Putting the Customer Back Into CRM (Part 1)


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The typical enterprise of today was built several decades ago using organization and management theory of that era. The entire focus of management was on product and all the business processes which were put in place were designed to gather data and information to move product through the sales channels. Customer Relationship Management was born out of the need for tools to gather customer data so we could manage sales and marketing campaigns. No one was interested in gathering information that would help us understand target markets and build an optimum marketing message.

The last few years have brought a radical change in the relationship between the customer and the enterprise as a whole. Executives are now paying more attention to discovering the favorite customer (target market) and crafting a marketing message that resonates with that target market. The key is collecting the right information on the customer rather than just automating the remaining sales functions through the deployment of more information technology. Today, the focus must be on understanding how the customer thinks and learning the key phrases the customer uses to describe our products. The business executive’s first priority is to understand the customer’s pain and deliver a relevant solution to that problem.

Customer Knowledge Exceeds Cost Of Sales
The customer knowledge base needs to be enhanced. We need demographic, psychographic as well as geographic information on both customers and prospects. It is critical to understand not only the customer pain points but how that customer thinks and the language the customer uses in relationship to our different products. The cost of the lack of customer knowledge is fast outpacing the cost of sales and the business executive needs to focus on reengineering the customer relationship in the enterprise (figure 1). Today, there must be a turnaround even if the sales executive has to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table. The main objective now is to regain control of customer knowledge and to manage the marketing strategy as the enterprise marches along into the twenty-first century.

Customer Relationship Management applications must be deployed so that automated solutions run where they make the best marketing and business sense. Applications must also be developed in an environment closely aligned to the customer so that we can make the best use of the customer knowledge within the automated solutions. This by default is causing a move away from the highly centralized model of the early years of CRM systems. This is the reason why there is such a push to web-based technology which is nothing more than allowing the applications to execute where they make the best-business sense – close to the 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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