CRM The Critical Cog in Today s Business Strategy

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1 CRM The Critical Cog in Today s Business Strategy An Eagle Creek Software Services White Paper, 2012

2 While CRM has become a well known, overused acronym, it still remains a truly under leveraged concept. Implementing a CRM system has not necessarily reflected an organization s commitment to the establishment and on-going loyalty to a relationship management philosophy. However, large enterprises, having embraced CRM technology, are beginning to realize the need to adopt customer and prospect relationship and experience management strategies. This represents more than just implementing technology, which has not been a universally successful endeavor, but forces us to realize how far we have not come and how far we have yet to go. Why is CRM so important? We produce and sell in geographically dispersed markets, may not locate production, service and support resources locally, and have to integrate multiple prospect and customer touch points across Web, physical locations and mobile devices. CRM is a concept that helps companies better understand and communicate with customers, prospects, partners and other stake holders, and if adopted properly and engrained as a part of an organization s culture, can be used to differentiate and leverage a brand, and facilitate meaningful experiences that win and keep customers. CRM oriented business strategies, tactics and processes need foundational technologies which reflect their business, context and intimacy with the market if they are to be successfully implemented, integrated and supported. As CRM becomes increasingly important and visible, the need to improve on the quality of the customer experience, while effectively managing risk within cost constraints has become the top priority. Implementing CRM technologies requires specialized resources with a detailed understanding of a company s business processes as well as close proximity to key stakeholders. The early CRM system CRM was originally several things all of which exhibited similar characteristics. CRM tended to be inward facing and was: n a view into transactions (calls, conversations, interactions, response rates) n used to deliver data around efficiencies (number of responses to calls to leads to forecasts to closes) and n was reliant on internal resources (inside and field sales) to update. As a result, CRM was sometimes referred to as Customer Record Management. Eagle Creek Software Services. All rights reserved. 2

3 Even as the technology broadened to embrace more outward facing capabilities, such as service management, help desk, self-service, partner management and marketing, as well as inclusion of the actual customer these functions tended to be constrained by a silo approach. What resulted was a narrowed view of the customer or prospect, diluting our ability Effective CRM strategies enable to achieve a single, consolidated view or to deliver a more meaningful, seamless, organizations to get more personalized customer experience. CRM systems delivered greater functionality The key to doing so is using to the organization and enabled a customer self-service mentality that produced effective techniques to offer the significant cost reductions (through less manpower such as airline reservation right product or service at the systems). However, these improvements right time to the right customer. did not come without costs, in this case, increased customer and prospect frustrations with the lack of accessibility to different channels. We extended the functionality of CRM based on what it could do, not what it should do. What s changed with today s marketplace out of established customers. Tough economic conditions, such as the past few recessions, has forced companies to do more with less, and search for lower cost ways to execute operations. But a recession also encourages organizations to work smarter, not just harder. CRM strategies are now focused on improving the effectiveness of all customer acquisition and retention activities, in order to drive profitability. Effective CRM strategies enable organizations to get more out of established customers. The key to doing so is using effective techniques to offer the right product or service at the right time to the right customer. The initial objective of CRM, collecting and organizing customer data, if done properly, does enable organizations to analyze that information and apply to future opportunities, making it possible to pinpoint a specific customer s needs. Today s leaders are now investing in how to apply this data throughout all of their channels to strengthen customer relationships. However, the most important difference in today s marketplace is the shift to a buyer-centric mentality, driven in large part by the proliferation of the Internet and mobile technologies. The Internet enables consumers and organizations to easily check if they re getting a good deal, and make a change if they think they can do better. Power in the relationship has shifted from seller to buyer. In this buyer driven world, it is important to listen to how the customer wants to receive Eagle Creek Software Services. All rights reserved. 3

