CRM. Customer Relationship Management. It allows us to store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities in one central location. The technology has exploded and for an industry that really is less than 3 decades old, the market is worth approximately $36 billion. Overall, the top five CRM software vendors account for more than 45 percent of the total market.
Salesforce.com, the largest player, having gone public in only 2004, is on target to be a $10 billion company by end of this year, in less than 15 years. This would make them the fastest software company to hit that figure and they would represent a quarter of the industry’s revenue.
For all companies of any size or shape, CRM has become as essential as accountants, computers, telephones, office politics and lunch. 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use a CRM. But do we really understand what they can and cannot do?
There is plenty of documentation, mainly by CRM providers, of what they can do. And essential as they have become and as useful as they are, there are certain things that people overlook what they CAN’T do. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?
The biggest danger befalling companies that think CRM’s are THE answer and will deliver success is that they believe that although the menu is like their local Starbuck’s (or Caribou) and they can order virtually ANYTHING, such choice will not necessarily satisfy their daily desires.
Here are the 5 things CRM fails to do:
1. Engage with Our Customer
This sounds obvious, but do we really know the things we SHOULD know about our customer, such as what are their challenges, what’s their decision-making process, what are their growth plans, where do they need help?
2. Establish who are the right people to talk to at an existing or potential customer
CRM’s, unfortunately, are not clairvoyant. Oh, don’t we wish? This critical information helps us ensure we are talking to the right people at the right time with THE decision making powers.
3. Provide us the coverage we have in the customer
So who’s covering who at our most important customers? Do we have the depth of coverage? Are our people aligned with those at the customer?
4. Set Relationship Targets
For any important or key customer, it’s vital that we rate our individual relationships with them and understand with whom and by when we need to improve these relationships and by what level. Nope, CRM doesn’t do that either.
5. Tell Us What Value Means to Our Customers
What IS it that’s important to the company and also to the individuals we deal with. The only way to find that out is by spending time with them and asking and listening!
CRM’s are great…but they DO NOT and CANNOT manage our key customer Relationships. To think they do is negligent and/or naive.
So what will help us do these things? Take control of your Customer Relationships. Devise a Customer Strategy Plan. A plan that is based on Relationships is as critical as any Business Plan.
I can help you do that. It’s what I do. e-mail me at peter.beaumont @ConnXN.net. I’m here to help you.
I’m Peter M. Beaumont the Founder and Principal of ConnXN Consulting. I’m also the author of The Relationship Roadmap, a comprehensive guide to building relationships with strategic clients. Find out more at www.ConnXN.net