IntroductionCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) Software has been available for over 25 years. Early versions were referred to as Contact Management software. Newer versions can also be referred to as Sales Force Automation software. CRM software is designed to satisfy the "front office" requirements of companies (i. e. for the sales and marketing functions) versus the "back office" requirements of companies (i. e. for customer service, operations and accounting functions).
Currently there are hundreds of products that are available for purchase. These products can be broken down into categories based on the breath and depth of the application functionality that they offer: Basic, Intermediate, and Full Function. These products also offer varying levels of integration with the Microsoft's Office suite, and they offer varying levels of ability to import and export data.
CRM products can be broken down by their type of software license and usage:
Single User Products are sold on a one time software license. Server Based Products are either sold by a "named user" one time software license or a "concurrent user" one time software license. Web Based Products products are sold based on a monthly subscription fee for each named user.
Single User Products do not offer any options for technical support, and the product must be repurchased in order to receive new versions. Server Based Products offer annual technical support and software upgrade plans. Technical support and software upgrades are included in the monthly fees of the Web Based Products.
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