Customer Relationship Management (CRM) helps companies identify and target their best customers, so they can improve these relationships – whether through marketing campaigns, rewards or special offers. CRM is used in firms of all sizes, in the private and public sectors, as well as in government agencies. CRM is excellent for business because it can increase sales and loyalty and improve brand awareness.
What type of individual is a good fit for a CRM career? Perhaps you are if you have an interest in business management, statistics, analytics, and database management or information technology. But before you start your job search, it’s important to equip yourself with up-to-date knowledge about the qualities, skills and education that prospective CRM employers are looking for, as well as the certifications and additional training you’ll need to enter and advance in the CRM field.
Customer Relationship Management refers to a holistic approach to managing a company’s interactions with customers. CRM utilizes tools, processes and methodologies designed to enhance sales, marketing, customer service and technical support. CRM typically involves tracking consumer interactions, sales and impressions, and collecting and analyzing this data. When a company knows its customers well, it can maximize those relationships, lower expenses and increase customer loyalty.
Organizations have learned that the customer experience is vital to maintaining growth and profitability. Over time, enhanced customer experiences form long-lasting and loyal relationships, which strengthen a company’s competitive position and improve the bottom line. With CRM, every customer interaction is tracked and analyzed, for real-time opportunities to respond, react or refocus.
Customer Relationship Management jobs are often found in the financial industry, manufacturing companies, wholesale and retail firms, government agencies and accounting firms. Typical positions and job descriptions in the CRM field may include:
Many pathways can lead to this exciting, ever-changing field; CRM professionals may come from a variety of educational backgrounds.
Associate’s Degree: With a strong work history, you may be able to land entry-level or junior-level CRM positions with an associate’s, or two-year degree. Many employers look for education and experience in accounting, business administration, computer information sytems or finance. Advancing in the CRM field will likely require a bachelor’s degree. Earning a CRM certification can enhance your qualifications for certain positions.
Bachelor’s Degree: Most CRM positions require at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. Some employers also require work experience, depending on the level of responsibility. Because CRM jobs fall under a wide variety of categories, educational needs vary. Some jobs might require a degree in finance, business administration or accounting, while individuals vying for tech-related positions may need a degree in computer science, information systems or database management, as well as related professional certifications. Advancing in the field may require work experience, an advanced degree or additional certifications.
Master’s Degree: With a master’s degree in computer science or information technology, or a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), you may qualify for advanced CRM positions, such as senior CRM analyst and senior marketing analyst. These advanced degrees typically take an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level.
Along with the right academic credentials, employers hiring for CRM positions will be looking for additional skills, personal attributes and knowledge.
What do employers seek when hiring CRM personnel? Often, they require experience in the company’s chosen CRM software system. Others may seek individuals with knowledge of customer loyalty programs, market research or analytics. Some will require CRM certification as well.
Tech-related positions may require knowledge of enterprise software, and experience configuring a variety of software programs and programming languages. In addition, many CRM software providers offer certification for their products; individuals with administration, consultant or developer certifications may hold an advantage when seeking employment or advancement in the field.
In addition to education, experience and certifications, prospective CRM employers will often show preference to individuals with the following attributes:
Entering the CRM field often begins with earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. After gaining experience, earning job-appropriate certifications, or obtaining a master’s degree, you may qualify for advanced CRM positions. Some employers offer tuition assistance programs that could aid you in earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Landing a customer relationship management job can lead to an exciting career, on the leading edge of technology and business. If you have the ability to work in a fast-paced work environment, a desire to keep up with the latest trends in business and technology, and are self-motivated, you may be a good candidate for a CRM career.