How can CRM be improved upon?
The biggest shortcoming in many CRM implementations is usually not related to software functionality at all. Rather, initiatives that do not deliver on their success targets can more often than not be attributed to a lack of a clearly defined strategy and implementation plan.
The assertion that the secret to CRM success lies in software is dangerous for enterprises and vendors alike, because it ignores the critical strategy and implementation elements that truly drive success. The truth is that software and project failure are not strongly linked. That is probably because software vendors are rarely involved in the development of the enterprise's CRM strategy, and only about 25 percent of the time does the software vendor perform the implementation. Regardless of who manages the development of the strategy and implementation, it is critical that they be done both carefully and thoroughly.
If a project is undertaken with a flawed or incomplete strategy and implemented with no attention to details, such as data integrity, unity of purpose among IT and business organizations, or user adoption, the project is likely to fail. Ironically, it will have been deemed a failure and probably abandoned long before the software can be adequately tested and evaluated.
CRM strategy guides how an enterprise turns customers into assets, beginning with an understanding of the current customer base in relation to the market. Because fewer than 15 percent of enterprises understand this relationship, most skip this vital planning step. They begin instead with tactical initiatives - which becomes the primary reason for CRM failure. CRM benefits are achieved when customer insight is captured, analyzed and applied to increase the quality of communication and to deliver relevant value-added services. Technology and the Internet economy are increasing the opportunity (and the expense) of understanding customer needs. Therefore, knowing what is possible and managing available funds to optimize benefits are crucial.
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