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Words That Start With Trans

This is a time of year for watching sunsets. We are more likely outside hiking, boating, grilling, or camping and that tends to put us in a perfect position to gaze west at the right time and take in the show. If you have not been there, you might be interested to hear that in Key West there is a gathering spot on the tip of the island where the crowd builds up just before the magic moment. And, upon its completion, the sunset always gets a rousing applause from the appreciative, if not inebriated, onlookers.

People don’t applaud the sun at 2:19 in the afternoon down in Key West, but they will at 8:19 in the evening. What has the sun accomplished at one moment that was not accomplished at the other? That moment at 8:19 PM is a transformational event. We transform from bright to dim, from blue to multi-color, from sun to moon, from work to party. At 2:19 it is just another transaction – the sun moves another degree in the sky – no transformation.

Eagle Sunset 2

These two words that start with trans have been around the world of CRM with much hype for over a decade. But, I must say, I believe it is no longer just hype. I have seen the Promised Land and I know every CRM program can get there. More and more companies are truly building CRM programs that produce the value of transformation. You can move from transactional to transformational CRM, and I encourage you to do it.

So, what is this transformational thing all about? The way it was first explained to me is what has always worked best in my thinking. The watch is worth more than the sum of its parts. When assembled, the watch is transformed into a device that indicates time. The parts unassembled on the workbench can’t do all that much. With a good design and the correct assembly, the watch becomes a time piece. The better the assembly, the better the result. CRM is the same.

If we monitor prospective customer activities, which are indicators of buying interest, we can combine them together to predict when the prospective buyer is ready. Similarly, we can monitor customer behavior, especially patterns of reduced buying, which can predict turnover and trigger actions to improve retention. When we compare sales activity with buying patterns, especially within long-term sales cycles, we can identify which activities create the best conversion and improve close rates. If we measure buying volumes of distinct customer segments, we can match them to the appropriate channel to reduce the cost of sale or service.

Each of these examples represents a transformational situation. More value is gained through the correct combination of activity and data. There are many more examples to provide and if we were to look at the similarities in the examples we would identify the following characteristics of transformational CRM. Typically we are measuring multiple touch points with a prospect or customer that occur over multiple channels of customer reach. Multiple data elements are brought together representing multiple dimensions of measurement (i.e., sales activity, customer activity, time, buying outcome). Transformational CRM is all about synergy – combining data, collaboration of customer facing groups, bringing together different things to create more knowledge and, therefore, smarter action.

All of this combination of stuff requires some coordination. The watch maker has a design, knows the parts, is skilled in the assembly, and has access to all the required tools. Likewise, transformational CRM requires policies that encourage collaboration, processes that foster collaboration, tools that assist with the capture and aggregation of data, plus all the requisite skills to make it work.

Even the sunset requires collaboration. The switch from transactional to transformational astronomical activity begins when this all goes from one a one planet operation to a two planet operation. Once the sun and earth cooperate, we start the transformation. Even the moon can get into the act, rising at the right time to kick in some extra ambiance.

So, enjoy a sunset tonight and perhaps that will trigger a thought for enhancing your transformational CRM capabilities.

Don’t forget to applaud.

Eagle Sunset 1

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