Questions To Think About As You Move Toward CRM: Part 3

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Whose Responsibility Is CRM?

If this question were asked in a senior management meeting, depending on their individual base knowledge of the acronym CRM, there may be a very wide array of answers to this question. Company politics may play a role here too. Depending on the culture of an organization additional responsibility could be perceived as a great thing, or it could be perceived as a burden. So allow me to reword this question. Who wants to be responsible for customer relationship management?

I may have added a few words here, but the question hasn’t really changed at all. Who is responsible for the customer? Who is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction? Who in the company is called upon when the customer needs some TLC or better yet, who identifies that a customer needs TLC before they ask for it? Typically, any good sales manager will stand up here and say, “I am of course! I’m that person.”

If the culture of your organization is to fight for ownership of key projects, hands down, the sales department wins this one. It is their process and their customer facing activity, and ultimately their ability to provide increased customer satisfaction and increased sales that will define it. If you represent a different department, such as IT, this is a fight you could not and should not win.

If it is the culture of the organization to “leave sales alone so they can do their jobs” and put the burden of new projects on shoulders that “are at their desks all day, and are readily accessible” then you have created the road map for a CRM implementation failure. If you are the “readily accessible”, accepting this project you may want to make it a priority to make this article go viral through your organization before doing so. You simply do not possess the job responsibilities to make or break this project.

Customer relationship management, the term, is about ownership. I have worked with many businesses over my 20 year professional career and I have never worked with a business where the ownership of customer relationship management wasn’t driven by the sales department. In the strongest companies, those sales people are passionate about that management and wouldn’t delegate that responsibility to anyone else in the company to save their life. I’m not suggesting they don’t have support to help them function more effectively, but the responsibility is solidly in their corner and they are proud of that fact.

CRM, the software, is also about ownership. The information will only be as good as those that enter it. Again, that comes back to the sales team and their supporting departments. If the question, “Whose Responsibility is CRM?” comes up in your next management meeting and you see the answer bouncing around the room like a beach ball ask the question again the other way, “Who wants to be responsible for customer relationship management?”

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