Magazine article CRM Magazine

Why CRM Is Not Dead: Simple Interactions Give Way to End-to-End Experiences

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Why CRM Is Not Dead: Simple Interactions Give Way to End-to-End Experiences

Article excerpt

A COMMON QUESTION appeared to be running through this year's CRM Evolution conference: Is CRM dead?

The impetus for this came from three facts (in my mind):

1. There has been no evolution in CRM solutions or technology for two to three years.

2. More and more CRM "vendors" (as measured by CRM Idol) that come into the market focus on one small function within the larger CRM disciplines of sales, marketing, and customer service.

3. Virtually no organizations are implementing CRM suites or complete CRM solutions--and those that do implement them do it via a piecemeal approach.

Further, CRM is no longer a stand-alone, independent implementation but rather part of a larger solution, where there is an emphasis on end-to-end experiences versus simple CRM interactions. Transactions-wise, CRM is part of a larger world now-- so it would be understandable if you thought it was dead. As many people do.

Then again, many people are wrong.

Following the basic principles of conservation of mass (a body of matter cannot disappear completely; it only changes its form and turns into a different matter), we can see where CRM is going.

I wrote before in this column about outcome-driven CRM (where we focus more on the end goal than on the way to get there), and that is also part of this discussion. As businesses move to focus on what they want to achieve from working with customers, the interactions and transactions are quickly left behind, becoming commoditized elements that contribute to an end goal.

When you start thinking of CRM in these terms, you quickly realize that there is no spoon--you are bending reality to fit the spoon. (Anyone? Matrix reference? Anyone?) Or, in CRM terms, there is no CRM. There is a goal and specific business functions that help achieve that goal (sales, marketing, and customer service are top-level collections of those functions). You are then left bending the CRM reality to achieve your outcome.

This means that instead of creating marketing campaigns to bring in new prospects, for example, you will focus instead on an end-to-end experience of finding, attracting, onboarding, delivering, supporting, retaining, and even expanding wallet share for those same customers. You will do this using some CRM functions, but you will also use traditional back-office functions, such as price quoting, inventory management, and maybe even HR and accounting pieces as part of the end-to-end experience. …

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