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Getting Real CRM Value

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Posted March 15, 2001 By Staff     Feedback

Many flailing dot-coms are looking to CRM software to build customer loyalty, forgetting that technology alone isn't enough.

Many flailing dot-coms are looking to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to build customer loyalty, forgetting that technology alone isn't enough.

"There are a lot of wonderful CRM tools, but if you don't know what you want to do with them, you're going to waste them," says Ronni T. Marshak, senior vice president of the Patricia Seybold Group, an e-business consulting firm.

These days hundreds of companies are pushing products that promise to ignite sales, engender loyalty and leave CRM-less competitors in the dust. Sites looking to flaunt some CRM package as a talisman to create an immediate, lucrative bond with customers are, however, missing the point.

A strong customer relationship strategy is way more important than any package -- in fact, any CRM product without a clear strategy behind it is a waste of money.

According to Marshak, a CRM package only has real and tangible value if it is backed by a strategy. "You should first create specific CRM goals and then use technology to implement that strategy," she advises.

In building a robust customer relationship objectives should include reducing the cost of acquiring new customers, cross-selling and up-selling to existing customers, closing more sales, targeting more lucrative markets, and creating conditions to make those goals more obtainable. "Most of those conditions have nothing to do with CRM technology itself," adds Marshak.

"A company that wants to become truly customer-centric rather than just paying lip service to the notion may have to reengineer fundamental business processes and change prevailing attitudes altogether," she concludes.

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