CRM Glossary

Below is a list of the most popular CRM terms used in the industry, if you have new glossary terms feel free to use the Contact Us page to suggest more.

ASP stands for application service providers. An ASP is a company that offers access to applications or software-related services via the Internet. These services are usually provided for a monthly fee depending on a number of users accessing the services. The ASP services have gained lately more and more popularity, and are expected to grow even more as companies tend to use more outsourcing services or have the intent of moving applications off their employees computers to put them on special application servers where they can be accessed as thin client workstations (i.e. Citrix solutions, Terminal Server from Microsoft, etc.). A completely different use of ASP is that of Active Server Pages, a server-side programming language developed by Microsoft.

BI is an acronym for Business Intelligence. BI is a sum of actions that imply gathering, implementation, analysis and presentation of performance metrics for an organization. An example would be the gathering of customer buying habits, analyzing that information and applying the results to improve sales.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.

CRM Accelerators are add-on solutions developed for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. A CRM accelerator allows broadening marketing, sales and service capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (basically extending its capabilities). CRM accelerators provide additional functionality also for deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, not only for using it.

Direct marketing is a method used by marketers to send a promotional message directly to the possible client with the purpose of creating a call-to-action measurable response (for instance a direct purchase, subscription to a newsletter, visit to a website, request for information, etc.). Direct marketing campaigns may involve: mailings, sending e-mails, magazines advertisements, television ads, banner promotions, pay-per-click search engine campaigns, newspaper ads, radio ads, ...

ERP is an acronym for enterprise resource planning. An ERP system uses software and hardware resources to be able to integrate all data and processes in an organization into a single unified system. A system can be called ERP if it incorporates at least two different modules that would otherwise be used separately, for instance: Manufacturing modules, Supply Chain systems, Accounting/Payroll software, Customer Relationship Management programs, etc.

Hosted CRM, a customer relationship management model in which a company pays a recurring fee to access the CRM services provided by the web application provider. This model is mostly used by small to medium sized companies, that want to outsource the cost of having an in-house CRM process. Popular hosted CRM providers: SalesForce.com, Siebel CRM On Demand, ZOHO, SugarCRM.

IVR stands for interactive voice response, a phone technology that allows interaction with callers and the gathering of information to route the call to the appropriate representative. An IVR system can respond to calls with a pre-recorded audio and can detect voice and recognize touch tones (being able this way to play the pre-recorded message specific to a certain category). It's impossible not to have interacted with an IVR before, either when you called your bank, your mobile phone provider, televoting or a different sector where high call volumes are experienced.

Marketing automation is an integral component of customer relationship management that involves the use of software applications in order to automate marketing processes that are usually manually performed (such as customer segmentation and campaign management).

NPD is an acronym for new product development. NPD refers to the methodology developed for getting a new product to the market. This includes organizing processes like: brainstorming for new product ideas, analyzing the possible impact of the new product based on the initial ideas (before any development process starts), developing the new product and marketing it. There are some associations for product development professionals, such as the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) and the Product Development Institute (PDI).

Outsourcing represents a partnership through which one company offers its services to another company, services that normally would have been handled inside the beneficiary company. Common outsourcing examples are those of 3rd party companies (located usually in countries where the cost of providing such services is reduced - India, Pakistan, Romania) that offer customer support for developers in countries where these services have elevated costs (US, UK, ...).

PRM stands for Partner Resource Management, a business strategy (part of a CRM solution) that has as a goal improving the collaboration between a company and its channel partners to result in better sales effectiveness. There is discussion whether it is necessary to have PRM as a separate entity rather than a component of CRM.

ROI stands for Return on Investment. ROI (in relation to using CRM systems) represents a ratio between the amount of money saved or obtained as a result of implementing a CRM solution in a company, and the actual costs of the CRM implementation.

SaaS is an acronym for Software as a Service. Software as a Service is actually an application model where a developer offers a web-based application that is hosted and maintained by the developer itself, customer accessing it via the Internet and generally ofr a monthly subscription fee (though open source SaaS applications are available, hosting still needs to be paid).

SAP stands for Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing.

XRM is a term mentioned by Steve Ballmer at the 2008 Convergence event to emphasize the complexity of future CRM solutions as not only a customer relationship management solutions, but a solution to allow the management of relationships with all kind of factors involved in the business process. So XRM could stand for "all kind of business relationships management". In his words, "It's about helping people manage all kinds of connections and relationships of all forms: government to citizen, politician to constituent".