CRM Across the Generations


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It is not uncommon for us, in the CRM industry, to hear from prospects and customers that certain individuals in the company like doing things their way and they are not going to change. In a business that utilizes CRM, that could be a real problem. It’s a culture problem.

Culture can mean many things. It is probably a word that is overused yet not entirely understood. Culture, by definition is “shared beliefs and values of a group”. In business, culture is often used interchangeably with “company mindset”.

If you have been researching CRM you probably already know that in order for a CRM software implementation to be successful it has to be a top down directive and that usage must be mandated. In other words, the culture of the organization must be so that the leaders understand the value a CRM solution will provide and they must be able to articulate it in a way that the users will embrace it. For the users to embrace it they must essentially understand how they as individuals, and the company as a whole, will be greater for the knowledge available as a result of using CRM software. Oh, is that all?

So, for the users to embrace it, they must understand the value of it. Yet, what one person values can be very different from what another person values. We are talking about individuals. “Users” are not really a single group, but a group of individuals. This same group of individuals is also a multigenerational work force that value things very differently. What I often like to point out is that CRM has something for everyone.

Baby boomers (born between 1946 – 1964), who tend to be traditionalists, believe that face to face communication is the best way to manage a customer relationship. CRM provides them the ability to capture that experience, and the related outcome in a way that everyone in the organization can relate and if necessary, react to.

Generation X (born between 1964-1980), who tend to be individualists, often want to do for themselves and keep to themselves to get the job done faster. This is a generation that has a tendency to take on too much. There is no greater tool than CRM to maximize your efforts with less time. CRM can perform like the secretary of days gone by!

Generation Y or Nexters (born between 1981-2000), who are tech-savvy and achievement oriented, seek out tools that grow with the times and provide instant gratification. CRM can be developed to be many things and this group will see opportunities for utilization others may not have even considered.

CRM does truly provide something for everyone! The solution to the culture problem of user resistance is to relate to the individual who is providing that resistance. Is it a generational resistance? What does CRM provide the individual will value? If all else fails, start with the basics. What is the shared value the organization will experience? That’s a positioning statement every generation will understand.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Luke Russell
Luke Russell has been CRM consultant since 1998. He has personally consulted with hundreds of organizations, and has a strong success record for CRM implementation and results. During this time, he has worked with customers to achieve such lofty goals as higher quote win ratios, larger average order size, more effective follow-up, reduced cost of administration, increased customer retention, and expanded cross-sales into existing customers; to name a few. Luke is the founder of Resolv, Inc.


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