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Best practices for managing CRM implementation projects to avoid the common sources of failure

CRM projects are well-known for high failure rates since there are many different obstacles along the way that can derail the initiative. In this article I will look at some of the typical challenges and ask experts how problems can be avoided. Some of these obstacles to projects occur as a direct result of poor preparation. For example, in a study of over 500 individuals involved in CRM projects by Forrester Research, two-fifths (40%) reported that some of the biggest challenges they encountered related to CRM strategy, such as a lack of clearly defined objectives. Other CRM obstacles are tools-related. In the Forrester study, a third (35%) reported that they had experienced challenges related to technology deficiencies,…

Which measures are best for evaluating CRM programmes?

There is certainly no shortage of things to measure in the world of customer relationship management. With modern CRM systems straddling multiple departments, disciplines and channels, it’s a number crunching nightmare. 'CRM technology can deliver benefit in lots of different ways,' explains Richard Boardman, founder of Mareeba Consulting. 'You might use it for lead management purposes to help you increase the number of leads you get and the percentage that you convert to end business. It can be used to help you manage your existing customers more effectively and sell more to them. It can be used to help you with your marketing communications or improving the quality and speed of fulfilment of your products and services or streamlining your support operation. It really can be used in lots and lots of different ways.' Indeed, it may even be used to do…

An introduction to the benefits of CRM systems for small and medium businesses

Opportunities can be fleeting without the correct tools to serve your clients. Unfortunately, many smaller businesses are falling behind in their use of technology and missing out on potential sales opportunities. According to a recent survey, only 34% of small business owners use technology for customer relationship management, and only 18% have marketing data fully integrated with their CRM. To remain competitive, your business must be able to compile information, analyze data to create dependable leads, and actively build relationships with customers. A marketing-driven CRM has the power to simplify these time-consuming tasks and take your company’s sales strategy to the next level.

A marketing-driven CRM can help you:

 1. Analyze relevant data

To help qualify a lead, a CRM tool can track demographic and risk-related information for an agency. If you’ve…

The truth hurts: Why CRM is still growing but still gruelling

A cursory glance at the headline statistics for the CRM marketplace demonstrates a sector that is apparently in rude health. And in purely financial terms, this is undoubtedly the case. A multi-billion dollar industry forecasting robust growth in the coming years, CRM is creeping its way up the agenda of CEOs and CIOs. Even the global economic downturn couldn’t dent its progress, during which it was one of the few software markets that continued to thrive. But if you scratch beneath the surface of these statistics and forecasts, the CRM sector is not all sweetness and light. And while it has progressed far from its problematic early days of aborted implementations and expensive zombie systems, there are still challenges underpinning a large proportion of CRM projects. It’s time to shed some light on the world of CRM.

CRM gathering pace

Worldwide CRM software revenue…

A common buzzword, but what's involved in practice?

I recall that years ago, customers and prospects were often categorised in a simpler way than today. For example, they were simply assigned as a 'warm/hot prospect’ due to a recent contact or purchase,  ranked by a geo-demographic coding to living in a particular postcode, or simply having an affiliation to the product. 

Today (and for some time) we talk about the 360 degree customer view, but what does this mean in practice? We like the infographic since it suggests what we should aim for, it showcases resources, technology and data. 

As we all know, it’s more sophisticated and can be more complicated but worth the effort. Companies have access to new technology, sophisticated systems which can integrate data and access to more customer insight through ‘big data’. It’s focusing on the customer experience and realizing…

Combining CRM and Big Data to drive Loyalty

Vaughan Chandler, Head of Customer Insights at Qantas, shared their successful strategy for growth using CRM and applying Big Data at the recent eCircle/Teradata Connect conference. In this case study, I summarise how they are using data and innovation to understand their customers, drive loyalty and ultimately increase ROI. Qantas is Australia's largest international and domestic airline, with many sub-brands to it's name including Qantas Loyalty. With 9 million members, more than 400 programme partners, and 50% household penetration - Qantas Loyalty is extremely successful: Focus on data and creating real-value through their communication; collecting data, segmenting and using technology, with targeted email campaigns is key. Qantas started in 1997 as a Frequent Flyers programme for high flyers and in 2007 created their Qantas Loyalty, launching …

Implement a CRM system and your prayers will be answered? Greater efficiency, improved customer service and conversion rates …..

The arguments for implementing a CRM system are well known: improve the number and quality of leads; improve quality of service and increase customer retention.  But that’s the theory of course... A system is only as good as the people who own and support it; or it can lead to poor quality leads, unsatisfactory customer experience, damaged reputation to the company, inconsistent processes and a lack of a shared working strategy to deliver the business case. In this post I’ll share my experience in selecting and managing a CRM system for a public sector organisation to show some of the problems that can develop and what to watch out for. Here are my tips learnt in the first year of implementing a system within a…

A brief review of 4 E-CRM alternatives suitable for a small business or not-for-profit company

I recently evaluated online E-CRM services for a contemporary art gallery. Dave Chaffey suggested I share my evaluation with Smart Insights readers since it may be useful for others taking the same decision for a small business. This follows on from a question I answered in the Smart Insights LinkedIn Group as to the issues to consider when selecting a CRM or email marketing system. The review was also a fantastic opportunity to look generally at the CRM market place and consider what CRM system I should have in place for my own marketing consultancy business. At the outset I had a number of requirements in mind including: the security of data (based on the supplier assurances and, for US suppliers, the Safe Harbor scheme); lists; custom fields; bulk email; online data capture; mobile access; back ups; auto-updates…

Is customer experience management the new CRM?

This year, many CRM vendors and commentators are hailing the age of customer experience management, raising the question of whether we are witnessing a sea change in CRM? When SAP held its Influencer Summit in February, the vendor revealed it would be repositioning the focus of its CRM proposition from ‘relationship’ to ‘experience’.This wasn’t altogether a huge surprise. Last year, SAP executives Reza Soudagar, Vinay Iyer, and Volker Hildebrand, published a book reflecting this flavour, entitled The Customer Experience Edge. Indeed, Vinay Iyer told MyCustomer.com that customer experience was “beyond” CRM in a recent video interview by BPT Partners. At Oracle’s Steve Fearon, vice president, applications sales development, alliances & CRM On Demand EMEA recently said: "Customer relationship management is the corner stone of a customer-centric approach, but as the brand needs to be able to address the customer…

6 E-CRM Trends to consider for 2012 planning

I've recently asked several CRM specialists including Paul Greenberg and Shaun Smith to describe how they see the key ECRM trends from 2011 which will also be important in 2012. I've picked out 5 key trends

E-CRM Trend 1. Brands as curators

Shaun Smith, founder of Smith+co believes there are a number of innovations that have become more popular this year as businesses seek to deliver deeper customer experiences. This includes brands positioning themselves as curators to ensure that they provide added value to their customers. “Increasingly, brands that are really clear about what they stand for have the credibility and the authority to be able to recommend other things associated with that brand,” he explains. “So Nike, for example, has an app called True City that will recommend all the best places to go to in a city you are unfamiliar with. If you like driving, BMW…