4 communications be it via telephone, , mobile device or even via social media. The dramatic increase in communication channels has resulted in the consumer demanding to be sold and serviced any time, any where and exactly the way they want it. What CRM needs to become In order for CRM solutions to be effective in today s technological world, all prospect and customer touch points must be consistent from one channel to another as well as be integrated. All channels must connect to create a complete and seamless customer experience driven by the individual customer s preferences. And all of this activity must be driven by the data within the CRM system. Today s customer wants to have the ability to complete a loan application online, at home whenever it is convenient for them. That same consumer wants the ability to contact a call center representative and discuss their application and the consumer expects the CSR to have complete visibility to their application. This cross channel integration is now being referred to as customer experience management, or CXM. And today s consumer is demanding a consistent, high quality, personalized relationship with their providers. The explosion of channels has exacerbated the difficulty of providing an effective CRM solution. Today s CRM system must deal with the realities of an organization s physical and social locations, Web and mobile devices, call center and field service interactions. The customer experience needs to be device and location agnostic and fully leverage the information captured throughout the customer lifecycle for every point of contact. With the worldwide explosion of social media usage, businesses must evolve to be where their customers are. The integration of social media with customer relationship management strategies is pivotal in order for organizations to optimize the power of social interactions to get closer to customers. Today s meetings and interactions are increasingly virtual and often located inside a social media or social networking site. In this environment defined by customer control and twoway dialog, organizations must engage with their customers on their terms. Social media s potential for companies to get closer to customers facilitates increased revenue, cost reduction and efficiencies. Organizations are rapidly embracing social media to create innovative social commerce programs, improve customer care and streamline customer research. However, in order to reap the benefits social media offers, organizations must invest in the effort to understand how to offer current and potential customers a reason to reach out to them via social media as well as design experiences that deliver tangible value in return for customers time, attention and data. Eagle Creek Software Services. All rights reserved. 4

5 Your employees expect no different of an approach in attacking their day-to-day challenges. Improving effectiveness means bringing a 360-degree view of the customer to all sales, call center and field service personnel in order for them to execute their assignments, whether that is making a sale, upgrading a customer or fixing a customer s problem. Access to total information about a customer, including all product and service relationships across the multiple divisions of the business, as well as Implementation of today s outside information about the customer s CRM applications has environment, is critical for delivering the effectiveness organizations seek. never required more Today s CRM is more complex Implementing today s CRM application is more complex than ever, requiring integration to more underlying data systems, such as distribution or ERP, detailed product and pricing files, customer service operations and social media outlets. However, the importance of successful CRM implementations has never been more critical to the organization. With production and service operations often pushed to third parties, managing the customer relationship has become the key asset of the business. Being able to serve a customer well is becoming the make or break element of a viable business. expansive knowledge of different technologies in order to succeed. Successful implementations require knowledge of the CRM application, the underlying database, third party databases, Web and mobile technologies and social networks. Implementation of today s CRM applications has never required more expansive knowledge of different technologies in order to succeed. Successful implementations require knowledge of the CRM application, the underlying database, third party databases, Web and mobile technologies and social networks. In today s fast paced world, business decisions increase in number and complexity and customers are demanding higher levels of service while interacting with companies through multiple channels. This poses technical and business challenges throughout an organization and as a result, analytics and business intelligence (BI) play a pivotal role in a comprehensive CRM strategy. Business intelligence is a process of leveraging customer information to enhance corporate effectiveness and improve relationships with current and target customers for enhanced profitability and competitive advantage. An often-overlooked component Eagle Creek Software Services. All rights reserved. 5

6 of CRM is the process of applying lessons learned from customer information to enhance business and customer relationships. In order for CRM strategies to be successful, it is vital to invest both time and money in defining how the information will be used and delivering that information for business advantage. Finding the right technical partner to implement CRM is critical Due to the complexities of the CRM environment and the importance of the application, IT executives demand a service partner who can both advise as well as implement, creating a successful deployment within tight budget guidelines. Implementing a new CRM strategy or application, or simply moving your current installation forward to take advantage of new release functionality is not a simple IT task that can be performed offshore. It must be done in close collaboration with the business units and the people who will be using the application to execute upon the organization s revenue and profit objectives. About Eagle Creek Software Services Founded in 1999, Eagle Creek (Eden Prairie, Minn.) is the largest United States-based IT consulting and technical services company specializing in Oracle CRM, business intelligence and enterprise software development. The company offers cost-effective, high quality software development and support services using its Dakota model, which locates three project centers in low-cost areas within the United States and utilizes a private-public strategic alliance with the state governments of North Dakota and South Dakota to train and place its more than 300 consultants. For more information on Eagle Creek Software Services, please visit our website at or contact: Simon Boardman Vice President, Marketing Eagle Creek Software Services. All rights reserved. 6

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