How to Justify CRM Initiatives in a Changing Market
By Sharon L. Weaver
A number of changes have occurred in the marketplace over the past year that have put tremendous strain on an organization's capital investments. Employee layoffs, mergers and stock market drops all affect the amount of money consumers have to spend on products and services. Therefore, it is becoming even more important for organizations to both retain and deepen their relationships with existing customers.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an overall strategy that allows organizations to more effectively manage and track customer contacts. CRM initiatives start with a vision of how to make the organization more customer-focused, but often require a substantial investment in software and infrastructure to execute.
While CRM initiatives in most organizations have been scaled back this year, it is essential, now more than ever, to gain substantial internal support to ensure the projects continue through completion. A well-developed and persuasive business case could save your CRM project and your job!
What's a Business Case?
A business case is a document that outlines a supporting argument to senior management to approve a specific project or initiative. Typically, a business case is used internally to gain support for a project, justify the expenditures, and show projected outcomes as a result of accepting the project. This article defines a standard outline that can be used in developing a business case, with a focus on useful CRM metrics and measures that can be incorporated into the case.
Keep in mind that each organization has a unique set of criteria for accepting business cases. Some organizations are logical and rational decision-makers that thrive on quantitative facts and financial metrics, while other organizations may be more persuaded by who is supporting the project and are comfortable making decisions based on qualitative anecdotes. Therefore, before any business case is drafted, be sure to understand what drives decisions in your organization so that you can focus the content of the business case toward that goal.