Connections Inside and Outside the Enterprise Are Crucial To CRM

Successful customer-centric organizations depend on reliable and focused collaboration among sales, marketing, and service resources both inside and outside a company, a point driven home by keynote speaker Stephen Elioff during the DCI CRM Conference & Exposition in New York City on Wednesday. Elioff, vice president and CRM program director at AGF Management Limited, a Canada-based mutual fund provider, said that his company's key to CRM success revolves around bringing sales, marketing, and service to act as one in coordinating with the broker-dealers that resell AGF's products. "We had some real big gaps and blind spots in our organization," Elioff said. "Each one of our organizations had a completely different focus. Sales saw the customer--the dealer-representative. Marketing took a product-centric view, because that's what [it] managed, and service's view was specifically account [end customer]-related." AGF designed a customer-centric strategy with PeopleSoft and BearingPoint to blend its dealer support activities to better identify top performers, give them the support they needed, and avoid overspending on dealers who were on set taking assets away from the company. Until AGF began to take a holistic view of its business, the company didn't realize that barely more than half of its elite performers remained elite performers over a five-month period, or that 75 percent of top performers did not receive top-tier sales support. Elioff led a program of both technological and process change to alter AGF's way of doing business, to bring sales and marketing goals together to attract and retain top-performing agents, and to optimize support costs across more accurately tiered field agents. Maintaining that unity is critical to ongoing success, but no amount of cultural change will stand if data cannot flow freely and reliably. "We couldn't just put this technology in and make it work,' Elioff said, "we had to break down barriers in the organization. Sales, marketing, and service had to return to their once-integrated roots."
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