Common CRM Terms – A Beginner’s Guide

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If you are new to CRM software, you will be hearing a lot of terms that will go over your head initially. If you have just started out using this new technology, then you need to get acquainted with a few key terms that will deepen your knowledge and understanding of this software. But you do not need to worry as you have landed at the right place at the right time.

Some terms used in a CRM are not exactly what they mean in general business terminologies or in our day to day life activities.

Here, I have made a glossary of some of the most common CRM terms. Once you have gone through this post, you will experience no difficulty in comprehending and speaking the language of CRM.

Let’s get the ball rolling:

Account: Business to which the salesperson tries to sell a product or service.

Activity: An action that needs to be performed e.g. email, phone calls, appointments etc.

Application Programming Interface (API): A source code interface that a computer system or program library provides to support requests for services made via a computer program.

Bug: A minor defect in a product.

Campaigns: A set of marketing activities aimed at reaching potential clients and increasing sales to existing customers.

Cloud CRM: All the data of an organization resides in the CRM vendor’s servers in a datacentre and is accessed via the internet from anywhere. Therefore it is said to reside in a cloud.

(People still have doubts about cloud CRM. Learn about the common myths associated with the technology in the post: Cloud CRM- Myth VS Reality)

Contact: Contacts are individual people in the organization to whom you are trying to sell your product.

Connector: Software that connects two platforms.

Customization: Adding features or functionalities which are not available in an application or software by default.

Custom Field: Creating your own fields to record information that is unique to your business.

Custom Report: Building your own reports from scratch to meet the exact needs of your organization. Default reports in a CRM might not satisfy all your reporting needs therefore custom reports are built by customizing a CRM.

Database: Systematically organized repository of information that allows easy retrieval, updating and analysis of data.

Dashboard: Data visualization tool that displays the current status of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for an enterprise.

Dashlet: An individual component that can be added to or removed from a dashboard.  

Deployment: The way CRM is installed in your organization. It could be On Demand or On-Premise.

Entity: Entities are used to model and manage data in a CRM. Accounts,Contacts, Leads, Opportunities are all examples of entities.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Business process management software that allows an enterprise to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions.

Invoice: A commercial document issued by a seller to the buyer, indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services.

Knowledge Base: A centralized repository for information  used to optimize information collection, organization, and retrieval for an organization.

Lead: An early contact in the sales process who has not yet been evaluated or qualified to be an opportunity.

Lead Scoring: Assigning a numeric value to a lead to measure its likelihood of qualifying into a deal.

List View: A list of  individual records displayed on a module’s home page.

On-Premise CRM: Installing software on your own servers in your organization and having your own IT staff to manage it.

Open Source CRM: The source code of a CRM is available for modifications. An organization can make changes in the CRM to align it with its business model.

Opportunity: Potential prospects or clients who are interested in your product.

Purchase Order: A document issued by a buyer to a seller that indicates types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services.

Quote: A formal offer for products or services proposed at specific prices and related payment terms that is sent to a prospective customer.

Roles: A defined set of user rights or permissions which determines the tasks a particular user can perform.

Sales Force Automation: A software used exclusively by sales teams to automate business tasks such as scheduling appointments,managing opportunities, sales processing etc. as well as analyzing sales forecasts and performance.

(The difference between CRM & Sales Force automation? Explore the features of both here)

Sales Order: A document used by businesses to track and complete a customer order.

Scalability: The ability to increase database size or the number of users without losing performance.

Sharing Access: Determines what level of data sharing is enabled between users.

Social CRM: A CRM software that uses social media and social media techniques to engage a business’s customer base.

(To learn more about social CRM, read our post Social CRM- An investment worth making)

Task: A generic activity that represents work that needs to be done.

Targets: A target, sometimes called a suspect or prospect in other CRM systems, represents an individual about whom you know little.

Tickets: A record of information related to a customer issue or service request.

Trigger: An action that initiates subsequent actions e.g filling out the contact us form of a company can trigger a series of marketing emails.

Web to Lead: A functionality in CRM  that garners customer profile information on company’s website and then generates a lead using that data.

Workflows: Automatic processes set in your CRM system. They are created to eliminate the need to perform a lot of manual tasks or to oversee a set of predefined actions.

Implementing a CRM for the first time isn’t as easy as it sounds. You need to follow a meticulously worked out CRM Implementation Strategy.

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