Enterprise Schmenterprise

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Have you heard the toughest elevator pitch--you know, the definition of CRM? It seems CRM still means different things to different people. What CRM means if you are in sales is something completely different from what it means if you manage a contact center or work in marketing. The truth is, we all see CRM from our own personal view, not from the enterprise view. In fact, CRM is seldom planned or managed from the enterprise view. If a CRM strategy is about managing business operations around the high-value (read, profitable) customers, and CRM programs are supposed to retain those customers, then it follows that we need to view CRM as a strategy for managing profitable assets for the continued good health of our overall enterprise. But how many companies are approaching CRM from this view, and building in the required measures to see performance numbers returned? To find out we decided to conduct the "CRMA Enterprise CRM Industry Benchmarking Study." The results are in, and they indicate that what we call the enterprise performance management view of CRM is not even on the radar of most companies. With the exception of a few banks, the majority of client organizations studied from retail, financial services, and telecommunications sectors do not plan their CRM from an enterprisewide view. Nor do they establish performance measures at the outset of their CRM efforts, nor track profits returned back into the organization from all CRM program spending. Instead, most companies indicate they take a project view of CRM, executing some loyalty programs, marketing campaigns, contact center upgrades, etc., without an overall enterprisewide, retention-driven plan for managing relationships with high-value customers. Even within their project approach, most companies are not measuring revenues or profits generated back to the firm directly from each project. The study also gathered opinions from CRM experts worldwide, including research analysts, management and marketing consultants, authors, educators, and journalists. These experts were asked whether the majority of organizations now plan CRM at an enterprise level, and whether they now isolate and review baseline performance measures enterprisewide at the outset of each CRM program. About 80 percent of the experts we queried said that companies do not now plan CRM at an enterprise level. All of them said that companies are not deploying performance measures within their CRM initiatives. Clients may not be practicing an enterprise performance management view of CRM now, but it appears that they wish to be. When asked to rank a list of key issues of immediate and major concern to them, they placed two related to enterprise performance management CRM within the top 10. The first was that they did not undertake a meaningful discovery phase and did not uncover key problems to solve in the organization via the enterprise CRM program. The second was an incomplete planning phase that did not clearly prioritize activities, including rationale, budget, calculated ROI, and required time line. Both clients and industry experts agree that the enterprise performance view of CRM is not pervasive in practice today, nor is it bright on the radar screen. Both also agree that adopting this view is a key requirement for future success of CRM in organizations. Yet the question remains: What will it take to make practitioners see CRM from this enterprise view? Laura Pollard is president of industry association CRMA Canada and president of enterprise performance CRM consulting firm Accelerate Growth Management. Contact her at lpollard@accelerategrowth.com. The "CRMA Industry Report Card" is available at www.crmacanada.com
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