Magazine article CRM Magazine

Completing the Circuit: Complex Gear Requires Business Processes to Match

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Completing the Circuit: Complex Gear Requires Business Processes to Match

Article excerpt

CRM is a tech-heavy topic, considering all the software and hardware that is involved somewhere down the line in getting that 360-degree view of the customer. But businesses in one particular vertical find technology to be a CRM-heavy topic. Technology, high technology, or high tech, depending on whom you ask, is an industry that is finding that relationships are just as important as processors and servomotors.

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Ray Wang, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, has identified some of the top CRM business challenges in high tech. These include:

* Development of partner channels to expand coverage areas and selling. Many tech firms don't have the reach to adequately serve all their customers themselves, or have based their business model on indirect sales.

* Customer data integration for growth and sales efficiency. Customers have complex needs, and CDI enables a vendor to properly address them, as well as to handle more business.

* Improved incentive and compensation management systems. Again, the complex nature of the products and services means intricate compensation models for the sales team. Better management saves time and improves morale.

* Building better relationships with suppliers regarding complex supplier management service-level agreements. A tech business is not an island, so a steady and transparent flow of materials is crucial to remaining timely and keeping customers happy.

Customer relationship management is also complicated in the tech sector because there are so many types of customers. "Typically in most industries, the buyer is going to be the user," says Lior Arussy, president of Strativity Group. "But the definition of customer is different and complex in high technology. It could be an executive, IT, the user, or a consultant." Each type of customer requires different handling, but without good CRM processes and tools it's a lost cause. "Most salespeople can't balance all the different contacts on their own. They take the path of least resistance--usually techies in IT--and that's taking a big risk with their clients."

No matter what, the goal is always to deliver the whole of your company's message to the right people. "Recognize and embrace complexity," Arussy says. "Don't shy away from it in favor of dumbing down your message."

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