|Implementing a CRM Strategy|
Lisa Burris Arthur
Lisa Burris Arthur is Vice President, E-Business Marketing for Oracle Corporation. She is responsible for global product marketing for Oracle's CRM Applications and Online Services. She has presented at many prestigious events around the world including Direct Focus, Gartner Asia, Frost & Sullivan, Customer Contact World, and Stanford University.
more than ever, the customer is king. In today's competitive business
landscape, recognizing this fact is imperative for a company's success.
integrated CRM strategy gives the marketer access to intelligent information
on customer profiles as well as campaign metrics and analytics.
must synchronize their marketing, sales and service across all customer
interaction channels. They also need to link customer information throughout
all back office systems such as accounting, human resources, manufacturing
and inventory for a complete view of the customer.
has data on markets, prospects, and lists. This is also supported through
a third party vendor. But marketing needs to drive generated leads to
Sales for follow up. The marketing department also could use feedback
from service and sales about what campaigns are working.
The key is to have
all your customer information integrated. This provides each department
with a 360-degree view of the customer, and ensures that the data is current
Where else is Your Company Customer Information?
It doesn't end with
the integration of marketing, sales and customer service, however. Companies
also need to account for other department databases and systems such as
manufacturing, accounting and purchasing.
3. Importance of Integration
Unless you have integration between marketing, sales, order management and accounting, it is impossible for a marketer to understand what revenue a campaign generated - "What's my real ROI?"
Visibility into ROI and which channels are working successfully is critical. Integration delivers a genuine flow of information with meaningful information to marketers.
Also, an integrated CRM system enables companies to drive efficiencies by leveraging the Web, not as a standalone e-business initiative, but integrated into the heart of the business.
Component vs. Package Approach
There are two strategies used to achieve the kind of data integration needed for a successful CRM implementation, the Component and Package approach.
Component Approach: The component approach connects a series of individual department "data silos" into a single system. The underlying data is shared between platforms through software and applications that must access the data from various sources.
Package Approach: A package approach deploys a single technology platform and a single database to handle all of a company's data. Each department would then tie into the same database and the systems would speak the same "language."
On balance, the package approach is recommended because it more easily provides a 360-degree view of the customer. Tying component systems together can be a challenging and expensive task due to differences in programming and database structure.
4. Successful Implementation
A simple way of implementing a CRM strategy is to consider Business Flows. This requires a company to examine the business processes such as planning and executing marketing campaigns, driving leads to sales and ensuring customers are being served quickly at a low cost.
A business flow also addresses how you need to interact with other departments and how information is shared and collaborated among teams to achieve overall objectives. Companies can start by focusing on the key business flow that has the highest priority or causing the greatest pain within the business. Some areas to consider might include:
That way, a company can implement an integrated CRM strategy in stages based on the priorities of the business.
The Blueprint of CRM
A CRM system is only as good as the commitment garnered from the entire organization. Successful CRM requires transformations on four basic levels:
The Meta Group reported that 55%-75% of CRM projects don't meet their objectives (March 2001). Why is there such a high failure rate? The reason is that companies have not affected change in these four fundamental areas:
Structure: Departments will be restructured for maximum business efficiencies that require departments to begin sharing customer information.They will no longer exist as separate entities.
Process: As departments begin to work together, they will discover ways to interact more efficiently.
Culture: Employees need to change their thinking and the way they conduct their work. They must begin to work efficiently with other departments and other divisions around the world. Additionally, many of the daily functions of a company can be shifted to the Web - which requires a change in both procedure and attitude.
Technology: The final, obvious change will be in applying a new technology. Companies will add the latest tools to help everyone get their jobs done, but also to help customers manage their business.
The good news is companies don't have to make these changes overnight. But keep in mind that no solution can take you to a new way of doing business unless these four areas are addressed.
CRM strategies offer companies a complete view of their customers across the entire organization.
When implemented properly, a CRM strategy integrates all customer-facing and back office applications with the same data. Companies reap large gains from these efficiencies by offering better service and developing deeper relationships with customers.
In order to achieve those gains, the implementation of the CRM strategy has to create a 360-degree view of the customer. This means merging the information silos maintained by each department into a single data repository accessible by all departments.
Selection of technology is vital to a successful CRM implementation. Selecting a package approach, rather than tying together existing individual components, enables each department to tie into the same database with systems that speak the same "language."
Implementation of a CRM strategy is by no means a project for the IT department alone. Marketers must be directly involved in the process because they will ultimately win or lose based on the quality of the outcome.
If implemented properly, a CRM strategy enables marketers to interact with customers armed with useful information. Additionally, by analyzing existing customer data, marketers have better tools to build future marketing campaigns, increase sales and drive ROI.
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