Elements of a Successful Outsourced Solution
Outsourcing CRM solutions is a growing phenomenon that is generating a good deal of interest. For the purposes of this article, outsourced CRM solutions are defined as marketing automation applications that may include: hosted marketing databases, campaign management, lead generation/management, reporting and/or data mining. These applications may be hosted singly or in a turnkey solution. The benefits of outsourcing a CRM solution can be substantial, both in terms of revenue enhancement and cost reduction.
Typically, marketers see benefits accrue slowly in the first few months after implementation, as the new technology and processes are thoroughly learned and integrated into the organization’s operations. Then they see a period of significant payback as the new tools are mastered and learnings are applied to optimize the outsourced CRM solution capabilities. Eventually outsource users hit a point of diminishing returns, but the overall level of performance has been taken to a higher level.
Success Resides in the Implementation
While many companies are pursuing outsourced solutions, it pays to remember the Economics 101 axiom that “there is no free lunch.” Yes, there are substantial benefits to be gained from outsourcing a CRM solution, but before the first measurable benefit is realized, there is the simple matter of implementation.
As many of you may have experienced, implementing an outsourced CRM solution is not a trivial task for many reasons:
Dynamic project management—This requires coordination of many parties and resources. Internal participants may include marketing, sales, IT, customer service and/or legal. External parties may include the outsourcer, software providers and consultants.
New technology—Implementation often involves the use of newer technology, which may be challenging to internal organizations such as marketing and IT.
New way of conducting business—Some groups within your company may be resistant to outsourcing, and present business processes will likely be affected.