Now Is the Time for Evidence-Based CRM


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According to the old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”. That certainly seems true, if by the tough we mean the many CRM pundits who have suddenly appeared with their own recipe for coping in these difficult economic conditions.

I have no problem with punditry, indeed, I have written a couple of posts about CRM in a downturn myself over the past nine months. But I do have a problem with pundits who, like a one-trick pony, only focus on what they know best, rather than the larger business system in which CRM is a small but integral part. And who never seem to have much supporting evidence for their their pet solutions either. You know what I mean: the marketing pundits who bemoan the disastrous cuts in marketing’s budget or the sales pundits who suggest that the only way out of the crisis is to sell harder.

If ever there was a time for evidence-based CRM, this is it. Rather than relying upon pundits and their pet solutions, management should take a root and branch look at their company’s CRM activities by carrying out a Strategic CRM Due Diligence of the type well known to anyone involved in the due diligence phase of mergers & acquisitions. A Strategic CRM Due Diligence:

  • Gathers detailed data about the company’s performance and market trends, and then
  • Identifies its core customers, how well it creates value for them and their growth potential
  • Identifies its CRM capabilities, and how well they create value for customers and shareholders alike
  • Examines its CRM strategy & plans and how achievable they are in current circumstances
  • Identifies whether value creation is at risk from disruptively innovating competitors
  • Developes a number of realistic future CRM scenarios and analyses their likely impact on future value creation
  • Makes firm recommendations about the direction to follow, based upon the evidence gathered and analysed
  • Creates short-term plans to pilot each of the key recommendations and to get them into production as soon as they have been stress-tested
  • Develops a simple reporting framework to keep close eye on the pilots and their progress.

Evidence-based CRM is a far better way to decide how to spend what is likely to be a shrinking CRM budget. It is certainly better than just doing the same with less budget, or across the board cost-cutting and far better than listening to all the pundits and their pet solutions.

What do you think? Is it time for evidence-based CRM? Or are you happy continuiing to act on unsubstantiated hunches?

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

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager

Further Reading:

Adolph et al, Startegy+Business
Strategic Due Diligence: A Foundation for M&A Success

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


  1. A little searching around showed that I am not alone in thinking now is the time for evidence-based CRM. NOW is the time.

    Pfeffer & Sutton’s ‘Evidence-based Management’ blog

    Tracy Allison Altman, ‘Evidence Soup’ blog

    Philip Tiongson, ‘Marginally Subversive’ blog

    Paul Barsch, ‘Marketing & Technology’ blog

    What are you waiting for.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager


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