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Home > Business > Special

How to be a great manager

Alexis Leon | September 14, 2007

Customer relationship management (CRM) enables you to maximize the efficiencies of marketing resources and empower marketers to acquire and develop long-term customer relationships. Marketers can analyze, plan, execute and measure all marketing activities. With CRM you gain a flexible application to power marketing success. CRM supports critical marketing processes, including the following.

Technology-Enabled Selling

Technology-enabled selling (TES) goes beyond the blind application of raw technology and deals with understanding the ways technology benefits the bottom-line. The changing face of sales is speeding the drive for TES. In consumer markets customers already expect a range of channels that offer consistent service. In the business-to-business (B2B) world the new focus on relationships and the rise of the consultant-salesperson have increased complexity and diversity.

TES has three sets of component building blocks. The first is a foundation of customer information located in company databases and manipulated either by legacy or ERP systems. The second is an infrastructure of systems that allow the company to communicate and transact business with customers; these employ telephones, faxes, personal computers and other devices. The third is a set of advanced applications that are often specific to industries or sectors.

Marketing Resource Management

Analyze, plan, develop, implement and measure all marketing activities to maximize the efficiencies of your available resources and gain visibility and control into your marketing processes. CRM helps you control and manage your budget and marketing spend. The application also allows you to facilitate collaboration among team members and coordinate marketing activities across the enterprise, increasing the speed and effectiveness of your marketing processes.

Segment and List Management

Manage enterprise customer and prospect data without the need for IT support. With CRM you can create and capture customer profile data to better target and personalize marketing messages and you can view all relevant enterprise customer information from a central point. Using an interactive, drag-and-drop interface, your marketers can perform ad hoc, high-speed customer segmentation and segment analysis and quickly identify opportunities and gain insights into customer segments with data visualization features.

Call Center Management

Call centers are rapidly emerging as a means to provide service to customers, business partners or employees. Increasingly, they are the main point of contact for customers. Call centers perform the following five functions:

  • Resolve issues or refer problems to the next level of service provider
  • Provide more information about products and services
  • Make recommendations to customers about the product or service that best suits the customer's needs
  • Take calls and monitor progress on customer requests and problems
  • Generate reports for root-cause analysis

The best call centers link voice, video and data into a comprehensive system to provide cutting-edge "customer care." A call center system and process must be constructed with the customer in mind.

Campaign Management

Analyze, plan, execute and measure marketing activities through all inbound and outbound interaction channels to build long-term profitable relationships. With CRM you can make the most of dialog marketing by implementing inbound and outbound campaigns that re both multi-channel and multi-wave. You can develop and execute the best marketing strategy using constraint based optimization techniques to determine the optimum marketing mix.

Internet Protocol Telephony

Frequently integrated into a pre-existing call center, Internet protocol (IP) telephony in Internet call centers allows customers to speak directly with call center agents while using the browser to access the company's Web site. IP technology can be used in call centers when, for example, a user is on a corporate Web site and requests technical support. The user clicks on a call button displayed on the Web page. The call button is hypertext link that activates the IP telephony software, which then connects the user with a call center agent. If the customer enters his or her customer identification number, the call center agent can access the customer's history-the products the customer is using and the problems the customer has encountered previously. Based on the customer's purchasing history, this access also enables the agent to sell upgrades or new products. This is enabled by computer-telephone integration (CTI) technology, which is available as a feature of high-end CRM software.

Field Service Management

E-business customer service also enhances field service, which is the part of customer service in which qualified representatives of a company are sent to the customer's site to resolve problems. A call center can forward an unsolved problem to an internal or external field service organization. E-enabled field service helps sales representatives by providing them with up-to-date customer and product information (including design documents and repair manuals) via the Internet. Field service representatives can check on outstanding customer queries, view their active service calls and even update the status of accounts while traveling.

Trade Promotion Management

Effectively manage trade promotions that increase brand equity and achieve sales objectives. With the CRM tools you can gain complete visibility into trade programs at each stage of their life cycles-to reduce error, improve efficiency and control trade spend.

Lead Management

Generate highly qualified, prioritized leads and automate your lead distribution process to handle leads faster. CRM enables you to align marketing and sales organizations - and extend your lead management process to partner organizations - to increase conversion rates. The application provides full visibility into the lead management process enabling you to optimize all activities.

Marketing Analytics

Leverage a wide range of analytics such as customer values; and churn scores and satisfaction scores to make profitable decisions. Insights gained form CRM help you understand why marketing activities did or did not work. The application also helps you identify business challenges and opportunities, and predict customer behaviors, anticipate their needs and create more relevant, targeted messages.

Benefits of CRM

With ERP systems in place in almost all organizations the backbone exists on which to build CRM systems. Where ERP itself with its focus on transaction processing, may have failed to deliver the anticipated benefits, CRM systems can provide tangible and measurable returns centered on customers sources of value creation.

Technology now exists that enables companies to conduct one-to-one marketing. These tools frequently available off-the-shelf are both powerful and inexpensive. They have transformed the selling and marketing landscape. Unlike some traditional forms of advertising, which are undirected and unspecified, CRM systems enable companies to communicate with customers on a personal level.

A company performing CRM provides a single corporate face to the customer wherever the customer may encounter the company: through different business units, regional offices or operational organizations within the company. Customers expect integrated, seamless, multi-channel customer services that is transparent whether the service is being provided by the company or by a third-party service providers.

The "new marketing" hinges on four key technologies: technology enabled selling, call centers, eBusiness and data warehousing/mining. In many instances, these technologies are combined to provide a seamless customer service experience. Recognizing these emerging products, ERP vendors are now investing a great deal of money to catch up. But from the marketing world's perspective they have a long way to go. As a result, in many areas companies are using best-of-breed packages with bolt-on interfaces to their existing ERP systems.

CRM packages are available that bundle many existing sales and marketing functions, such as sales force automation, all center systems and data mining with a robust technical architecture, resulting in integrated CRM with wide functionality.

Excerpted from: ERP demystified. By Alexis Leon. Publisher: Tata McGraw-Hill. Price: Rs 425

Alexis Leon is the managing director of L&L Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd. He has more than 18 years of consulting experience in the ares of software engineering, workflow automation, groupware, product design etc. 

Copyright 2008, Alexis Leon.

All rights reserved.

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