The Changing Face of “CRM”

To date, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has been almost exclusively focused from the seller’s point of view. The three main areas of focus have been:

  • Sales Force Automation
  • Customer Service and Call Center Automation
  • Marketing Automation

In all of these cases, the point of view is seller-centric. The selling organization is in charge of managing all aspects of the relationship, including gathering information about the customer.  This information has then been used by the selling organization to achieve the following goals:

  • Provide management a better view into the pipeline, and give sales force access to more complete information about their prospects (Sales Force Automation)
  • Provide customer service a better view into past customer inquiries and current customer information. This information is then used to resolve the inquiry and/or, cross-sell and upsell existing customers at the point of contact (Customer Service and Call Center Automation)
  • Enable an organization to cross-sell and upsell existing customers, and for brand building (Marketing Automation)

However, a number of emerging IT areas are starting to challenge this model of seller-centricity.  CRM systems are evolving to take the customer into account more aggressively, and there are an increasing number of discussions around how enterprise social networking can be used to bring individuals within organizations closer together.

So…what do you think?  Will emerging IT capabilities in the areas of CRM, enterprise social networking, (and even…gasp…blogging) bring about a change in the way individuals do business together, leading to more democratization and a greater voice of the customer?  Or, will these capabilities be just a blip on the radar, when viewed five years from now?

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