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How can the SAP CRM system help foster customer service success?

A logical extension of the Sales and Distribution component, and part of Business Suite, SAP CRM has components to tackle sales, marketing, service and more. Here's a look.

Great customer service is critical to gain a competitive edge. With the advent and explosive growth of social media,...

the necessity for a company to not only be accessible, but to also interact with its customers, is more evident than ever.

SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) components can help to make this necessity a reality, and to enable a company's success.

The SAP CRM system is an on-premises component of SAP Business Suite. The three core components of the SAP CRM system -- Marketing, Sales and Service -- cater to most business needs. However, a company can implement and integrate four complementary SAP CRM system components, if needed, to establish and maintain an even closer business relationship with its customers.

If a company is already using the Sales and Distribution (SD) component of SAP ERP, then SAP CRM system implementation is a natural extension to cater to those business processes, such as marketing, tertiary sales or partner management, which SD cannot manage.

Here's a look at the three core components of the SAP CRM system, as well as four complementary components.

Three SAP CRM core components

SAP CRM Marketing

SAP CRM Marketing helps businesses to undertake market research, create marketing plans and marketing budgets, plan costs and volumes, monitor brand awareness and manage marketing projects. Companies can simulate marketing campaigns to forecast effectiveness. They can also manage any special pricing of products during campaigns.

In addition, marketing activities involving special, limited-time offers can be managed in SAP CRM Marketing. Analytics from this component can also quickly create business leads that the company's sales team can use to narrow down prospective clients.


The SAP CRM Sales component can help the sales team to ensure a reliable forecast of products through the timely feeding of markets' actual data, so that actual sales minimally deviate from forecasts. Further, forecast and sales planning specific to regions and territories can help ensure the right products are available in the right quantities and at the right time.

The Sales component also enables product quotes and pricing, creates sales orders or sales contracts, and manages customers' accounts and receivables details. In addition, the sales team's incentive and commission calculations, as well as their time and travel logistics, can all be managed in this component.

SAP CRM Service

If the company is either in a services-only business or provides after-sales services, such as equipment installation or repair, then the SAP CRM Service component can capture its associated business processes, such as services contracts or agreements, claims, and warranty management. All the associated financials, such as billing to customers for the services rendered and receivables can be captured.

Four SAP CRM complementary components

SAP CRM Interaction Center

The SAP CRM Interaction Center (IC) can help with telemarketing and telesales that eventually result in customers placing orders. These orders can then be tracked to ensure timely and full delivery.

The IC can also enable a company to maintain an extensive database of its products, as well as answers to frequently asked questions and other quick access resources to help the sales and marketing team effectively interact with customers.

Web Channel Enablement

Today, companies of all sizes have a web presence. This can be as basic as a company website providing details of a company's products and services, a listing of its physical stores and locations, or it can be more extensive, such as providing full-service online shopping. These capabilities are available in the SAP CRM Web Channel Enablement solution, in addition to functionality for interactive online web auctions.

This IC works well for companies that maintain their support infrastructure in house or have outsourced that to a partner.

SAP CRM mobile applications

The fact that most sales team members and field staff are trying to win business or provide services makes SAP CRM mobile applications a preferred choice to effectively do so. Various mobile applications provide quick access to a customer's information and marketing and pricing data.

Mobile apps can help identify new sales opportunities and record sales, set up client meetings, and prevent scheduling conflicts.

SAP CRM Partner Channel Management

If a company sells its products through partners, such as distributors, dealers or wholesalers, then CRM Partner Channel Management can capture the details of the customer's entire sales lifecycle, including a partner's commissions, a partner's role and its contribution to the company's marketing efforts.

Additional features in this component include a partner selection process; partner training and certification; new partners planning; and partner sales forecasting, which cascades down to production and procurement.

Companies that are planning to migrate to or implement S/4HANA will find that the SAP CRM system will eventually be native to S/4HANA, thereby saving them time, effort and money.

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