CRM - Beyond the Hooplah (1,414 words)
CRM systems take up to a year to be installed and function properly. Database marketing systems can be up and producing information and results in four to six months.
In the past few years, the biggest problems I've seen with CRM and database marketing lie within the organizations that purchase them and the systems. These problems fall into three distinct areas:
- Difficulty identifying the business problems accurately enough before buying the software.
- Lack of a common definition for CRM.
- Lack of measurement from either the software itself or the technology's purchaser. I've yet to see an accounting of improved customer value, the trackable cost savings or the marginal lift between existing methods and the new CRM methods.
To provide an in-depth view, we asked experts to share their thoughts on the direction and value of CRM.
Kay Mandati, relationship manager for BMW North America
BMW has implemented a good beginning CRM system. The car company has the right concept of how long and how much it takes to get the system functioning.
Q: Can you offer a CRM definition of consumer (prospect and owner) relationship marketing?
Mandati: Systematic, automatic, customized, targeted and relevant communications, initiated directly from data points, product relationships and other valuable consumer information. It is for the purpose of not only increasing loyalty and acquisition rates, but ultimately improving and managing consumer relationships in a more efficient and mutually beneficial manner.
When executed correctly, first-class CRM keeps communications relevant and engaging, while listening to our customers; facilitating a relationship on their terms, and delivering on our implicit commitments through the media they choose.
Q: Where is CRM going?
Mandati: Unfortunately, too many companies think of CRM as a "quick pill"—easy to take and offering fast results. This perception leads many down the wrong path, and ultimately to frustration. CRM is the complete opposite. It's a long-term commitment that works best when it's initiated in a well-defined scope, with clear objectives, and then slowly grown and expanded as successes and failures are realized.