with sales, conversations with like-minded people and trying products and services.
Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence refers to the type of granular information that line-of-business managers seek as they analyze sales trends, customer buying habits, and other key performance metrics of an organization.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)
A systematic, disciplined improvement approach that critically examines, rethinks, and redesigns, and implements the redesigned mission-delivery pro-cesses to achieve dramatic improvements in performance in areas important to customers and other stakeholders. BPR is also referred to by such terms as business process improvement (BPI) or business process development, and business process redesign. While the term can be applied to incremental process improvement effort, it is more commonly and increasingly associated with dramatic or radical overhauls of existing business processes.

Business-to-Business (B2B)
As opposed to business-to-consumer (B2C). Many companies are now focusing on this strategy, and their sites are aimed at businesses (think wholesale) and only other businesses can access or buy products on the site. Internet analysts predict this will be the biggest sector on the Web.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)
The hundreds of e-commerce Web sites that sell goods directly to consumers are considered B2C. This distinction is important when comparing Websites that are B2B as the entire business model, strategy, execution, and fulfillment is different.

Category Management
The management of product categories as strategic business units. The practice empowers a category manager with full responsibility for the assortment decisions, inventory levels, shelf-space allocation, promotions and buying. With this authority and responsibility, the category manager is able to judge more accurately the consumer buying patterns, product sales and market trends of that category.

CDP A customer data platform brings together customer behavior information from different systems. This can then be used to set up or fine-tune marketing campaigns.
Customer Journey
The customer journey embraces the different touch points of prospects and customers they encounter when they buy or use products and services.

Change Management
The practice of steering a company in a new strategic direction and keeping all involved people and projects aligned with the new goals as the organization, jobs, technology and processes are uprooted.

Collaborative Working
A generic term that simply means teamwork or a group effort. It also has a more specific meaning in knowledge management, where it is often used to describe close working relationships involving the sharing of knowledge.

Content Management System (CMS)
Content management systems support the creation, management, distribution, publishing, and discovery of corporate information. Also known as ‘web content management’ (WCM), these systems typically focus on online content targeted at either a corporate website or intranet. Examples are WordPress, Hubspot CMS and Umbraco.

Customer Experience
An experience can be described as the emotional effect on a person during the course of an action or an event. The Customer Experience is the emotional response of a customer or prospect when interacting with a company during a business transaction. As any marketer will testify, customers are becoming increasingly difficult to woo. Customers want low prices for quality products and services, they want to purchase them efficiently and conveniently and what’s more, they want personal service through and beyond the purchase process. Companies are recognizing that the key to sustained and profitable business growth is the customer. As such, many are depolarising their operations and migrating from a product-centric to a customer-focused business. These companies are also consolidating their brand to offer a “360-degree” Customer Experience so that the customer gets a consistent brand message at every angle. The net effect of these efforts is an improved, consistent customer experience across all touch points, better customer service, increased market share, and customer loyalty.

Customer Experience Management (CEM)
Management of Customer Experience

Refers to a strategy or focus, which is closely aligned with CRM and the fusion of a company’s people, process and technology. A Customer-Centric strategy is meant to measure and monitor all accessible and valuable customer information.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM is a business approach that integrates People, Processes and Technology to maximize the relations of organizations with all types of customers. The true value of CRM is to transform CRM strategy, operational processes and business functions in order to retain customers and increase customer loyalty and profitability. Check out the definition of CRM.

CRM KPICRM KPIs help organizations to work to an objective and measure results. Check out our definition of CRM KPIs.
Data Cleansing
The process of ensuring that a company’s CRM data is consistent, accurate and recorded correctly. Data Cleansing is often performed on existing legacy systems that have duplicate records or that are plagued by poor querying and reporting due to dirty data. It is also a critical component of any new CRM implementation in an effort to ensure that the new system starts with clean data with a high data quality

Data Management
An ability to solve the problems associated with storing, managing and extracting information from the numerous data sets being used by an organization.

Data Mart
A repository of data that serves a particular community of knowledge workers. The data may come from an enterprisewide database or a data warehouse.

Data Migration
Also referred to as Data Conversion or Data Import. This process involves moving data from an old system into the new CRM system. Existing data from the old system will be cleansed and mapped to the new CRM system prior to starting this process.

Data Mining
An information extraction activity whose goal is to discover hidden facts contained in databases. Using a combination of machine learning, statistical analysis, modeling techniques and database technology, data mining finds patterns and subtle relationships in data and infers rules that allow the prediction of future results. Typical applications include market segmentation, customer profiling, fraud detection, evaluation of retail promotions, and credit risk analysis.

