• June 1, 2005
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

100 Reasons to Read This Issue

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A lot has happened since the launch of Sales and Field Force Automation magazine in 1997. The CRM industry was born, and that publication changed its name to CRM magazine in April 2000 to reflect its altered scope. Now, after more than eight years of publishing, we bring you our 100th issue. Our coverage of the CRM industry reveals a lot about its pervasiveness in business today. In the late 1990s, when business was booming, organizations turned to CRM solutions to help them sell, installing technologies like contact management applications, SFA tools, sales-pipeline management tools, and sales forecasting software. When the Internet bubble burst executives recoiled, and shifted their focus from customer acquisition mode to cost cutting mode. Once again they turned to CRM strategies and technologies, but this time to cut costs and improve business processes, especially in the call center, or cost center, as so many executives apathetically referred to it. With this new focus on the call center, executives soon realized another opportunity--instead of rushing customers off the phone to keep costs down, companies started directing simple and unprofitable service calls to low-cost channels, such as an IVR, the Web, and email, while encouraging agents to cross- and upsell to customers who have a higher propensity to buy once serviced. For many this changed the perception of call centers as cost centers to a more appealing term--profit centers. And, understandably so. It meant that marketers could equip customer service reps with the information to cross- and upsell customers the right product or service at the right time. This stage of CRM's maturity brought the technology's capabilities full circle, effectively linking sales, marketing, and customer service--hence the need for a unified view of the customer across the enterprise. Today, the people, process, and technology associated with CRM efforts are deeply entrenched in and dependent upon aspects of an enterprise, from CEOs to CSRs. Naturally, laying the groundwork for such a strategy can be daunting, to say the least. For CRM
magazine's 100th issue we gathered eight years' worth of CRM coverage, speaking with industry pundits and CRM project managers to bring you 100 proven CRM ideas--90 great ones and 10 not-so-great ones. The first 90 ideas range from technology tips to business process management advice for planning and executing your CRM strategy. The final 10, well, they are for you to learn from others' mistakes. Read this list to find out great advice for successfully implementing your corporate CRM initiatives. Our 100th issue theme continues in the feature story on page 42, which highlights companies that are at least 100 years old to show how effective CRM initiatives, whether tech-focused or not, can keep veteran companies from going stale. The anchor company, 102-year-old luxe retailer Nordstrom, is known for its gold standard in customer service. Senior Editor Alexandra DeFelice spoke with Robert Spector, author of The Nordstrom Way, as well as others to uncover some of the secrets to Nordstrom's well-known success. * * * * You may notice some new names and a promotion on our masthead in this issue. Alexandra DeFelice joins the CRM team as senior editor, covering marketing, business intelligence, and enterprise CRM. Marshall Lager joins the staff as senior writer, covering direct and indirect sales, wireless CRM, security, and midmarket CRM. And Colin Beasty was promoted from editorial intern to full-time editorial assistant, covering general CRM issues. I welcome all three editors to the CRM team. David Myron Editor-in-Chief dmyron@destinationCRM.com
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