Monday, January 14, 2008

On justification for CRM investments

I've just read through an interesting article by Scott Santucci on CustomerThink. I do not neccessarily agree with his views, but the premise of his post is interesting however. What would you say if your CEO asked you "What did I get for my CRM Investment?". It's probably impossible for most CRM consultants, Sales or Services Process Owners, CIO's or IT Managers to answer that question. Why? Because most companies implementing a CRM solution "forget" to define key success factors or CRM success KPI's at the outset of their process improvement or application implementation projects or programs.

It's hard to say what the best measure of success of a CRM process improvement or CRM application implementation is, because every companies situation is more or less unique and an analysis of the current CRM environment must be made before one embarks on re-engineering processes or applications. Scott's has a point when he says a company needs to figure out what makes it's sales force tick, before embarking on a large investment in CRM technology. But this applies to every investment:

  1. define a Key Performance Indicator, or metric (number of calls, conversion rate of opportunities, quality of customer data) of what you would like to improve that is measurable.
  2. Measure continously during your project and also during the lifecycle of your new process or application.
Perhaps the best advise is to not be afraid to kill a project or discontinue an investment when it fails to yield the results you had expected at the onset. It is better to stop spending time and money on a failed initiative than to keep on investing because of a promise that an application or project would run for X number of years.

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