Companies that have integrated customer relationship management applications define the tool as a mix of strategy and technology."Certainly, those that have a well-thought-through CRM strategy and executive buy-in have the best chance of successfully implementing their strategies," said John McDonnell, vice president and general manager at information and workflow solutions provider LexisNexis. "Relationship intelligence, and all of the contacts and relationships that company professionals have in the marketplace, gives you the ability to really leverage that information to put together much more focused and targeted business development and marketing initiatives."

CRM applications, which comprise both front- and back-office functions, generally encompass a company's marketing, sales, distribution and support units, and allow each to reference and share customer data.

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