Friday, May 29, 2009

Commence Industrial CRM Emphasizes Understanding Customer Needs

Smart industrial organizations gather several key data points during customer research, including the following: * How clearly can your customers articulate your value proposition? * How well do your customers know your products or services? * What is their preferred method of purchasing the products and services you supply? * Who do customers consider to be the preferred supplier for your products and services. When do customers typically purchase your products and services? * Why do customers typically purchase your products and services? * How do customers use your products and services? * Who is the decision maker? Who else influences the purchase? * How do your customers evaluate suppliers? Get as specific as possible. * What pain do they feel on a daily basis? * How does the problem they are encountering impact others in the organization?

According to Larry Caretsky, President of Commence Corporation (www.commence.com/mfg./) "Understanding the customer's needs is paramount. Industrial distributors and manufacturers have myriad ways to access information about their customers. The important thing is to do it thoroughly and not cut any corners. The more comprehensive information you have, the better you will be able to develop a winning strategy."

In an effort to help industrial distributors and manufacturers thrive, Commence Corporation presents Practices That Pay: Leveraging Information to Achieve Industrial Selling Results, a compendium of smart practices from the leading industrial sales and marketing experts and organizations that are growing in today's challenging environment.

Commence offers industrial companies complete "Freedom Of Choice" to select the solutions and platform that best meets the business requirements of manufacturers and distributors. The comprehensive CRM Industrial application suite is available for use on premise or on-demand as a hosted service. Industrial leaders often build departmental CRM solutions with the award winning Commence Industrial CRM Framework. These choices are why so many industrial companies choose Commence as the solution for managing customer relationships. All Commence Industrial solutions support mobile or wireless connectivity and integration to back-office accounting and ERP systems.

Commence Corporation www.commence.com/mfg/ Larry Caretsky Marketing@commence.com 732-380-9100

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Friday, May 22, 2009

3 Reasons Why CRM Strategies Fail

Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the most effective tools for improving customer relationships and therefore increasing revenue, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. Unfortunately, some CRM strategies fail. This leaves CRM vendors and their customers baffled, but there a few common reasons why a CRM strategy will fail.

1. Too much focus on the CRM vendor and technology. Some companies get too caught up in having the best possible CRM strategy out there. Some companies want entire call-centers, On-Demand CRM, Web-based, and Blackberry devices which allow their IT people to enter customer information wirelessly. While these technologies are extremely helpful, too much emphasis on them can lead any company astray. It is naturally very important to select the best CRM vendor for your company, but best does not always mean flashiest.

2. Not enough focus on the customer. Companies can focus too much on technology and strategy, and not enough on what is at the core of CRM: the customer. The first letter in CRM stands for Customer and so the customer should be first when thinking about any CRM strategy. A call-center can be wonderful if it is customer friendly. However, some call centers are too complicated and alienate the customer from the company. Alienation is the exact opposite of what companies want to achieve when implementing CRM. The real ROI of CRM is found in customer retention and the acquisition of new customers. In order to have success with CRM, a company must work towards building a strong relationship with its customers. CRM is the path through which the customer and the company can understand each other. Focusing on technologies and ignoring the basics of customer service will cause even the most technologically advanced CRM strategy to go wrong.

3. Rushing into CRM adaptation. Sometimes, company presidents get the idea of CRM into their head and decide that their entire company must be CRM-ready as fast as possible. Rushing into CRM is a recipe for disaster. IT workers need to understand the concept of CRM. Someone who understands the importance of CRM will be better suited to deal with customers and reach the companys goals concerning CRM. Rushing into CRM does not allow ample time for all IT people to be briefed on the basics of CRM and how it will be implemented within the business. Some companies implementing CRM have to create entire departments that never existed before. The greatest care must always be taken when creating an entire new section of a company. CRM should generally be implemented across the entire company. If this is rushed, it can lead to all sorts of compatibility issues, customer confusion, and even employee confusion. Data collected must be viewed across many applications, and ample time must be given for networks to be set up. Companies using CRM technology such as Blackberry devices, or Call-centers must be even more careful when implementing CRM for the first time. Technology is not perfect, and problems can occur at any time. Any company that sends their sales force out into the market with unchecked technology is asking for disaster.

Some say that it is impossible to determine whether CRM is a success or a failure. The true ROI of CRM lies with the customer. A company that avoids the pitfalls of CRM implementation will notice a dramatic increase in customer satisfaction, retention, and acquisition. CRM can help any company significantly if it is used correctly, carefully, but still efficiently. CRM technology can also help companies if it is used thoughtfully and timely. The entire company must be prepared for CRM when it is implemented. A company cannot expect exact numbers immediately after putting CRM into effect. CRM is a long-term strategy that will help achieve long-term goals of a company. Customer focus is essential and will help any CRM strategy to become a success.

Matt Hogansworth enjoys writing about CRM topics and CRM software vendors such as Salesforce http://www.salesforce.com

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