The Next Big Thing Is the “CRM” Thing with New Features Galore

The Next Big Thing Is the “CRM” Thing with New Features Galore
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But don’t forget the People-Process-Technology axiom for success 

Jean Young, Vice President, ISM

Over the years I have seen an endless number of the “next big thing” headlines. The latest answer to making you and your business successful may become an integral part of your business … or not.  But, “knowing”, selling to and servicing your customers requires a foundation – a CRM system tailored to your organization’s uniqueness.

ISM Founder-President Barton Goldenberg coined what I consider the most comprehensive and on-target definition of CRM:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business strategy that integrates people, process and technology to maximize relationships with customers. It is a comprehensive approach that provides seamless collaboration between all customer-facing functions including sales, marketing and customer service. CRM focuses on using a 360-degree view of the customer to improve customer satisfaction and engagement with an organization’s brand, products and services.

I talk with a number of ISM clients, many who turned to ISM for guidance after their CRM program faltered or failed. We know more than 50% of CRM programs do just that… either disappear in the dusk or barely live on. Finding the next big thing seems an easier task than adhering to a roadmap, which ISM recommends, that guides each critical step of your CRM initiative – from strategy to implementation.

The good news is you can get the next big thing with today’s CRM software, which includes the latest offerings to be successful in today’s digital world. Barton outlined these features in a CRM Magazine column late last year:

  • Integration with social media applications.
  • Availability of social media functionality.
  • Social media customer assistance options.
  • Use of big data analytical tools in CRM solutions.
  • Mobile CRM offerings and a move toward real-time CRM.
  • CRM offerings via the SaaS model.
  • Gamification applications in CRM software.

But, Barton warns that “technology is just one of three core components (and about 20 percent) of a successful CRM system implementation. The others are process (30 percent) and people (50 percent).” He warns that it is “critical that your organization automates core business processes aimed at securing internal efficiency and productivity gains as well as a better external customer experience.”

He also emphasizes “that your company takes the time to understand what change management activities (e.g., training, communications, rewards and incentives) will be required to ensure the goal of high CRM software user adoption, and that it allocates the appropriate level of time, money, and effort to achieve this goal.”

So, the “Next Big Thing” is here, but like most real solutions, it requires focus and hard work.