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Expecting too much from CRM?

CRM with a twist.
In the construction industry, much of what we track and perform market analysis on is based on a project. A project can include many contacts(owner, specific architect in a firm, specific general contractor in a firm, numerous subcontractors, etc) that all relate to one project. Of course, there can be numerous projects with all their related contacts.

Within a project, there is specific information (20-25 data elements) tracked, analyzed and reported in addition to the contacts, correspondence, conversations, etc (what I've always thought as typical CRM data). The specific information only relates to the project.

My question is: How do CRM products create this relationship or is this a case where we want too much from a CRM system (i.e. add-on to a CRM product to provide this similar to Service/help desk module?) Some of the vendors discuss using a status of "project" or "Job" that will perform the function, but I don't see how this will work.
CRM products, powerful as they are, don't create the relationship. What they can do is facilitate the management of the relationship, optimizing the interactions that result from the prospect/customer and vendor doing business. The question is whether knowing some or all of those data elements can enhance the relationship. I'd suspect that analysis would show that at least some of those data elements could be used to predict project complications and the likelihood of future business as well as project ROI. Some may also be redundant in their usefulness. Knowing and communicating job status is central to successful CRM and project execution, but it's an internally generated variable. It can be used reactively, as when the customer calls and asks for it, or it can be used proactively to trigger alerts that lead to an internal understanding and proper resolution before the customer calls.


This was last published in October 2003

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