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CRM at the Speed of Light, Chapter 4

Paul Greenberg's best-selling CRM book, CRM at the Speed of Light, examines and defines the role of CRM in the enterprise. In Chapter 4, "CRM Strategy: So Many Choices, So Little Time," Greenberg outlines the various elements involved in setting a successful CRM strategy. You'll learn how to identify business objectives, establish effective and efficient processes, anticipate cultural changes, overcome technological biases, measure return on investment (ROI) on your CRM initiatives and more.


Excerpted from "CRM at the Speed of Light," second edition, by Paul Greenberg, copyright 2001.
Published by McGraw-Hill/Osborne. For more information about this book and other similar titles, visit McGraw-Hill/Osborne.

CRM Strategy: So Many Choices, So Little Time

CRM strategy is complex. Not because it involves strategy and not because it involves CRM, but because it involves both.Why would it be more complex than, say, an ERP strategy or a network strategy? Because it involves our contemporaneously defined customers. If you were developing an ERP strategy, while it would be big and it would be complicated, the level of complexity only begins to approach CRM. With ERP, you're basically involving the back office folks, the senior management, the IT department, and a smattering of others because they are the ones who will be involved in the system, be it finances, human resources, or manufacturing processes. You can even stretch the definition to include the supply chain, but that's it. With network architecture, other than some user surveys, you're really only involving the IT department because the user doesn't know much at all how the guts of an IT infrastructure work, nor do they care.

Frankly, a strategy for network architecture is pretty narrowband when it comes to ordinary humans. But CRM begins to reach all those customers who we defined in Chapter 1, so the elements are much more involved. Of course your senior management and users are involved, but your partners, vendors, and clients are also a direct consideration for involvement in the planning of how your strategy is going to work. If your CRM strategic objectives involve customer satisfaction, it probably pays to find out from the customers what satisfies them, doesn't it? Additionally, customer-facing processes dominate most organizations -- sales, marketing, customer service, and even human resources and finances to some extent are among those examples. A technology-enabled CRM strategy to meet customer-focused objectives involves the majority of any organization's people and processes.

For example, a typical grand objective of a CRM strategy is to create a unified, 360-degree view of a customer that is cross departmental. That is the holy grail for successful CRM. Ideally, if a CRM strategy succeeds, the system in place will allow any department to see whatever the appropriate view of the customer is for them in order to tend to the customer's needs, wants, and desires. However, the holy grail is something that neither King Arthur nor Monty Python ever found -- or found with enormous heartache (and heartburn) -- so be forewarned. There are multiple pitfalls in the path of a successful CRM strategy.

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