Crm maximizing crm effectiveness during lean times
Maximizing CRM Effectiveness
During Lean Times
relation to customer relationship
“A downturn is management this behavior could be both a
short- and long-term detriment to your
a terrible thing business success. In fact, an article in The
McKinsey Quarterly cites the risk of
to waste.” making wholesale reductions in IT
spending. “Simplistic cuts, applied across
This quote, from a Home Depot vendor, the board, may endanger critical business
reinforces the premise of investing for priorities from sales support to customer
growth when times turn tough.i Yet the service.” ii McKinsey has also found that
conventional wisdom is that in the face of investments in “technology-enabled
an economic downturn, consolidation is business processes” deliver far more
the name of the game. Spend less on IT. impact than reducing costs.
Work with fewer hardware and software
vendors. And only invest in those Also, keep in mind that in an ever-
technologies that enable your organization increasing competitive environment the
to meet its most basic operational window between product conception and
requirements—in other words, reduce the innovation on one hand, and
IT budget to the minimum amount commoditization on the other hand, is
needed to support building and delivering getting ever smaller. This increases the
your product or service. Unfortunately, in need to differentiate around the customer
experience to distinguish your organization the enterprise and public domain, and then This approach integrates field assessments,
from the competition. And, of course, that identifying what products and services to real-time pipeline assessment, and historical
experience can transcend every touch sell for white-space and greenfield trend analysis to compare snapshots of
point on your company’s front line opportunities. Given that salespeople spend opportunities and forecasts over time.
including your sales, marketing, and 20 percent of their time prospecting for By correlating historical facts with
service teams; your programs, campaigns qualified leads,iii making this investment of predictions from the field, sales managers
and promotions in these areas; and your time more productive is critical. can reality-check their assumptions and
Web service channels and storefronts. set more achievable quotas. And by
Another way to increase sales effectiveness comparing what has changed in the
This brings to light one fundamental and consistency is to reduce the gap forecast week over week, organizations
question: When the economy turns between an organization’s best and worst can focus on trouble spots, get to the
around, as it will, how will your performers by instilling the practices of point quickly, and filter out blue-sky
organization be poised to take advantage the top performers across the organization. projections. For example, an “issue” could
of the next expansion? Read on to learn Consider investing in applications that end up being a sales rep in a given
six areas your organization can focus on to contain specialized sales workflow support. territory who sits on deals for too long at
improve business results. Whether it’s This feature can be configured to guide a particular stage of the sales cycle. Or it
through increasing sales effectiveness, sales professionals down the most effective could be a suboptimal product mix in a
better managing the sales pipeline, path to closing business at every point in region given local preferences.
building loyalty, improving marketing the sales process. At any sales stage, the
results, or reducing customer service costs, application presents the most relevant The best way to achieve triangulated
CRM can provide a vital boost to your information, can enforce collection of forecasting is by integrating historical
company’s top and bottom line in an critical opportunity information, or even information from a data warehouse into
adverse economic environment. automatically create tasks for any of the the analysis. World-class CRM systems
members of the opportunity team. build data warehousing directly into the
Embedding a company’s best practices into analytic process by providing analytics
1) INCREASE SALES EFFECTIVENESS the application drives higher close rates as capabilities embedded into the application
While they’re the key to driving revenue, well as shortens sales cycles and the that work hand-in-hand with “live” data.
salespeople are arguably the most expensive learning curve for new sales professionals. The ability to perform historical and
resource in your organization’s front line comparative trend analysis and match it
operations. Therefore, increasing their to current information enables sales
effectiveness and efficiency is critical. Yet 2) IMPROVE FORECASTING ACCURACY managers to anticipate changes quickly.
according to the Alexander Group, field Even during the best of times, investors This capability is delivered in a real-time
sales representatives only spend 22 percent can punish companies that fail to meet dashboard that displays key analytical data
of their time selling. And time—time spent financial targets. When the economy is graphically and can be customized to
prospecting, building proposals based on uncertain, those penalties are even more meet an individual sales manager’s needs.
knowledge of the prospect’s requirements, severe. Forecasting gives sales managers For example, a manager can view current
and selling—is their most precious headaches. Individual representatives and historical results of her accounts
commodity as well. Companies like Oracle often misstate their potential sales. and can overlay that with reports by sales
are leveraging Web 2.0 technology to Historical analysis alone is insufficient as rep, geography, industry, and other
create a new generation of sales tools a guide to the future. The most reliable relevant data.
