Now that I've implemented CRM, how can I gain benefits from it?
Posted Sep 23, 2002
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Many corporate CRM initiatives fall short of expectations due to a single and exclusive focus on the front office -- the activities and processes that comprise customer touch-points. While these activities are highly visible and critical to overall success, the greatest benefits of CRM are driven from how front office drives and integrates with activities throughout the rest of the enterprise. These other activities and processes are frequently neglected in CRM implementations. Effective CRM begins in the front office, and then extends to key back-office processes such as fulfillment and continues through to all of planning processes that management adopts to define and update operating plans. Once an efficient front office is in place, companies should: 1. Focus on optimizing the fulfillment and delivery of the firm's essential goods or services--through its back office processes--based on the value and needs of the various customers or customer segments. In other words, use CRM information to treat different customer groups differently based on their impact to the firm's profitability. This key connection to profitability is often missing from CRM implementations. 2. Move away from traditional static quarterly planning and toward a more dynamic, continuous planning approach that incorporates objective customer pipeline and forecast information. This allows management to build operating and resource allocation plans and budgets that can maintain appropriate profitability levels as the demand environment changes. Formal processes for assessing and adjusting the current state should also be in place across every department and business unit. A seamless flow of these three stages enables CRM to drive profitability, and to support and reinforce the transition to a customer-driven enterprise that is efficient and differentiated.
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