Don’t Look Now – But Your Customer Relationship Management Application May Be Failing


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Lately, there’s been much talk about the failure of installed Customer Relationship Management applications to deliver the increase in sales volumes that companies are looking for. The reason often given is that most of the installed applications are old and don’t relate to the complexity of today’s environment. Customers are being urged to invest in the new breed of applications with the promise of better results because of the currency of these apps.

Interestingly enough, a close look at the application landscape reveals that the newer applications are just as irrelevant as the old ones because they both concentrate on increasing sales volumes without assisting companies to better understand their markets and better segment them to get at the targeted markets they need to pursue.

Companies that are still relying on selling the features and benefits of their products and services are finding it difficult to retain traction in a world where the customers are listening to the station WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?” Unless we concentrate on speaking the customer’s language and making it crystal clear that we are making his/her pain go away, the customer does not listen to the message.

No matter how new the CRM application is, if it does not help the company better understand its market and craft a proper marketing message, it is destined to fail.

Another factor is our fascination with storing the kinds of data that tell us what the next step in the sales cycle is supposed to be, Companies have been so intent at shortening the sales cycle that they have totally forgotten that they need to understand the customer.

They need to store the pieces of information that relate to the way their favorite customers think. What the points of pain are and what it will take to make them go away. Companies need to understand the business language their customers speak and the key words and phrases they use when looking for products or services.

For all of these reasons, CRM applications by and large are either failing outright, or delivering a solution which does not effectively increase the sales volumes and shorten the sales cycles. No matter how new the application or online the environment, if we try to automate the sales process and neglect to take into account the customer itself, we are destined to fail.

How does a company ensure a successful CRM application implementation?

Three basic steps:
• A complete understanding of the target customer and the way he/she thinks.
• A productive data capture environment. That includes the customer needs, pain points, business language, key words and phrases used when looking for your products or services
• The right marketing message that resonates with the target customer.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Smith
YCHANGE International
Jim Smith mentors entrepreneurial start-ups and counsels small to mid sized companies that are looking to expand or are under performing or under capitalized.


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