I know where your mind went when you read the acronym “CRM”! Your noggin retrieved the name of the software, tool, or technology you use to manage sales leads and opportunities. Maybe also marketing and support activities. My noggin goes there also, but begrudgingly. I am a relationship guy, so it is tough for me to see “C.R.M.” and not spell out what it stands for. It stands for Customer Relationship Management. And AS a relationship guy, the R hits me square in the brain and compels me to ask, “what aspect of the customer relationship is this ‘CRM’ actually managing?”
I know, I know… It is an uphill battle to keep people from first thinking of CRM as tech. However, CRM was at some point in history SUPPOSED to define a company’s plan for winning and keeping customers, the strategy for managing customer relationships. Then, at some point (I think 1999) some technology company thought,
“Hey, people want this thing called customer relationship management” so let’s call our software THAT… CRM has a ring to it. We can tell people it is a complete enterprise solution that manages the customer lifecycle end-to-end and can be implemented in 60 days.”
YEAH!…. well… NO! I am not sure when and how the strategy and the technology parted ways but today RELATIONSHIPS are not the driving force of most CRM technology implementations. The people deciding the types of relationships that best align with their business and how those relationships see value, equity, and value co-creation AND those who implement CRM technology solutions are not working towards the same end. Many times, technology is evaluated and implemented before anyone asks about the strategy for acquiring, retaining, or enriching customer relationships, much less getting those relationships to become advocates for your brand. And because it is the type of relationship that defines a customer’s need, it is also difficult to build a customer experience (CX) strategy that works. What I mean is that the type of relationship a customer wants is based on needs. Those needs define the cost people are willing to pay. That cost drives the experience you can afford to create and subsequently the tools you need to manage that experience. So, as much as I promote the need for CX strategies, you first must understand the types of relationships that align with your business model. Ergo, concordantly, and irrevocably (sorry, I just finished watching The Matrix)… you MUST design your customer relationship strategy before you implement a tool that helps you execute it.
Read more in my book, Speaking Frankly About Customer Relationship Management.
At congruentX we believe that starting with expectation-setting and a human-centered approach to CRM design will help you get CRM right. If you are struggling with CRM technology adoption or not getting ROI from your CRM investment, let us help you. It only takes a 20-minute call to learn more. We will send you a copy of Speaking Frankly About Customer Relationship Management as a thank you.
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