Customers' Changing CRM Expectations

During a recent SAP customer event in Chicago, CRM magazine Editor-in-Chief Ginger Conlon sat down with SAP Americas CEO and President Bill McDermott to discuss the changing CRM landscape. Three years ago organizations had two main choices, according to McDermott. They either had to buy a product that offered functionality without integration or one that offered integration, but had a dearth of functionality. Today, he said, there are alternatives that offer the best of both functionality and integration capabilities. "What we're seeing is that customers are looking for more and more integrated processes across a value chain of activities." Not only are customers looking to ease the pain of integration while getting the best in functionality, they're also expecting more from their vendor relationships. "There was a time that companies assumed what vendors said was right," McDermott said. "Now we've moved from assumption to proof." According to McDermott, organizations now expect their CRM vendors to provide support in four key areas: 1. Vendors
can no longer sell and run. Organizations want to partner with a vendor that acts as a trusted advisor. 2. Companies are looking for solutions to their business problems, not products. 3. Businesses now expect that CRM vendors will offer solutions with a low TCO, or they will offer upgrades or new applications that help lower the existing TCO of CRM technologies already in place. 4. Executives expect vendors to come in with a proven business case that execs can either use to make a decision or use to present to top management to get them to sign off on a CRM purchase. McDermott also pointed out that although TCO is an important consideration, price is not necessarily a deal-breaker. "The heavy lifting is not the price," he said. "It's, How will this serve me in the long run?" In fact, according to McDermott, some customers prefer an in-house deployment over an on-demand subscription model deployment, because they see their CRM software as a capital asset. "Customers value that [as a capital asset]," In the end, what customers want is a vendor that meets their expectations: "Customers and customers alone decide whether we have a job or not, so we have to think about and focus on the customer every day." Related article: Get Your Facts Straight
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