« How Many Sales Reps Does it Take to Change a...? | Main | Too Much »

Goal or Target?

When I first started getting heavily involved within CRM as a consultant, back in the last millennium, I did a lot of surfing around the web to see what others had to say about it. Many posted definitions that were offered up for others to consider, even though this was before the era of the blog. The most prolific authors pushing commentary on the topic of CRM tended to include the concept of “customer centrism” within their definitions. I will disclose to you all here and now that at first I bought in to this idea.

When I think about the concept of centrism the image of concentric rings comes to mind - a bevy of PowerPoint slide variations dance in front of minds eye with the customer in the center and other business functions surrounding the customer in expanding interaction orbits. Essentially these images are portrayed as targets with the customer as the bull’s-eye.

Twellman on Goal

But I don’t buy it any more - CRM is not just about becoming customer centric, unless of course that is the strategy that your business chooses. You don’t have to become a customer-centrist in order to build an effective CRM strategy and achieve beneficial CRM outcomes. Interestingly though, I am starting to see the centrism thing pop up again in the blogosphere.

The goal of CRM should be to maximize or optimize the results of your complete span of customer interactions. These results, which I prefer to call outcomes, really fall into three categories of business benefits. This is something I have outlined in previous postings on this site, but in summary, these outcomes can either result in some form of revenue growth, cost savings, or customer perceived value.

Becoming customer centric will most likely assist you with finding means for providing more customer value. But it may not help you reduce costs or improve revenue. Why would you want to choose a CRM strategy that limited you to only one of the three possible types of outcomes unless you already had those nailed?

My advice is to determine what centristic balance is required to achieve the needed outcomes for the business. Are you too product focused or are you too marketing focused? Maybe putting in a bit more focus on the voice of the customer would a good thing. Is it a good thing to swing the pendulum completely to the other side? Maybe, but it is not the answer for everybody. It is also possible to be too customer focused. Yes, I know this is likely considered CRM heresy by many of you out there.

Maximize your outcomes as your goal for CRM and place your strategy for managing customer interactions in the bull’s-eye.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)