A Powerful Mix

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I am ceaselessly amazed at the new tools companies use for sales and marketing. I recently received an e-catalog from Coach. It was so cool! But more important it was engaging, and probably saved the company vats in printing and mailing costs. A while back I switched from receiving print catalogs to emails. I like to ogle Coach bags more than I like buy them, so I always felt it was a waste of the company's marketing dollars--and the planet's trees--to keep me on its catalog mailing list. I click through the emails, but admittedly I haven't bought anything yet. OK, so I'm not the ideal customer, but I am one with potential. I'm sure I'm not alone, which is why the e-catalog is so great. Coach can email the catalog to customers like myself--low dollar value, but highly engaged--to encourage us up the value chain, at a significantly lower cost than the paper catalog. The email is actually a link to the catalog online. The link takes you to the cover; across the top of the page are links to the other pages. Click on 1-2 and the screen "flips" the page to that spread, and so on. The catalog images are crisp and enticing. The descriptive type is a bit small, but no matter, I didn't need the type to sell me on the nifty leather iPod case (now all I need is the iPod...) or the trendy SOHO flap satchel. Creativity mixed with technology is certainly an influential sales tool. Another powerful tool in CRM is the blend of responsibility, accountability, and productivity. No CRM initiative is complete without it. So important is it, in fact, that it is the thread that weaves this issue together. This month's cover story, "We Are the Champions" (page 24), serves as a reminder that if top management does not assign responsibility to one key individual, CRM initiatives will founder. In the article five CRM project leaders who have responsibility for their companies' CRM success share their winning strategies. One of those strategies, not surprisingly, is using accountability as a tool to drive user adoption. The article "6 Barriers to CRM Success" (page 36) also cites accountability as so vital to a CRM initiative that some experts feel that meeting CRM deliverables should be a part of a project leader's compensation. This month we introduce a new columnist, customer service authority Lior Arussy ("Efficiency Versus Quality," page 22), who says that contact center managers must take responsibility for customer satisfaction, not just call duration. Finally, productivity is also important to those responsible for CRM, so in "Balancing Act" (page 30), we offer strategies for using CRM to increase productivity while building relationships in all customer-facing areas of the business.
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