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CRM definition and solutions

Thomas Wailgum | April 19, 2017
Get up to speed on customer relationship management, with CRM definitions, solutions and strategies.

For more on the cloud vs. on-premises CRM decision, read why one company left their legacy CRM behind and made the move to cloud.

Which division should run the CRM project?

The biggest returns come from aligning business, CRM and IT strategies across all departments and not just leaving it for one group to run. The reason for this, as Moira Alexander writes, is that "in most companies, individual departments or teams believe they hold the key to understanding customer needs more than other areas of the business. But the reality is that different departments simply have a different view into customer expectations and none has an all-encompassing view."

In fact, it’s best for the business departments who actually use the software to take ownership of the project, with IT and the CIO playing an important advisory role.


What causes CRM projects to fail? 

Many things. From the beginning, lack of a communication between everyone in the customer relationship chain can lead to an incomplete picture of the customer. Poor communication can lead to technology being implemented without proper support or buy-in from users. For example, if the sales force isn't completely sold on the system's benefits, they may not input the kind of demographic data that is essential to the program's success. One Fortune 500 company is on its fourth try at a CRM implementation, because it did not do a good job at getting buy-in from its sale force beforehand and then training sales staff once the software was available.


What industries are leading the way in CRM implementations?

As in most leading-edge technology implementations, the financial services and telecommunications industries set the pace in CRM. Other industries are on the CRM bandwagon include consumer goods makers and retailers and high-tech firms.


Which industry is behind the curve?

Heavy manufacturing. As a rule, the further an industry is away from the end customer, the less important CRM is.


More on customer relationship management:


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  • 5 Dreamforce takeaways to guide your CRM strategy
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  • How to fix a broken CRM pipeline
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    In many industries, the revenue generation function — sales and marketing — is the single biggest cost of running the business. Yet it’s also the most unreliable. That’s why tightening up the business processes with CRM systems is so important to profitability. Here’s how to tell if your company’s revenue generation process is up to modern standards.
  • 11 CRM best practices
    In today’s multichannel retail world, having a database of customer names, contact information and purchase history is not enough. If you truly value your customers, you need to not just focus on customer management but on building long-term relationships. These best practices can help organizations – specifically their marketing, sales and customer service departments – do just that.


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