Breakthroughs in making CRM deliver value
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Richard ForsythWe have a bullish view of CRM for you this week. Firstly, we’re publishing an article by Richard Heygate and Phil Norman, Tools for Managing Return on Investment from CRM. Richard and Phil’s thesis is that ‘proven business cases of significant returns from CRM are now appearing thick and fast, repudiating the prophets of doom... Now the CRM discipline has come of age, best practice experience is available to assess which CRM moves create which impact, with what cost and timing. It is thus possible to plan, accurately, the revenues, costs and timing of initiative programs, and then translate these into operational KPI’s. This article describes the two key tools that corporations should adopt to achieve such planning accuracy, as well as how they are used for both strategic and operational management of performance.’ Those two key tools for managing the ROI are a Value Driver analysis, and a Balanced Scorecard… However, you don’t need me to tell you more – just read the article.

Meanwhile, Chris Selland of Reservoir Partners has addressed another of the key enablers of CRM success, senior management involvement, in his article CRM Leadership Strategies. Reservoir Partners have interviewed senior executives from a number of mid-sized firms that reported highly successful CRM implementations – including, Datacore, Forex Capital Markets, and TrailBlazer Studios. The conclusions they have come to should help most companies improve the senior management input to their CRM programmes. Some quotes from interviewees in the report may stimulate interest:

  • "What is your business requirement? What are you expecting to get? Upper management must drive this. Bring the LOB managers in under that to make decisions – can’t drive from LOB or departments – and it’s too big for IT."
  • "User Adoption drives success – or failure. Manage from the system. If it’s not in the CRM application, it didn’t happen. And you won’t get compensated for it."
  • "It’s not just cost-benefit – time is key. The most important thing is getting something that works, and getting it in quickly. Take the decision-making role – the people who use it all the time (if they’re capable) need to be the ones making the decisions. Let the people make the decisions."
  • "CRM isn’t the best term, but at least it’s relatively well-understood. Until a better one comes along, we’ll continue to use it."
  • "We’ve had believers in Customer Service and Sales – the key is getting them working together. Marketing, however, is another story – they simply don’t want to participate in these initiatives, and we’ve been handicapped due to their lack of participation."

Maybe that’s enough to stimulate your interest enough to read the whole article.

Well all this positivism has quite gone to my head. It’s been a pretty depressing year for CRM on the whole - yes, it’s December already, and it is getting close to the time to review the year 2003. I’ve had a quick look already at my editorials, and find I’ve definitely been having a good moan throughout the year.

It started almost a year ago with an editorial on 16th December, CRM – how far has it got and where is it going? That quoted myself and various members on the difficulties CRM was facing, and ended with a promise from me to focus more on the customer’s needs. Well, I certainly tried to do that throughout the year, including editorials on:

So I seem to have kept my promise of being on the customer’s side, and I hope it all hasn’t come across too negatively.

Right now, I personally am feeling a lot more bullish than this time last year. Not only because of the articles we’ve published this week, but also because of the guide to Customer Management in Financial Services that we published last week. The guide consists of links to around 100 articles (including 28 case studies) of the adoption of CRM in the Financial Services sector. Going through those articles encouraged me to think that we have learnt something over the past ten years or so, and we are making progress, even if it is not so fast as we’d sometimes like it to be. To quote just a few examples from the guide:

But it’s not just the case studies that have value.

So, with some hindsight, it looks as if we are making progress, and can expect to see companies achieve increasing benefits from their CRM programmes. There are still, however, significant challenges ahead. The most significant of those is the impending move to buyer-centric sales, marketing, and service processes. CRM will not solve that challenge. However, the discipline of CRM is a necessary pre-cursor to providing solutions to that issue. We face another interesting decade or so.

As always we’d like to hear your comments on this editorial. Make them below or email me at [email protected]

For those of you interested in that more strategic challenge, we’re running a webinar, on 'Why your Customers Hate you, on December 10th. If you’re interested in attending, let me know at [email protected]

Richard Forsyth


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