Magazine article CRM Magazine

Revitalizing Your CRM Solution: An Industry Analyst Speaks out on Breathing Life Back into Sluggish Customer Relationship Efforts

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Revitalizing Your CRM Solution: An Industry Analyst Speaks out on Breathing Life Back into Sluggish Customer Relationship Efforts

Article excerpt

Upgrading, simplifying, using analytics, adding marketing and sales effectiveness, and making systems mobile are the top-five ways to get more out of CRM systems, according to Sheryl Kingstone, an analyst at The Yankee Group.

Kingstone, speaking at the recent DCI conference in Chicago, said CRM software is in the middle of a significant evolutionary shift, similar to the mainframe to client/server shift in computers, providing many companies with the impetus to upgrade their CRM systems.

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"The new CRM is more dynamic as companies focus more on external customer and partner management," Kingstone said. "This implies that the business process drives an interaction and can change by leveraging both external and internal data, including real-time and historical [information]."

However, Kingstone cautions that customer-centric CRM isn't possible without J2EE, Web services, XML, and other standards that improve sales effectiveness, customer interaction, and the end-user experience.

CRM systems can enable companies to harness the power of their data collection, investments in technology, and changes in process for improved business performance and customer-centricity, Kingstone added. But older CRM systems very often neglect valuable resources within the company. For example, some older CRM systems don't have the ability to include email information (e.g., customer complaints).

"The ugly secret about CRM systems is that critical data is often still locked away," Kingstone said, "so investments in a [complete] view of the customer haven't increased efficiency. …

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