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Letter to the Editor
For the rest of the February 2000 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Dear Larry,

Congratulations on "Who's Driving This Car, Anyway?" (SMA, December 1999) Words that need to be said-over and over and over again. You made the point more succinctly and eloquently than anyone has to date.

However, as much as I enjoyed your bon mots, I respectfully disagree with your statement that "no one has yet stepped forward to provide a rallying point for CRM."

True, no one from the technology side of CRM-neither technology nor trade association leader-has stepped forward. But they're not going to. Frankly, they've all been breathing their own fumes for too long-and they all have too much to lose.

Some of us from the organizational and marketing side of the CRM equation have been speaking out for a good while. And while our voices may not be well heard among technologists, we are being heard where it counts-by corporate adopters of CRM-who are getting smarter about CRM by the month and now rejecting industry claims that technology is more than a tool-and by an increasing number of CRM consultants as well.

As evidence, I would point to the surprising (to me) success of both my books, which do approach CRM holistically. Last time I looked on Amazon, The Sales Automation Survival Guide was the category best-seller. And The Customer Relationship Planning Guide-which is a planning tool, rather than reading material-has probably generated more dollar sales than any other "CRM" book. Who's buying them? Not technology-oriented CRMers, but corporate managers and consultants who are responsible for total outcomes, not software licenses sold or technology implementations (the failure of which is always "sales' fault" or marketing's or the corporation's). And to that I would add an increasing number of speaking requests from corporate and consulting quarters-from folks who have heard the "CRM is not software" story and want to hear and learn more-plus more and more consulting engagements from firms that have heard Siebel System's and others' "software first" pitches and rejected them.

Having been a very visible player in relationship marketing for many years, and likewise on the marketing and organizational sides of CRM in recent years, I felt your observation that "no one has stepped forward" came from a narrow industry perspective-which I appreciate is very tough to shake in your position with your contacts. But you shook it in spades for the rest of the editorial, and I applaud that. Now, can I persuade you that some of us have stepped forward and are successfully influencing customer perspective on CRM?

Sincerely,

Dick Lee
High-Yield Marketing
st. Paul, MN
dlee@h-ym.com

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