Having just talked to Rob who mentioned CRM it took me back to a time when I'd developed CRM solutions and implemented CRM packages. It was whilst working as an external consultant. Believe me I've seen many different ways the systems are used, or abused.
No one can argue that Customer Relationship Management, more commonly known as CRM, is a vital part of marketing and sales.
Cheap and cheerful contact management systems like ACT! have grown into pretty good CRM solutions. You can even use Microsoft Outlook as a CRM solution.
If you've more than 50 people you can go to Microsoft's or Sage's CRM offerings.
And if you're big you'll probably plump for Siebel or SAP.
But it doesn't matter what package you use if your company can't agree on answers to the following questions:
- How do we want our customers to feel after doing business with us?
- Which parts of the organisation "touch" the customer - directly or indirectly that need access to the CRM system?
- What information must we hold that helps our customers - both in services and sales
- How are prospects found and used?
- What information must we hold to allow prospects and quotes to easily convert to customers and orders?
- What further information do we need to make the customer experience with us seamless?
- Are there any customers we should make redundant?
- Can we articulate our strategy to see if we need a CRM solution?
So if you're thinking of making your customer experience with your company better think about the 8 questions and look at how you do business with them first before investing in a computerised system.