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CRM success: revisiting five fundamentals

Forrester’s William Band wrote a post about “The Five Old School Fundamentals For CRM Success”. Old school doesn’t equal ‘bad school’ so let’s take a look at Mr. Band’s five fundamentals. You will discover that they still stand, although maybe the link with today’s digital changes and the integration with interactive channels might be missing a bit.

Nevertheless, the post is about CRM and five proven strategies, as William Band sums them up and found them when interviewing 58 executives.

We review them one by one. But let’s start with a quote from the post: “Attention to discipline in execution is what sets CRM winners apart”. 

Pay more attention to user adoption

Businesses have to keep on working and even invest more time and efforts in CRM user adoption. And it isn’t only about the CRM technologies but also and even mainly about the CRM processes you (want to) introduce. They will only be adopted when they are properly introduced and when you involve the users in the whole process. It is not a new challenge but it still exists, more often than we sometimes think. In most cases, CRM users will have a negative attitude if they feel they have not been asked to participate while choosing these new strategies. So, seek their participation while selecting new CRM processes and technologies. It is only then that they will embrace the solution you come up with finally.

Focus on underlying business processes

Yes, this also sounds familiar and “old school” but it cannot be repeated enough. It is important to pay attention to every detail pertaining to the business processes before adopting any technological solution. What you want to achieve determines the chosen solution, not the other way around. Get all departments involved with the process on the same page and redesign the process. It is only after successful business process reengineering that a technology solution should be adopted, matching the new process vision.

Call the executives

CRM is a strategy with a clear purpose. It is driven and supported by management. Since employees usually pay close attention to what their senior leaders or executives do or think, get them associated with your new CRM initiatives or programs, William Band advises. If customer service representatives find senior management taking an interest in CRM initiatives, they too will follow the suit.

Proactively manage and use customer data

It is essential to reinvent customer data management practices to make them more meaningful. Smarter companies are already moving towards managing and using customer data more proactively. They have implemented more robust customer data integration and management tools to cleanse and de-duplicate their customer records prior to loading information into its CRM transaction systems. Clean and up-to-date customer data open the gate for effective marketing strategies.

Define and track the right metrics

It is imperative to establish CRM objectives first, just as it is crucial to define the metrics and key performance indicators in interactive marketing. Get your business process changes defined to meet these objectives. This should be done before planning to buy a technology. When defining objectives, get measurable goals so that people can understand what are you planning to achieve and also track the success rate of the same.

For more information, read William Band’s post here.