"Analysts don't understand what CRM is. The issue is whether you can use it to your advantage," says Robert Burgess, group manager of CRM marketing at Verizon Information Services.
To help customers and potential customers use CRM to their advantage, this week, Burgess and a handful of customer relationship management consultants, customers, and vendors gathered at The Inter-Continental The Barclay in New York for the 2002 Customer Relationship Management Conference: Gaining Competitive Advantage Through an Integrated Enterprise-Wide Customer Focus, which was sponsored by The Conference Board and Teradata, a division of NCR.
In his presentation, called Managing Day-to-Day CRM Efforts, Burgess warned: "CRM is a big ship Once it starts, moving it can become very difficult."
That is why he advises creating a contingency plan early in the CRM project that identifies roadblocks "so you don't have to scramble."
To avoid some of the roadblocks, Burgess advises CRM customers not to overstep their boundaries. It's an issue of practicality: "Everybody wants the Mercedes-Benz, but can you live with a Chevrolet for a couple of years before you buy the luxury car?" asks Burgess. If so, then he advises to stay within your financial means.
staying within your means also applies to your ability to meet project deadlines. "Go for quick wins. Executives get real happy when you do."
Once an organization is ready to put the plan into action those directly involved with the CRM rollout need to keep enthusiasm high and communicate with executives often through the life of the CRM implementation. "Team members must be very good at the elevator speech. Get thrown out of offices. I've had executives say to me ‘Enough! Get out!' But you have to tell them, keep telling them, and make them irritated."