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


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In Part 1 we discussed some of the reasons why CRM applications are failing. In Part 2 we address some of the fixes that you can make to prevent failing CRM applications.

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.

How to pick a good CRM application software suite?

Firstly, you need to think of CRM as a marketing process and not as a way to manage sales cycles. Most of the applications in use today do not fit today’s marketing needs because they were built for sales cycle management.

Also, applications which automate the sales cycle process have totally different characteristics from their sibling tools used for designing and constructing marketing strategy and marketing messages. These tools must be able to satisfy both the company and the customer needs.

On the customer side, they must be able to collect requirements and analyze needs so that the customer gets a message in a language which the customer understands. They must also support the need for changes to the sales process to accommodate the changing needs of the target customer. This is true whether we purchase software as a service solutions or desktop in house based solutions.

Things to watch out for…

Beware of sales force automation applications. These simply manage sales resources and collect only that customer information that shortens the sales cycle. They were developed to detail project due dates and schedule overlaps. They can be used to schedule any type of sales process from prospecting to closing the sale,

Similarly, calendaring and contact management applications give you a collection of practices and procedures to get from point A to point B. Once things start changing, they no longer work.

Beware of marketing consultants who research your customer base, organize the information and document the results into a neat report from which you are supposed to manage your customer relationships. Building a marketing strategy is an ongoing process and needs continuing collection and analysis of customer data and information.

Things needed in an application

Building a marketing strategy is an ongoing process and requires continuing collection and analysis of bits and pieces of random customer data and information.

The proper application should have been developed specifically for crafting a marketing message. It must support the collection of demographic and geographic customer and prospect data along product lines. It must also allow for the capture of the psychographic data that will tell us how the customer thinks, what are the reasons for wanting or needing a particular product and the language the customer uses to describe or relate to the specific offering. In today’s Internet world these data elements are necessary for optimizing website content for the search engines.

Another key characteristic is an analytical engine.
These engines can be used to parse all of the random bits of unstructured customer data that will proliferate the moment we start listening to the customer. This is even more important when the application has to co-exist with already installed sales and customer applications.

In summary, the right CRM application will become the fulcrum for marketing strategy and will provide a common format for communication, decision making and documentation of all customer relations.

Without proper Customer Relationship Management beware!

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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