Why do companies that spend significant investment on CRM fail to realize the benefits? First, many companies see CRM as the panacea to their customer relationship management without realizing the need for appropriate alignment between structure, process and measurements of CRM. Secondly, successful deployment of CRM needs consistent and well aligned review and follow up across different customer engagement process. Account mining motions and Key account management process are not tuned to the solution. KAM’s role, influence and alignment is not consistent with the programmed outcomes. Inside and direct sales teams also do not function in a smooth complementary fashion right from identification of suspect to monetizing the opportunity. Thirdly, many companies make too many structural changes and fail to stabilize the system. Fourthly, most organizational champions are IT and not Sales function heads. User adoption after the initial euphoria is dry and dead. While significant time and efforts are invested in technology and information analysis, organizational process of review and feedback is not dealt with same efforts.
To gain from CRM, first plan what changes you need to realize across all the stages of customer engagement process. Evaluate the customer engagement structure, both direct and indirect, to see how each interactions could be optimized, information fortified and moment of truth positively reinforced. Optimize the structure with appropriate investments in low cost indirect motions if required. CRM process, largely following SPENCO, is a common sense stage approach. What is uncommon is defining rules and customizing the same to suit your own organization and industry fit. Some companies which had extensively relied on external benchmarks without evaluating industry nuances, size and others, witnessed high burn out of its resources. Measures appropriate to motivate, control and direct are important to design both at individual and group level. Finally, create methods by which the organization up its ante on intelligence (product, customers and competitors) using CRM. You need to go beyond data collection and validation and develop common sense tools that are more valuable to you.
-Ganapathy R and T R Madan Mohan