If you have followed any of my writing you already know that I wish we had a good alternative for CRM. The only word in “Customer Relationship Management” that is relevant is “Relationship”. The discipline is simply not always about customers and even if it were they certainly cannot be managed.
For years I have advocating for a broader use of CRM systems — the better ones are very capable of being tailored or customized to fit an extremely large number of other areas other than Sales or Marketing. Basically, if you want to track something and a specific program is not available, a CRM application might be a good place to start building your solution.
This view was definitely reinforced this morning when I ran across HerdWatch, an Irish start-up that bills itself as the “CRM for Cows” — essentially Cow Relationship Management.
Now if you are a cattle farmer there are many things that need to be tracked and many more compliance issues that need attention. It’s a lot more than feeding and going to market. Back in the mini-computer days I had the opportunity to work on several similar applications, mostly focused on genetic traits. It gave me a great appreciation for the applicability of computers to address agricultural issues.
So what other areas do CRM systems address?
- Heavy Equipment Inventory
- Vehicle Service Records
- Loan of Hand Tools
- Equipment Service and Maintenance Compliance
- Client Intake and Reporting
- Property Management
And the list goes on… you probably know someone who is using a CRM system to track something other than leads and customers.
CRM systems a very unique in that they allow themselves to be transformed in something other than their original purpose fairly easily and without the need to do a lot programming. They allow you to be able to focus on delivering a solution. It is the difference between having to build a house and doing interior design.