Magazine article CRM Magazine

The CRM Technology Sandwich: Don't Forget to Fill It with People and Process!

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The CRM Technology Sandwich: Don't Forget to Fill It with People and Process!

Article excerpt

THE POINT of the modern CRM suite is to engage customers, but as you might expect from a vantage point early in the hype cycle, its use is concentrated in older, siloed approaches to closing deals. Let's be clear--closing deals is what we all live for, and CRM makes the process kinder and gentler. But a fixation on the end of the sales funnel prevents greater achievements.

As I have visited too many conferences to count this year, it's been a source of fascination that no one really has a handle on what else the modern CRM suite might be good for--such as catering to the installed customer base to drive loyalty.

Existing customers make up a healthy percentage of any business's annual revenue, though the numbers are all over the map. At one end of the spectrum, automakers and their dealers might expect to see customers every three years if they lease, or later if they purchase. On the other end of the sliding scale, subscription vendors crave renewals, and the best score at least 90 percent on that metric.

Subscription vendors may have an advantage over their more traditional peers because they understand the loyalty dynamic better and have to live with it permanently. But there is a tremendous opportunity for conventional vendors to mine their existing customer bases for additional revenue. To do that, you need to drive loyalty, which--I happily point out in a new book-derives from how much customers want to engage with you, but not necessarily from how much you try to engage them.

That's why I say that the modern CRM suite--extended by things like analytics, mobility, social media, collaboration, and who knows what else--is an engagement tool. Real customer engagement, and the loyalty that follows, is the result of customers occasionally accepting an invitation from a vendor. Asking customers to "tell us how you feel" about a brand, product, or situation or enabling them to speak freely with others in communities are examples of engagement done well.

The enablers of customer loyalty are not hard to discern, and they are not all technology related: They involve smart ways of approaching customers, summarized by proactive personalization, contextual innovation, and journey mapping. We've been beating the personalization drum for a while, but innovating around the customer's context is at least half the battle of personalization. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.