Friday, December 14, 2007

The Reality About Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

While Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology has promised much, the reality for many has been disappointing. Industry analysts estimate 50-60% of implementations fail, or produce marginal return on investment. Our exposure to small and medium enterprises (SME) suggests that this rate may well be significantly higher. The irony is that the problem lies less with the technology itself (though that may receive much of the blame), but in much more easily addressed flaws in the way that organizations approach and implement CRM projects.

CRM technology should help organizations generate more leads, convert a higher

proportion of them, and retain customers longer through enhanced service, and more profitably through the more effective promotion of additional products and services.

CRM technology is a unifying technology supporting the operational needs of ‘front-office’ departments such as sales, marketing, and customer support, sharing a single database of information about customers, prospective customers, channel partners, suppliers, competitors etc. The CRM database works as a central repository of data typically integrated into other key systems such as finance. The system is designed to be accessed remotely to meet the needs of organizations spread across multiple locations, and staff who may not be office based. Typically this unifying CRM technology aims to benefit marketing, sales and service departments.

Successful CRM isn’t that difficult, but there’s more complexity involved, and more commitment required than many organizations had envisaged. With greater levels of planning, executive support, and awareness of the challenges surrounding user adoption, organizations can effectively drive CRM technology to deliver the promised vision. With so many struggling to get it right, the rewards for those that do will remain very high.

In summary, CRM technology should help organizations generate more leads, convert a higher proportion of them, and retain customers longer through enhanced service, and more profitably through the more effective promotion of additional products and services. Our “Vision and Reality” white paper sets out our views on why this has happened, and outlines strategies for minimizing the risks and maximizing the returns from CRM.

Read more about why the current approach to CRM - Customer Relationship Management is marginalizing returns on investment and why you should work with an independent CRM consultant at http://www.mareeba.co.uk/

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