Take My Advice--Please

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Robb Eklund, vice president of CRM marketing, Oracle: If it's a marketing project make sure that the goal is focused on profit, not automating marketing--rather, that you're driving towards what is the overall business objective: revenue. If it's an SFA project make sure that the goal is enabling a sales process to make it more effective, to close those transactions. Make that deal happen. Peter McCullagh, group vice president, CRM strategy, Siebel Systems: Have the courage to step up and the conviction to make the change necessary in your business to do this. Despite what some might say, this is not a two-week or five-week or 12-week initiative. This is about transforming the way most Western enterprise does business, because most companies do a relatively poor job of sales, marketing, [and] service. When I am in groups, I always ask the question, "How many people here in the last month can remember a great experience with a company?" On average, people say one. People can remember one good experience in the last month that they had. The average consumer in the United States has 100 experiences in a month. That says that we have a long way to go before these organizations are really where they need to be in terms of providing world-class experiences for their customers across their sales, marketing, and service capabilities. And what it really takes--it's not about technology--it's about the courage of the senior team to drive change in the business and fundamentally change the way they operate their organization. That's the hardest part. That's what's going to make the difference in these companies.
Cary Fulbright, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Salesforce.com: The key thing is to understand what you're trying to get out of CRM. Some companies approach it as what we call a mission to Mars, because there's tremendous promise with CRM. Hardly any of that is ever realized, if any of it. There's tremendous potential there, and yet it just doesn't happen, and a lot of money goes down the drain pursuing that. So I think you should have realistic expectations of what's achievable, and then find the best way to achieve those [expectations], taking into account the time, cost, and risk of the ability to achieve them. John Grozier, vice president of CRM product marketing, SAP: CRM is a journey, and this journey probably begins with working on things to make you more efficient. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with starting with efficiency and then moving on to effectiveness--doing more things that bring things together. A lot of companies often try to jump immediately to what I call the elegant solution, and they miss all of the benefits that they could have had along the way, or never get to that elegant solution. So it's important to stay focused, understand that it is a journey, that there are many, many battles and little wars that can be won along the way. And make sure that you pick partners who understand your strategy, your business, what you're trying to achieve, and have the capabilities to help you deliver the success of any particular project. Brad Wilson, formerly vice president of marketing, PeopleSoft CRM, PeopleSoft: Your odds of success in CRM projects have never been higher. People have learned a lot in the past five or eight years in what hasn't worked. People have really reengineered the applications to be a lot more implementable today, to work better together. So I'd say your chances are very good, if you make the right vendor selection and do your homework and set the right goals, you'll be very successful. Make sure you look at things as one business process with one set of metrics for your company, not divergent metrics for different organizations. And make sure you pick an application platform that fits with what you already have, because being able to scrap what you have and build a whole new set of databases and applications is not a luxury most companies have today.
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