Eight Building Blocks for CRM Success

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Companies are continuing to pursue CRM projects in 2003 despite the discontent from many about earlier failures and the harsh business climate. But most companies are now taking a more cautious approach to their implementations. Project prices have come down, but still run in the range of $800,000 to $1 million. At a recent Gartner CRM Summit, the research firm's analysts recommended that companies looking at CRM projects carefully consider the basics of CRM. Gartner consultant Ed Thompson offered eight building blocks for successful CRM projects: 1 Vision: The board must take leadership in creating a CRM vision for the enterprise. The CRM vision should be used as the guide to the creation of a CRM strategy. 2 Strategy:
The CRM strategy is all about how to build and develop a valuable asset: the customer base. It must set objectives and metrics for attaining that goal. It directs the objectives of other operational strategies and the CRM implementation strategy. 3 Customer experience: The customer experience must be designed in line with the CRM vision and must be constantly refined, based on actively sought customer feedback. 4 Organizational collaboration: Changes to organizational structures, processes, metrics, incentives, skills, and even the enterprise culture must be made to deliver the required external customer experience. Ongoing change management will be key. 5 Process: Successful customer process reengineering should create processes that not only meet customers' expectations and support the customer value proposal, but also provide competitive differentiation and contribute to a designed customer experience. 6 Information: Successful CRM demands the creation of a customer-information blood supply that flows around the organization, as well as tight integration between operational and analytical systems. 7 Technology: CRM technologies form a fundamental part of any enterprise's application portfolio and architecture. CRM application needs should be considered as the provision of integrated functionality that supports seamless customer-centric processes across all areas of the enterprise and its partners. 8 Metrics: Enterprises must set measurable CRM objectives and monitor all levels of CRM indicators to turn customers into assets. Without performance management, a CRM implementation will fail. Metrics is the most important of the eight building blocks, yet only a quarter of enterprises measure before implementation, Thompson said. "The problems are identifying which metrics are critical in driving CRM benefits, and knowing where to find the information," he said. "A performance management framework is required, and without a hierarchy of linked metrics, a CRM strategy is likely to fail."
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