• January 1, 2016
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

How to Get CRM Right in 2016

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A CRM system can have varying degrees of success and failure. So how do you get CRM right for your organization? There's no easy answer, because companies often have different environments, needs, resources, and goals. A thorough understanding of these four key factors is a great place to start, but it usually takes more than that to succeed.

To conduct a thorough gap analysis, it helps to know what can actually be accomplished with new CRM technologies and strategies. So why not learn from some of the best examples? That's why we decided to feature Brenda McCord, vice president of customer support at Freeman, a convention and trade-show management company and winner of the J.D. Power Certified Contact Center Program distinction for the sixth straight year. You might be surprised that CRM technology isn't the company's greatest asset. In fact, Freeman doesn't even have an automated interactive voice response system, because McCord wants to lead with her company's chief strength—its people. Read our Q&A with McCord for insight into how Freeman consistently maintains its high level of customer service excellence.

As we blaze new paths each year, we often focus much of our attention on our immediate needs. But, as important as that is, leaders should avoid being in a position where they can't see the forest for the trees. It's essential for someone to periodically take a bird's-eye view of what lies ahead and around the organization. This will help ensure your company heads in the right direction and spots any obstacles, or opportunities, that aren't immediately visible.

Our cover story, "Outlook 2016: How CRM Will Foster an Era of Good Feelings," by Maria Minsker, takes a detailed look at some of the biggest trends emerging in 2016. In it, Maria touches on the importance of engagement solutions that bring about a "more mature ecosystem of unified solutions," why campaigns are being built around commerce, the maturation of journey mapping, the simplification of Big Data, knowledge management's evolving role in customer service, and the maturation of mobile CRM. Any one of these developing trends could alter your company's path, so take this opportunity to find out more about them.

The next step is to put pencil to paper and create a winning plan. In our feature story "How to Craft a Clear and Effective CRM Strategy," Associate Editor Oren Smilansky identifies the essential steps organizations have to take to succeed. Most of these tips apply to new technology deployments as well as upgrades.

There are many obstacles that can throw your organization off course. But a thorough gap analysis, an assessment of what lies ahead, and a stellar customer relationship strategy will put your company on the right path toward CRM success.


And to improve your chances of success, attend our annual CRM Evolution conference, which is moving to the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., May 23–25, 2016. As in past years, this year’s event will feature an impressive group of analysts, consultants, and CRM practitioners covering a wide range of CRM topics. CRM Evolution will coincide with our Customer Service Experience and SpeechTEK conferences. If you’re interested in attending these events as well, sign up for an All Access Pass, which gives you access to more than 120 presentations across all three events. 

David Myron is the Editorial Director of CRM magazine. He can be reached at dmyron@infotoday.com and on Twitter @dmyron.


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