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CRM at the Speed of Light, Chapter 17

Read this chapter, "CRM Strategy: First in Plan, First in Implementation, First in the Heart of the Customer," from CRM at the Speed of Light is an in-depth look at the fundamental elements of a CRM strategy. Learn about building a stakeholders team, grappling with politics, developing a CRM value proposition and business case, considering change management issues and establishing metrics to determine return on investment (ROI), among other topics.

Excerpted from "CRM at the Speed of Light," third edition, by Paul Greenberg, copyright 2004.
Published by McGraw-Hill/Osborne. For more information about this book and other similar titles, visit McGraw-Hill/Osborne.

First in Plan, First in Implementation, First in the Heart of the Customer

"The anticipation was greater than the event." Has there ever been a truer statement than this? Think about it. Do you get excited when you're planning to go to Best Buy to purchase a plasma TV or getting ready for a long cruise to the Bahamas? Then you buy the plasma TV or you go on the cruise. Within a week or two of either event, you are planning the next purchase and the next vacation. This is the way life works, isn't it? Plan, execute; plan, execute; plan, execute -- and plan again. We smack our lips in anticipation of what's next. When it comes to the big things in life, we love to dream and plan on how we are going to realize those dreams.

Then why is it that studies done by countless research agencies come up with the same conclusion? One of the primary reasons for outright failure in CRM is the inability to plan for it.

It can be even worse than just an "inability." There are numerous customers who actually think that they don't have to plan a strategy -- just install and configure software. Remember the story in Chapter 1 of the company that bought all of the CRM modules of one of the enterprise vendors? Shame on the enterprise vendor for selling it to them knowingly. Sadly, this is not particularly unusual in the annals of customer brain cramps. Adam Golden, founder and principal of change management consultancy, Major Oak Consulting, has a long history in the strategic planning world. Here's what he has to say about this:

"While some companies struggle in developing a strategy, the issue is not just the inability to plan, but something much worse, the belief that a strategy doesn't need to be developed. The reason can vary, whether it is because of a classic flaw in the project approach (driven by IT, fear of raising issues, limited budget, etc.) or because the sponsor already thinks they have the solution, but this happens in more cases than you want to believe. These companies that forgo the discipline and long-term thinking that a CRM strategy requires are the same companies that contribute to the disappointing CRM statistics such as limited sales force adoption and negative ROI."

The other problem that roams free range with lack of planning is poor planning. In fact, in 2001, Accenture and Wirthlin Worldwide queried Fortune 1000 executives and found that 74 percent felt that CRM fails due to flawed planning -- too much reliance on technology and too little on basic business planning. Ironically, it's often the same complaining management who are the culprits in this particular problem.

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