CRM Software Vendors Leaving Cash on the Table


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While I was writing the blog I just posted (“Bridging the Great Wall…”), I experienced a blinding flash of the obvious. Otherwise known as shaking my head hard enough to cross two loose wires.

What are CRM software sellers missing?

With competition up, the overall economy down and the CRM software market maturing, you’d think software sellers would grab every penny of business they can–instead of leaving wads of money on the table. But no, the software folks continue to fall victim to the pre-CRM sales thinking that new business comes from new customers. Pretty ironic, considering the business they’re in, no?

Well, it’s time to go back and revisit current customers–not to mention to stop leaving piles of money untouched on new sales.

Stuck in a front office paradigm

When we work with CRM software sellers, they’re often astounded by how many licenses our clients buy. Way above average for their size. But they’re caught by surprise because they often can’t see past sales, marketing and customer service–or see only a bit past front office functions. This stems from seeing front office and back office as discrete areas of the company and on different sides of an imaginary wall–instead of players that have to work together seamlessly to deliver maximum value to customers and company alike.

To cut to the quick, and not repeat what I said in my previous post, a whole slew of back office people should be on CRM systems, which means more licenses per sale. Moola moola.

But, as always, there’s a hitch

There has to be a hitch, of course. In order to sell these licenses, someone has to design and map cross-functional office workflow–especially workflow that has to pass through “the wall.” Effective office workflow design creates the rationale for lots of back office licenses. But effective workflow design that incorporates information flow remains the exception, rather than the rule.

If I were a CRM software vendor I’d realize that cursory, once over lightly front office process reviews are seriously constraining sales. And I’d do something about it.


  1. Dick

    The lack of front office-back office integration you identify, also applies to front of the experience-back of the experience integration.

    For many CRM vendors, CRM is all about marketing, sales and if you are lucky, customer service (but primarily as a sales opportunity). Their solutions offer weak support for the post-sale product-in-use touchpoints, whether between product and customer, customer and company or customer and customer. This is where all the value in buying a product is for the customer. But it is often seen as a cost to be reduced or simply removed by companies.

    Paul Greenberg’s CRM 2.0 may well provide a solution to this problem.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-driven Innovator
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