Data Modeling
The practice of analyzing an enterprise’s data and identifying the relationships among the data.

Data Warehouse
A Data Warehouse is a consolidated view of your enterprise data, optimized for reporting and analysis. Basically its an aggregated, sometimes summarized copy of transaction and non-transaction data specifically structured for dynamic queries and analytics. In data warehousing, data and information are extracted from heterogeneous production data sources as they are generated, or in periodic stages, making it simpler and more efficient to run queries over data that originally came from different sources. Data is turned into high-quality information to meet all enterprise reporting requirements for all levels of users. Interactive content can be delivered to anyone in the extended enterprise – customers, partners, employees, managers, and executives – anytime, anywhere.

Database Marketing
The process of building, maintaining and using customer databases for the purpose of contacting and transacting business. Database Marketers usually work with CRM systems and Marketing Automation software.

Database System
A collection of programs that enables you to store, modify and extract information from a database. There are many different types of DBMSs, ranging from small systems that run on personal computers to huge systems that run on mainframes. The following are examples of database applications: From a technical standpoint, DBMSs can differ widely. The terms relational, network, flat, and hierarchical all refer to the way a DBMS organizes information internally. The internal organization can affect how quickly and flexibly you can extract information.

DBMS stands for Database Management Systems. Companies need to process a large amount of data. Manual storage of this data wastes a lot of time while retrieving it. It also requires tedious clerical hours to arrange the data in the form required by top management. Storing this data in a way to facilitate easy access is very important and that is why computers are used in organizations. This is possible using DBMS. DBMS, besides allowing you to store large amounts of data, allows you to retrieve information easily whenever and in whichever format it is desired.

Demand GenerationDemand generation refers to the targeted marketing efforts companies take to create interest and demand for their products or services. This includes a range of activities that attract, engage and influence potential customers throughout the entire buyer journey.
Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is broadly defined, in media terms, as any direct communication to a consumer or business recipient that is designed to generate a response in the form of an order (direct order), a request for further information (lead generation), and/or a visit to a store or other place of business for the purchase of a specific product(s) or service(s) (traffic generation).

A leading trade magazine Direct Marketing goes a bit further: “an interactive system of marketing that uses one or more advertising media to effect a measurable response and/or transaction at any location, with this activity stored on a database.”

The goal is to provide the customer information relative to their needs and interests. A recent Bear Stearns profile on the direct and interactive marketing industry offers a helpful way of looking at it as a cyclical process with six distinct phases:

The creative and design phase…where a marketing plan and media channels are selected;

Data compilation…where both internal data, such as customer lists…and outside data from a database company or list broker are assembled in preparation for phase three, which is…. Database management…where the information is purged, enhanced and standardized;

Database analysis…which further focuses on an optimal target market; Next…execution and fulfillment…where customer inquiries and orders are acted upon…and that information is passed on to selected media channels;

And finally…response analysis…where the results of the campaign are examined for effectiveness before this cycle begins again.

Today direct and interactive marketers will continue to focus on customer acquisition, service and value in traditional as well as new media.

Dirty Data
A common problem found in applications that employ databases. Dirty data may include incorrect or missing data values, and duplicate records, which can lead to problems such as inaccurate queries and reports. Dirty data may be the caused by badly managed data imports, poor entry standards for end users, poor coding or customization of the CRM system. When implementing a CRM system, one critical component is to ensure that your existing data is cleansed and properly migrated to the new system.

(Decision Making Unit) DMUA group of people that is involved in the buying proces. Check out our DMU definition and insights.
Document Management
Systems and processes for managing documents including the creation, editing, production, storage, indexing and disposal of documents. This usually refers to electronic documents and uses specific document management software.

e-Commerce denotes all business activity carried out on the web including programs and systems for the management of commercial activity on the Internet. Also used for programs that facilitate and simplify the carrying out of such activities.

Is the acronym for electronic Customer Relationship Management. This is the online version of Customer Relationship Management utilising and interfacing business processes and data with offline, back end systems. eCRM consistently manages personal relevant and productive interactions, a means to build successful relationships with customers, vendors, employees, investors, and others using new technology.

Enterprise Resource Management(ERM)
The practice of providing users with efficient access to an organization’s network resources. ERM enables the enterprise to control and track the systems and resources that each user has access to and provides consistent standards for creating and changing passwords.

Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM)
An enterprise-wide strategy and solution that impacts a company’s back office. It is designed to improve the management and flow of these operations by integrating and automating back-office departments and processes.

