If there were ever an issue of CRM
magazine that underscores the industry's maturation, it's this one. Many companies have already implemented some sort of traditional CRM technology or transactional system, but recent technological advancements are readying this industry for a new era of CRM.
It's certainly not difficult to sell veteran business leaders on the concept of transactional systems, but there's still a bit of convincing left to do out there. Plus, we can't ignore younger professionals who are new to the concept. So we continue to write these stories, as they underscore the foundation for which the technology side of our industry was built on. For example, there's a feature story in this issue by Senior Writer Marshall Lager called "Breaking Down the Silos," about one of CRM's long-standing business cases.
Once these transactional systems are in place and business leaders are collecting valuable customer data, however, many ask the obvious next-step question: What do I do with the information? The answers to this will help propel the industry to new heights.
Some of the answers appear in this issue, as the type of articles we're reporting focus on the next steps of CRM. This point, particularly for marketers, is well illustrated in Senior Editor Alexandra DeFelice's story, "What's In a Name?" It details how important it is for marketers to clean and understand the data they already have, otherwise they might, for example, mistakenly identify a customer as a physician, because Md. is the abbreviation for Mohammad in some cultures.
This commitment to next-step CRM inspired Editorial Assistant Colin Beasty to write "Lending a Helping Hand," which shows how virtual contact centers can help organizations hire people they may never have considered--the disabled. Not only can a virtual contact center help those with barriers to employment, it yields impressive business results.
Next-step CRM also applies to partnerships. Assistant Editor Coreen Bailor's cover story, "5 Elements to Consider After You've Outsourced," offers post-contract tips on managing an outsourcing relationship. Simply because you've made the weighty decision to outsource, don't pat yourself on the back just yet. Business leaders need to anticipate the future when managing these relationships, too. One area to monitor, according to a consultant in Bailor's story, is employee attrition. "There needs to be an agreement as to the type of talent that is going to be brought in to the operation, how they are going to be trained, and how proactive you are in the ongoing management of bringing that new talent on board."
Consider these stories as you plan your CRM initiatives, and stay tuned as we continue to cover next-step CRM.