Why it pays to record frequent and direct interactions with customers

Is it any wonder that the new mantra in business today is to become a customer-driven organization that develops enduring relationships with its consumers? Studies show that companies that have not invested in developing specific CRM Software capabilities are leaving millions of dollars in profit on the table. And that difference in performance in executing specific ERP Software capabilities account for roughly half the inequality in financial performance between top performers and average performers

So it is no surprise that companies are investing an enormous amount of effort and money in cloud based accounting software that aims to get them closer to their customers. In fact, some studies have estimated that the overall CRM market will exceed $180 billion .It is also no surprise that the main concerns of many CEOs and CIOs about POS software is how to improve loyalty (customer retention and development) as well as the bottom line (acquiring new and profitable consumers). These two concerns summon the need for organizations to consider a holistic view of their customers. This can be achieved through an innovative approach known as the “CRM Roadmap.”

But how are companies presently responding to this challenge in an environment where customers are much savvier, harder to please, more informed, have more choices, and have limited loyalty?

Some companies are implementing manufacturing software solutions, but while technology can play an important role, it is only a fraction of the overall solution. Companies need to ensure that technology solutions complement their overall strategic approach, and are flexible enough to work with an evolving strategy. Organizations, therefore, need to consider the broader potential of CRM by viewing the enterprise as a cohesive unit rather than fragmented divisions, improving critical customer processes, etc.

Constructing a CRM Roadmap that includes a comprehensive customer strategy is the first step in achieving the full potential that CRM has to offer in becoming a customer-driven enterprise.

What is a CRM Roadmap?

A CRM Roadmap is a strategic plan that identifies how an organization can meet and exceed its customers’ needs. This includes, but is not limited to, assessing how the sales, marketing and service entities work together to:

  1. gain insight from their customers (e.g. purchase history, desired products/services),
  2. produce valuable offerings/products (e.g. personalized product) and
  3. provide the ultimate customer experience (e.g. multiple touchpoints, 360 degree view of the customer).

For example, if a company’s business strategy is to develop products faster to gain unique market positioning, the capabilities that the company needs to master should be aligned with that strategy, and might include:

  Leveraging customer information from the service process (e.g. integrating customer feedback during service calls with the marketing department),

  Effectively managing product mix (measuring success by campaign), and

  Effectively managing sales channel strategy (eliminating conflict between distribution channels).


So how do organizations know which accounting software capabilities they have, and which they need to realize their strategic goal? Below are the primary steps (which have been used cross-industry, including financial services, electronics and high-tech, consumer products, manufacturing, etc.) to follow when developing a CRM Roadmap.


step 1: Gain Senior Level Sponsorship

The sponsor for a CRM Roadmap such as ERPNext effort must have a vested interest in the project and ideally has P&L responsibility for the group to be impacted. This helps develop buy-in from the senior management team and the operations staff.

A Roadmap effort without senior level sponsorship and with little cross-unit influence can diminish the returns of such an effort. As with any project an organization undertakes that involves significant change to business processes, organizational structures, or roles and responsibilities, the lack of key, influential sponsorship reduces the effectiveness of the project, since there is no driving force for implementation.


step 2: Gather Information

It is critical to gain insights of various key stakeholders and decision-makers within the organization. These insights can be acquired most effectively by holding one-on-one meetings. We use an “interview template” that consists of more than 30 questions. This template serves as the foundation for framing initial discussions with the client.


  Examples of questions that help us gauge the health of the client’s CRM include:

  How would you define CRM?

  What types of customer information is captured/tracked (acquisition/retention costs, churn, cost to serve, etc.)?

  What information would you like to know about your customers that you currently do not?

Depending on the scope and effort of the project, these meetings may include not only executives, but also individuals all the way to the front line. Given their more frequent and direct interactions with the customer, front-line personnel may know more about customer needs, preferences and concerns that may not have been communicated to the executive level.


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