Saturday, August 06, 2005

Can CRM Really Support Marketing and Sales Warriors?


On his way to challenging the very foundation of many of today's CRM systems, Louis Columbus builds his rationale from three observations about the most successful sales warriors he's worked with at Cincom and at former companies he has worked for or consulted with.

In watching the best salespeople work, here is what becomes apparent: (1) Relationships rule over process. (2) The best salespeople have simple, manual systems that have relationships in the center, not just transactions. (3) Integration rules.

Louis, you are smack on. I suspect at the base level somewhere this is one of the unintended mis-firings of many failed CRM implementations. The same could be said for creating "marketing warriors."

The marketing and sales professions are blurring as marketers now have 1:1 marketing strategies that communicate to prospects and customers at the individual customer level -- simulating what a sales rep does in the field. This calls for greater and greater coordination between marketing and sales, and a sense of shared ownership in the success of winning trust with customers and moving those customers step-by-step into a positive relationship.

In the end, the key measures are not "transactions." Instead, they are on softer attributes that govern a personal relationship and build on contextual relevance. CRM systems are not yet good at detecting and managing these personalization attributes, so it often takes brute force by marketers and salespeople to create and grow such relationships.

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