When setting a company's strategies for growth and profitable customers, CEO's, CSOs, and CMOs face diverse challenges and problems. Decisions involve (among others) marketing, sales and customer service. Although these functions interact, too often they operate individually to the detriment of both the company and its customers.
One of today's top five challenges for CEOs, reported by the Conference Board in its "CEO Challenge 2015" report, is "customer relations."
For better customer relations, yielding more profitable customers, companies are increasingly using
As a technology, CRM is typically overseen by IT, sales, marketing and customer-service personnel; however, because CRM is also a business strategy, CEOs must actively lead their company's CRM investment and not merely observe what's happening. Indeed, a key factor in the success of a CRM system is C-level initiative and support.
What CEOs Should Do for Customer-relation Strategies to Succeed
Some companies do not use CRM effectively. One reason is that many C-level executives do not realize CRM's power and, thus, do not fully support this sales-marketing-customer-relations tool.
Here are 7 actions CEOs can take to help assure that their strategies for customer relations will succeed:
(1) Realize that CRM is primarily a customer-driven business strategy and second a technology. But because it is often thought of only as a technology, CEOs often relegate CRM decisions to middle management and IT. It is because CRM is more importantly a strategy, CEOs who set strategies must lead the way and take "ownership" of the CRM system and not merely support it from the sidelines. And because CEOs establish their company's strategies and visions, they best know what is expected. CEOs can also inspire and empower. Moreover, when a new system reaches across many functions, some departments and personnel may resist, or company politics may arise or the system may not run smoothly. In these cases, C-level management can better take care of these matters than mid-level managers.
(2) Spend one-on-one time with end users: marketing and sales managers, sales reps and customer-service personnel. This will help you understand current inefficiencies and problems such as nonproductive time on manual tasks that could be automated with CRM. Perhaps even new opportunities for more ambitious strategies.
(3) Realize that CRM is not about management reporting but rather end-user productivity and how it affects managers' ability to do their job and scale growth. With end users, discuss your own concerns and frustrations, such as things falling through the cracks, insufficient data or hard-to-get data and how this affects everyone's ability to do their job and scale growth. If end users become more productive and more effective with customers by everyone being on the same page and customer focused, guess what happens? You are getting the reports you need and the organization is growing.
(4) Get involved in the CRM vendor selection process. Attend and be an active participant in vendor presentations. Your participation sends a clear message that getting the right CRM system and the right strategic focus is important to the success of not only the project but the organization's growth.
(5) For your customer relations strategies that are short term, realize that CRM's benefits are long term. CRM is a journey, not a destination. You should expect your
(6) Be aware that competitors who have CRM may have a one-or two-year advantage. "Snooze and you lose." If you are not aware of how often your team is talking with your customers, then, most certainly, your competitors are talking with them.
(7) Seek outside help (a seasoned partner) for the CRM system. Do not rely solely on in-house departments. But do instill a homogenous team of players. Deploying a CRM system is like building a house; for example, how solid are the skill sets of your in-house team, for the first time, to design the structure, lay the foundation, run all the utilities, get all the walls and windows in the right location for optimal traffic flow and all the while nailing down effective user acceptance?
How CRM Will Help CEOs' Customer-relation Strategies Succeed
Successful business is all about finding, serving, and keeping satisfied, loyal customers. With C-level management commitment and sales, marketing, and customer-service teams devotedly onboard, CRM's benefits extend across the entire company. Examples:
• CRM returns $5.60 for every dollar spent, according to Nucleus Research (Boston, MA).
• Reduced costs, increased profits and boosted market share through more efficient operations; for example, (a) The sales team can call on customers with more relevant messages and, thereby, improve closing rates; and (b) by eliminating sales reps' unproductive administration time, reps can make more calls.
• Improved decision making by having the right information at the right place and at the right time. Reports are quickly prepared for all management levels, and everyone is on the same page, helping to assure that nothing slips through the cracks.
• Increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, sales and retention via more personalized services and
• Through standardized techniques and with a 360-degree view of company operations, more easily find and keep profitable customers.
• More targeted marketing campaigns and more up-sell and cross-sell opportunities via better customer profiling, such as knowing customers' needs, preferences and buying patterns.
A CRM system that is a customer-centric strategy provides a competitive advantage for CEOs, CMOs, and CSOs to respond to challenges, solve problems, and capitalize on new opportunities. Microsoft's Dynamics CRM combines processes, technologies, and people so you can better understand, serve, and retain your customers. To learn how CRM can help you lead your company toward more profitable customers, please call me . . .
Bob, 800-897-9807, x224