Once, when a deal sounded too good to be true, we used to wait for the catch. Now, thanks to customer relationship management, we wait for the upsell, according to a CRM buyers' guide from Technology Evaluation Centers.
Though CRM has the potential to do so much more, many organizations have focused on deploying CRM solutions as a way to wring a few extra dollars out of those with whom they already do business, says the 2011 Customer Relationship Management Buyer's Guide: Innovations in CRM. You can't blame them. With one recession seeming to follow another every few years, the old adage that it's easier to keep an old customer than find a new one has never been so true. Besides upselling, CRM has also been used to facilitate a lot of cross-selling, particularly in organizations so large that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is selling, or to whom. But this is an impoverished way of thinking about CRM, and over time the best and brightest chief information officers will approach it differently.
When deployed properly, CRM gives enterprises not only an insight into the opportunities to grow business with each customer, but a way of measuring their value. Though we tend to think of them en masse, not all customers are created equal. Some are a drain on customer service resources despite spending very little. Other customers do business frequently, adopt new products and services, and may even be strong influencers to their peers. Sales and marketing efforts toward the latter group can be prioritized accordingly. As the available data aggregates, CRM should also provide companies with a way of better understanding customer needs and wants in order to improve their portfolio and the way it is offered to customers. Much more than a contact database, CRM should be an engine that drives customer trust.
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