CRM Panel Brings New Insights to Marketers


By Zach Stahr,

The field of Customer Relationship Management is rapidly emerging as one of the most important, exciting and innovative segments of the business world. The University of Missouri-St. Louis Marketing Department recognized the importance to stay ahead of the curve. This led them to bring Sarah Dalton, director of marketing for Nolan & Associates, on board as the instructor for a new class in CRM. 

Sarah Dalton, Nolan & Associates

As part of the class, she put together a panel consisting of six experts in the field, and then invited the entire UMSL College of Business along for the event on September 17 to learn important tips about using CRM and how people can get started in CRM.  The panel included Kelly Stephens from Slalom Consulting, Erin Gilbert from Ferguson Roofing, Mark Sanders from LockerDome, Theresa Weaver from Concordia Publishing House, Brianna Smith from TeraRecon, and Robert Landis from Less Annoying CRM.  The turnout for the event was substantial, and people from all over the UMSL Business program were in attendance, filling up Anheuser-Busch Hall’s Executive room with minds eager to learn about this thrilling field.

What is CRM?

If you’re like me, you have heard the term CRM but never really figured out what it was or how it’s used. By way of this class and event, I ascertained that CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and its primary use is to create a strategy on how to shape customer interactions and create more value for each customer and for the company. This is done through tools that help segment consumers, send marketing information, manage appointments, sort job applications, and more. While many companies operate without a CRM platform, they can make a huge dent in company efficiency, even Ferguson Roofing was able to throw out all their old binders of appointments and simply set new ones up through their CRM, Salesforce.

The Panel

The panelists brought their unique perspectives from their many victories and struggles within the field of CRM. Many of them were self-taught and they learned on the job because a program like the one that UMSL Marketing put together did not exist before recently. The panel discussed CRM programs such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and the St. Louis-based Less Annoying CRM. They explained that each platform has a purpose that’s slightly different than the next and how they use them for their businesses.  Students in attendance were able to gain insights on how to train in CRM software and how to find a job in the field, as well as some of the pitfalls they might run into when starting those jobs. Overall, it was a fascinating opportunity to gain wisdom from these experts in this field.

CRM is a complicated field, yet this panel had everybody walking out with considerable insights into the CRM world and how it is truly a great tool for businesses.