The Challenge with CRM Initiatives
June 29, 2009 9 Comments
John Moore, on his recent blog post, Why aren’t you using your CRM system more? has facilitated a meaningful conversation which has triggered some very productive dialogue related to CRM, what it is, and why companies haven’t had more success.
This thread confirms what I have suspected for quite a while; While the evolution of Social Media and CRM continues to push forward in present day, many are still confused about what CRM is. There is an ever widening gap between those caught in an early 90’s mindset (as Esteban Kolsky references in an earlier comment) regarding CRM and those looking forward to leverage the latest technologies for their customer facing initiatives (ie Social Media, Mobile, Mashups, Cloud Computing, etc).
If you polled 100 executives, and asked them to define CRM, you’d likely get more than 50 different answers.
I’d define CRM as something like this:
CRM is a business strategy for increasing profitability through the alignment of people, processes, and technology towards enhancing the company’s value proposition and overall customer experience.
That said, if you can’t clearly define something, how can you possibly measure success?
The challenge with a CRM initiative is that there are so many expectations at so many levels, both internal and external. Success is certainly attainable, but requires the complex organizational alignment across management levels and functional disciplines.
An organization rolling out a successful CRM initiative will have:
1. An understanding of who their customer is, what their customer needs, and how they can present a compelling value proposition and unmatched customer experience
2. A clear understanding of the organizational and procedural changes required to deliver the compelling value proposition and customer experience
3. A clear understanding of the expectations/needs from:
c. Front Line Workers (across the disciplines of all customer facing departments – Sales, Marketing, Service, Support)
4. An ability to deliver a “system” (process plus technology) that maximizes value to ALL OF THE STAKEHOLDERS presented above.
Doing something like this requires tremendous alignment between executive vision, leadership talent, a “customer centric” culture, systems design, user empowerment, and the proper technology tools to support it.
For every company that is able to execute this, there are boatloads of those who can’t, and most don’t have any idea why.
I’d enjoy hearing your input below.