In my last post, My Challenge To CRM Thought Leaders, I advocated for more writing and discussion focusing on the “other” components of CRM, the “human” and the “business processes.” I used Barton Goldenberg’s statement that CRM is “40% human, 40% business process, and 20% technology.” My point was that nearly all of the writing is about CRM software, part of the “technology” component.
This is especially true if you follow CRM on Twitter. Several times I’ve gone through and done a breakdown of what the tweets regarding “CRM” were discussing. Winner by a mile and a half were those pushing software. In second were those mentioning they were executing a strategy or enrolled in a CRM training. In third place were those tweets that used “crm” as an abbreviation for “cream” either ice or sour.-)
The situation isn’t much different in the blogosphere or in e-newsletters, although those posts tend to be people marketing their own services or software, or writing about breaking news in the CRMosphere.
As you can see from the original post’s comments, I sparked a little discussion. As I write this post, three “CRM’ers” have responded, Wim Rampen, Esteban Kolsky, and John Moore.
The comments went off on a tangent about the percentages each component represented. Let me bring the discussion back to my original point which is, we need more writing and discussion about how these components interact with each other. We also need to look at how the actions and interactions of humans impact the planning and execution of the overall CRM strategy.
For example, no matter how smart your CRM strategy is, ultimately in account management, it’s what is said, done, and committed to in that last three feet between the account rep and the customer that is going to make or break the relationship. The rep must go in armed with the best data, which determines which strategy she will use. Then that rep must use professionalism and salesmanship to create the relationship. Data leads to strategy. Strategy must be interwoven with salesmanship and professionalism. A flaw in any of those can lead to failure. (But the human factor doesn’t stop there, especially if there is service after the sale.)
Or, for those of us using mass-market CRM strategies, how does failure to identify the customers’ communication preferences impact our attempt to develop relationships with them? Are we attempting to communicate too much? Too little? The wrong way? Which companies have been proactive in segmenting their customers by communication preferences and what has their success rate been?
Regardless of what percentage each component represents in the CRM “system,” I belive the “human” component has been ignored. Remember, it’s called CRM, not CDM. It ‘s the relationships, not the data that’s important.Those relationships are between human beings, not databases or organizations. I believe that, when CRM fails or stumbles, when we “round up the usual suspects,” the first one ought to be human. To me, that component has not received the attention it deserves on either the strategic or the tactical levels.