Email Marketing
The promotion of products or services via email. When used correctly, and ethically, email marketing is one of the most effective forms of online advertising.

Field Sales
Refers to a company’s sales force that normally works outside of the main offices. These employees often lack continuous PC connection with their company’s network and therefore perform many of their tasks offline. They require access to customer data and CRM functionality, as well as the ability to easily synchronize their CRM systems with the company’s main CRM system.

Field Service Management (FSM)
Field service providers are equipped with the latest tools to access information and register calls. Because of a number of factors relating to both market intransigence and supplier challenges, field service has tended to move slower than other sectors within the customer relationship management market. But the opportunities today are growing—and are more present than ever—for suppliers to meet the needs of user organizations with new capabilities that encompass the mobile workforce, making the FSM solution a more complete offering.

Front Office Solution
Software applications are designed to assist organizations with the management of tasks and processes related to customer-facing departments. This is usually a CRM solution but may include any other applications used in the customer lifecycle.

Information Communication Technology (ICT)
Technology that combines computing with high-speed communications links carrying data, sound and video.

Knowledge Management
Knowledge management software enables customer service and help desk organisations to access and deliver answers via phone, email and the web. Essentially, it manages an organisation’s knowledge of its customer base so critical information is readily available to operatives.

Live Help – Chat Software

Real-time communication between two users via computer. Once a chat has been initiated, either user can enter text by typing on the keyboard and the entered text will appear on the other users monitor. Used for live technical support, customer service and pre-sales.

Marketing Segmentation
Marketing segmentation describes the division of a market into groups which will respond differently to promotions, communications, advertising and other marketing variables. Each group or “segment” is targeted by a different marketing mix. Market segmentation for marketing of products and services is an effective way to gain customer acquisition.

Microsegmentation is a marketing strategy that narrows and refines a market into ever-smaller segments sharing many common traits – such as people whose household income is more than $100,000 or who bought at least two high-ticket items last year. This helps create tightly focused direct marketing messages to smaller groups of would-be customers.

Marketing FunnelWith marketing funnels you try to connect with the customer journey of your prospects or customers in order to generate leads or sales.
Online Profiling
Online profiling involves collecting and analyzing customer Web site data – information that can be used to personalize and customize an end users Web experience. Network advertisers use online profiles to track end users across multiple Web sites. The practice is controversial and may ultimately be subject to federal regulation.

Open Source
Software built by programmers who think technology should be distributed without charge. Open source programs, such as the Linux operating system, post their source code for free so that anyone can use, modify and improve them.

Performance marketingPerformance marketing is a form of marketing that is focussed on measurable results. Reed more about this and the role of CRM in this article about performance marketing.
It stands for Relational Database Management Systems. The functionality of RDBMS is the same as DBMS except that the features offered for data storage and retrieval are very advanced. These systems are based on mathematical SET theory. A RDBMS ensures that the data stored in the database is accurate and relevant. Excellent security features are offered by these systems. RDBMS packages are used in medium to large-scale organizations, especially, those where data has to be made available on distributed networks. These systems have the capability to store a very large amount of data and have quick data retrieval mechanisms. They also have elaborate database administration for handling multi-users, storage, and failures.An RDBMS uses SQL (Structures Query Language) to access data from database. This is a standard language commonly used across different RDBMS.

Relationship Marketing
Relationship Marketing involves the understanding, focusing and management of ongoing collaboration between suppliers and selected customers for mutual value creation and sharing through interdependence and organizational alignment.

Return On Investment (ROI)
The calculation of how much money will be saved or earned as a result of the investment in a CRM solution. An ROI analysis should be prepared at the start of a CRM initiative. After a predetermined period of time has past from the date the CRM solution was launched, measurements are made to compare the benefits gained against the implementation costs.

Software as a Service
A product strategy that allows software users to use the software in exchange for a periodic payment. Users are not owners but obtain use rights.

Sales Force Automation (SFA)
Software to support sales reps. The software gives sales representatives access to contact details, appointments, sales opportunities, customer purchase history, order management etc. It is likely to be integrated with Customer Relationship Management systems and Opportunity Management Systems.

Sales Methodology
A sequence of steps or predefined processes put in place by management that is meant to increase the departments sales effectiveness. It promotes the tracking of customer activities and communication and the regular updating of the opportunity pipeline. This is meant to provide management with better insight into the pipeline and more accurate forecasting.

