CRM Disruption You Can Count On


Share on LinkedIn

How much of your CRM application are you actually hiring? Yes, I understand you are paying for all of it. The question is whether you are leveraging all of it? CRM is not the same for each type of business, or even for different businesses of the same type. They each have different roles to play in their particular market space which are designed around their understanding of their current product, their current customers, their current resources, their current capabilities and what their current competitors are doing. Yet, they have historically flocked to technonlogy that was beyond their capabalities and needs. And while these seem to be products that overshoot the market today, companies are still spending even more extending them! Well, they are spending something during these hard times, but usually spending it in the wrong place.

This reality, amongst other things, is what drives most businesses to mediocrity over time – from above and below (h/t @GrahamHill). It also explains why they have been so susceptible to the notion that CRM technology is the core component used in attracting and keeping customers. The vendors have taken advantage of this over the years and continued to tack on features that lift their marketing literature to the top, while weighing down the organizations they claim to be helping.

The first wave of CRM disruption began, in my mind, the day one of my employees informed me about a new hosted sales automation tool called It was cheap to sign-up, and you didn’t have any upfront capital outlays. I poo poo’d it as did my vendors at the time. After all, I had a vertical client base and SFDC was a one size fits all player, and on a platform few trusted at the time. It made no sense for me to add it to the mix. We all know how that turned out, don’t we? By the way, we were charging hourly rates back then that resellers only dream about today.

Here Comes The New Disruption

It’s fairly clear, from a technology standpoint, that a new round of low end entrants are the real threat over the long haul. While the granddaddies are quickly painting a web application face on an old, bloated and expensive user experience, it’s clear that not only are they reacting too late, they are missing the true current disruption. They view the answer through the prism of their current product, and their glorious past. This will be a fatal mistake, and the sort of mistake that happens over and over again across all industries. In this case the technological innovations will accelerate the process because deployment is becoming as simple as self-serve.

So, is the disruption coming from products like Highrise and Nimble? To a degree, yes. They target non-consumers at the low end of the market that SFDC abandoned years ago. Their products will evolve through co-creation with business partners since they provide the same API to developers that they build their products with. This could quickly take them up-market as features and capabilities are created by a community that needs to get jobs done. As non-consumers, who looking to become customers, are able to enhance their experience by adding only what they need, this notion will quickly catch on to customers of expensive, bloated platforms of days gone by as well. Why? Probably, and sadly, because it will cost them less to do what they are doing today.

So, Back to Mediocrity

While there will be a clear short term benefit in doing so, that benefit will make itself available to all players. So where is the true innovation? As always the handful of businesses and consultants on the leading edge of customer-centric innovation will identify their customers true needs; and it won’t be just about product sales. These will be the companies that understand that value is not something that is simply transacted when money changes hands; but is created with the customer (co-created) repeatedly at each touchpoint over the life of the relationship.

These companies will strive to understand the capabilities they require to ensure that value is created continually, and not destroyed through purposeless internal or external activities. They will know exactly which activities these are, as well. Only when they’ve defined and built these capabilities will the risk be low enough that an investment in technology makes sense. These few companies will hire technology to help them execute this new plan, and only the technology they need. This demand has rarely been made because the technology did not exist (it’s all bloated), they could not articulate the need (they didn’t develop the capabilities required), and most companies will continue to lack this insight. But those that do will find it much easier to hire, or build, only what they need to get the job done.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here