“It's only very recently that the CRM ideal has been rendered realistic due to the advent of cloud-technology and the introduction of advanced CRM software,” writes The Independent, which defines CRM as “organizing interactions with customers, particularly sales transactions and client communication, using facilitating software.”
Cut those last three words off that sentence and it’s a fair definition. Adding anything about the tools one uses to interact with customers introduces a dangerous mindset that CRM is “about” the technology, not the needs and strategies which dictate the choice of technology.
You do not need software to do CRM correctly. Sure in most cases it really helps, but all software does is act as a tool to accomplish the job of CRM. It is not the CRM.
The feature does note that CRM software vendors are as guilty as anyone of fostering such confusion, writing correctly that “in the past CRM has been used as a nebulous buzzword, reaching its management-speak zenith in the 1990s, but the software never lived-up to the hype due to poor usability and an inability to meet the complex demands that underpin a client relationship.”
In other words, expensive systems were irresponsibly oversold to clients as a silver bullet answer. Cloud-based CRM systems such as Salesforce are just as liable to be oversold as magic wands as any truck-ful of SAP (News - Alert) installed product.
Yes, the proliferation of online options does lower the bar to entry for CRM tools considerably, but that just means it’s easier to be gulled into thinking that you’ve “done” CRM by signing up for the service, without having planned out why you need CRM, what you want it to accomplish and exactly how a tool will help you achieve business objectives.
“Gartner (News - Alert) forecasts the CRM software market to experience continued growth through 2012 when revenue is forecast to reach $13.3 billion,” the article states. It amounts to “over 10 percent of the predicted $100 billion of global digital spend in 2012,” but if such products aren’t embraced by employees and especially if they aren’t well-thought out tools to achieve non-tech goals, then cloud CRM could be a waste of money.
Want to learn more about cloud communications? Then be sure to attend the Cloud Communications Expo, collocated with TMC’s ITEXPO East 2012 taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. The Cloud Communications Expo will address the growing need of businesses to integrate and leverage cloud based communications applications, process enhancement techniques, and network based communications interfaces and architectures. For more information on registering for the Cloud Communications Expo click here.
Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Tammy Wolf