Self-service technology “turns the monitor around” and empowers your customers and employees by giving them a self-directed way to interact with your business.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)
SRM is similar to customer relationship management in that it involves the review and improvement of three different aspects of purchasing: – Purchasing processes – strategic sourcing, contract negotiation management and measurement and the “req to cheque” (order to payment) process. IT can assist in the implementation and management of these business processes, but they must be reviewed and – Operational systems – e-commerce (e-procurement, B2B marketplaces and e-negotiation tools) are a key component of SRM. They enable organizations to tie their purchasing processes more tightly into their supply base. E-commerce can enable more efficiency.

Tacit Knowledge (or Implicit Knowledge)
The knowledge or know-how that people carry in their heads. Compared with explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge is more difficult to articulate or write down and so it tends to be shared between people through discussion, stories and personal interactions. It includes skills, experiences, insight, intuition and judgement. Note: Some authors draw a distinction between tacit and implicit knowledge, defining tacit knowledge as that which cannot be written down, and implicit knowledge as that which can be written down but has not been written down yet. In this context, explicit knowledge is defined as that which has already been written down.

A hierarchical structure used for categorizing a body of information or knowledge, allowing an understanding of how that body of knowledge can be broken down into parts, and how its various parts relate to each other. Taxonomies are used to organize information in systems, therefore helping users to find it.

Text Mining
Text Mining is about looking for patterns in natural language text, and may be defined as the process of analyzing text to extract information from it for particular purposes. Text mining recognizes that a complete understanding of natural language text, a long-standing goal of computer science, is not immediately attainable and focuses on extracting a small amount of information from text with high reliability. The information extracted might be the author, title and date of publication of an article, the acronyms defined in a text or the articles mentioned in the bibliography.

Value Chain
A series of activities, which combined, define a business process; the series of activities from manufacturers to the retail stores that define the industry supply chain.

Value-Added Network (VAN)
A company that acts as a clearinghouse for electronic transactions between trading partners. A third-party supplier that receives EDI transmissions from sending trading partners and holds them in a mailbox until retrieved by the receiving partners.

Voice Over IP (VOIP)
Voice Over IP, a term that originally described the transmission of real-time voice calls over a data network that uses IP, but currently is used to describe “anything over IP,” for example, voice, fax, video, etc.

Voice Recognition
The conversion of spoken words into computer text. Speech is first digitized and then matched against a dictionary of coded waveforms. The matches are converted into text as if the words were typed on the keyboard. There are three types of voice recognition applications. Command systems recognize a few hundred words and eliminate using the mouse or keyboard for repetitive commands. This is the least taxing on the computer. Discrete voice recognition systems are used for dictation, but require a pause between each word. Continuous voice recognition understands natural speech without pauses and is the most process intensive.

Web Analytics
Web analytics refers to the measurement, analysis and reporting of Web site usage by visitors. The information helps site managers better understand the effectiveness of their site initiatives and helps them optimize their Web site. This optimization process could occur in a number of ways, including site content, media and promotional mix, merchandising, functional efficiency (such as measuring the effectiveness of internal search tools), site process designs and much more.

Web Mining
Web mining is the application of data mining or other information process techniques to WWW, to find useful patterns. People can take advantage of these patterns to access WWW more efficiently. Web mining can be divided into three categories: content mining, usage mining, and structure mining. Web content mining is an automatic process that extracts patterns from online information, such as HTML files, images, or E-mails, and it already goes beyond only keyword extraction or some simple statistics of words and phrases in documents. Web structure mining is a research field focused on using the analysis of the link structure of the web, and one of its purposes is to identify more preferable documents. The intuition is that a hyperlink from document A to document B implies that the author of document A thinks document B contains worthwhile information. Web servers record and accumulate data about user interactions whenever requests for resources are received. Analyzing the web access logs of different websites can help understand the user behavior and the web structure, thereby improving the design of this colossal collection of resources.

Web Services
Web services is Internet or other IP-based network applications built with four emerging standards: XML, simple object access protocol (SOAP), Web services description language (WSDL), and universal description discovery and integration (UDDI). That allows the applications to talk to each other—no human intervention is needed. What Web services is all about is interoperability of applications, be they written in Perl or Java or Windows or whatever.

Web-based CRM (often SaaS)
Customer Relationship Management application that provides full access to users over the world wide web, ensuring data security and integrity.

The automation of a process or series of processes through the linking of tasks and activities. The CRM software automatically routes tasks, notifications and records to predefined or user-selected destinations such as users, departments, or business units.

eXtensible Markup Language. A subset of SGML constituting a particular text markup language for interchange of structured data. The Unicode Standard is the reference character set for XML content. XML is a trademark of the World Wide Web Consortium.

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