The CRM Olympics: My CRM Gold Medalists


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The Beijing Olympics are now over and by all accounts they were a great success. It is always a pleasure to see fantastic sportsmen like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt win gold, and break Olympic and world records in the process. They are an inspiration to us all to strive to get a little better every day.

But what if there was a CRM Olympics? Who would win the CRM gold medals. Who would be the CRM Olympians?

Here are my CRM Olympics gold medalists.

  • CRM Strategy Gold: Paul Greenberg, PBT Partners
    Paul hardly needs an introduction. He has been the definitive thought leader in CRM for as long as I can remember. His understanding of the direction in which CRM is going is second to non, in particular, his understanding of how technology enables very different CRM futures. And as if that wasn’t enough, his CRM book and blog are also gold medalists too.
  • Marketing Management Gold: Tom Asacker,
    This was a hard one. There isn’t a single marketer who stands head and shoulders above the crowd. But if you widen the definition of marketing to include branding, then Tom Asacker of is the clear gold medalist. Nobody understand customers, brands and marketing better than Tom.
  • Sales Management Gold: Jill Konrath, Selling to Big Companies
    Sales being sales is full of salesmen promoting, well selling. What else would you expect? But look beneath the slick sales pitches and you will find only a handful who really understand selling, particularly in the most difficult of corporate markest. Jill Konrath of is the gold medalist in a tight race.
  • Customer Service Management Gold: Peter Massey, Budd
    Customer service waxes and wanes with the state of the economy. But some customer service thinkers consistently provide hands-on insights of the highest quality. My gold medalist is Peter Massey of Budd. Peter’s small consultancy in London has been a driving force in customer service in the UK for over 20 years.
  • Social Media Gold: Jeremiah Owyang, Forrester Research
    Social media is a hot topic these days. Almost everyone has an opinion about how to turn social networks into gold. But few have the experience to match their suggestions. One of the few exceptions is Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research. He has not only done the job, but he is also an avid user of social media in his everyday life too. Like all of the other gold medalists, his blog is a must read.
  • Customer Experience Gold: Sampson Lee, G-CEM
    Customer experience is fast becoming daily business. And the number of books about it is increasing rapidly too. But most of them don’t contain many useful tools, let alone a well thought through and widely tested methodology. Perhaps the only exception and the clear gold medalist is Sampson Lee of G-CEM. Sampson is not only a great ambassador for CEM, he is also a great ambassador for CRM in China in general.
  • Customer Process Management Gold: Jane Kingman-Brandage
    Fifteen years ago when I was learning about business process reengineering, I came across a paper on service blueprinting by Jane Kingman-Brundage. It was a revelation. It showed how to construct a single blueprint containing all the different customer-facing, back-office and support processes and how they linked together into a coherent whole. It is still easily the best tool to use to design servicescapes and today, to design experiencescapes too. Jane Kingman-Brundage, perhaps the longest standing competitor in the field, is the customer process management gold medalist.
  • Customer-Centricity Gold: Frank Pillar, U. Aachen
    Customer-centricity has finally come of age as CRMers look for a way to develop a sustainable competitive advantage by working closely with their customers. The suprising gold medalist in this category is Frank Pillar of Aachen University in Germany. Frank not only wrote the definitive book on the subject, he also teaches an executive course on it in Spain and consults widely on customer-centricity too. He is one of the few people to really understand the nuts and bolts of customer-centricity.
  • CRM Technology Gold: Paul Greenberg, PBT Partners
    You knew Paul was going to feature here too. As I wrote earlier, Paul is simply unique. He is the must read CRM thinker.
  • Customer Value Management Gold: V Kumar, U. Connecticut
    Customer value management has been discussed for many years. But its mathematical complexity has prevented it from being implemented as widely as it should have been. V Kumar has done as much as anyone to provide simple, clear explanations of how to value customers and what to do with the insights provided. He is also one of the only ones to have integrated the value of customer referrals into his elegant customer value models, thus providing a much needed way to help value social networks. A huge step forward for customer value management and for social media. Because of this, V. Kumar of Connecticut University is easily the customer value management gold medallist.

I know this isn’t a complete list and I know there are lots of other great CRMers out there too, but these are my CRM Olympians. They have the knowledge, skills and experience to really understand CRM and the vision to take it forward. They are the best of the best in CRM today.

What do you think? Who are your CRM Olympians and why? And feel free to suggest another CRM Olympics sport if you think I have forgotten one too.

Post a response or send me an email to graham(dot)hill(at)web(dot)de and get the conversation going.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager

Further Reading:

Paul Greenberg, BPT Partners

Tom Asacker,

Jill Konrath, Selling to Big Companies

Peter Massey, Budd

Jeremiah Owyang, Forrester Research

Sampson Lee, G-CEM

Frank Pillar, U. Aachen

V Kumar, U. Connecticut

Graham Hill (Dr G)
Business Troubleshooter | Questioning | Thoughtful | Industrious | Opinions my own | Connect with me on LinkedIn


  1. Graham,
    This is a terrific list. I know some of your Olympians well. I look forward to visiting the websites and blogs of the rest.

    I’d like to nominate Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., as Gold medalists in the category of customer trust. Over the course of their careers they have advocated treating customers as individuals and in such a way that they want to stick around, spend more, and advocate for your brand. They have illustrated the connection between customer centricity and business impact. And they are always looking forward to help companies harness new tools, like social media, to build those profitable, long-term customer relationships.

  2. Thank you for granting me the “Customer Experience Gold Medal” five years ago in 2008. It’s been an encouragement and motivation to me. Thanks Graham.

    Sampson Lee


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