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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Reality Check

Customer relationship management: So much press. So much promise. So little payback.

What’s happening with CRM these days? The ability to target-message and target-market individual customers through the miracle and muscle of database management holds so much inherent appeal.

But with many companies achieving disappointing results, what are the keys to CRM success?

Ruth Stevens of eMarketing Strategy notes that the biggest cost for CRM isn’t software (as expensive as that may be). It’s the installation, systems integration, training, plus all those “post-sales” elements that chief information officers so often underplay in their ROI projections.  

Her rule-of-thumb advice to senior management: Figure out what the CRM software will cost ... then quadruple it. That’s your all-in cost.

So, what about the payback for all that investment?

If the IT department is the wellspring for the project, forget it, says Stevens. Instead, the impetus and enthusiasm for CRM must emanate from areas like customer service and product marketing.

Add to this a strong commitment from the finance department and persistent cheerleading by senior management, and your CRM initiative now has a better chance for success.


Contact Mullin/Ashley

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