specifically designed to increase sales user forecasting process incorporates three
productivity. One of these applications different perspectives in a discipline called
analyzes purchase patterns of existing “triangulated forecasting.” 3) ENGENDER CUSTOMER LOYALTY
customers by mining information across It is far less expensive to retain and grow
existing customers than it is to acquire
new ones. Therefore, leveraging
technologies that help organizations
increase the effectiveness of their loyalty
When the economy turns around, as it will, programs is a key way to increase
customer affinity and share of wallet, and
improve overall profitability.
how will your organization be poised to take Unfortunately, at many companies loyalty
program effectiveness is hindered by
advantage of the next expansion? fragmented data, “siloed” point solutions,
and inflexible and costly legacy systems.
This makes it difficult to gain an accurate
In both lean and expanding economies,
view of key customers and their behaviors,
bring differentiated incentives and rewards companies must seek ways of reducing the cost
to market quickly, and ensure a superior
member experience. Leveraging a
comprehensive packaged loyalty of providing service to their customers.
application that is pre-integrated with
your CRM system addresses these issues.
Such an application should include a wide first touch. Marketing automation tools in this regard. According to Forrester
range of functionality optimized for your embedded in leading CRM systems can Research, while average call center costs
industry and customer requirements. help businesses match campaigns and are $5.50 per call, the average cost per
Features could include, but not be limited even individual messages and dialogues to Web self-service transaction is just $0.10.iv
to, managing member enrollment and the characteristics of the prospect. Furthermore, in an increasingly networked
communications, guiding personalized Effective marketing is no longer a matter world, many customers prefer self-service
loyalty promotions, and incorporating of “throwing mud against the wall” to see channels because of the speed-to-
partner awards as well as managing what sticks. Messages and offers can be resolution they provide. Accordingly,
partner transactions. Furthermore, loyalty customized to address specific issues organizations are mandating that
systems should provide rich analytic within an industry, a company, or even an technology purchases for customer-facing
capabilities that deliver extensive individual prospect. Then, results can be applications focus on improving the online
information on each member including tracked to yield immediate insight on customer experience. In fact, a separate
tier status and value, transaction history, which tactics work best. Forrester report found that 86 percent of
loyalty assets, and eligible and enrolled consumer businesses cite this element as
promotions. Again, this information All of this is integrated into the sales their top technology theme.v
should be presented alongside sales and lifecycle, so that lead qualification scripts
service transactions as well as marketing are tuned to the messages and offers that Organizations should extend the footprint
preferences, which are located in the pique the prospect’s interest. Warm leads of their CRM deployment to the Web
CRM system. And loyalty program are funneled to the sales reps who are best with a single transparent multichannel
members themselves should be able to equipped to handle them. Responses can solution for delivering superior customer
gain seamless access to their loyalty even be incorporated into the priorities service. With enhanced site management,
information—such as points and assigned to those leads, so that an engaged registration and user management,
rewards—through the channel they desire, prospect is assigned a higher place in the account management, and knowledge
be it online, over the phone, in person, or queue than a casual one. Real-time management features, companies gain the
through a kiosk. In an ideal scenario, tracking is an essential element of this ability to rapidly deploy and maintain a
loyalty systems underlie a strategic process. Sales managers know that time is standards-based application for delivering
business initiative that both drives of the essence when responding to a high levels of customer service. Such a
revenue by maximizing brand value and prospect’s interest. Marketers and sales system should also be integrated with
enables organizations to gain critical managers should both have current other service channels and enable
customer insight. statistics on active programs as well as customers to seamlessly transition among
analytical tools to delve into past channels—for example from the Web to
campaigns. When integrated with lead an online chat session to a phone
4) DRIVE IMPACTFUL MARKETING tracking, marketing analytics can yield conversation with a customer service
RESULTS powerful ROI analysis for use in representative—in the context of their
Marketing is often thought of as being more budgeting and campaign planning. product or service issues.
art than science, but it doesn’t have to be
that way. Sophisticated analytics now make But self-service doesn’t end with support
it possible to track response to marketing 5) INCREASE CUSTOMER SERVICE capabilities. In today’s world of two-
campaigns down to the individual FLEXIBILITY WHILE REDUCING COSTS income households with limited free time,
customer. This can potentially revolutionize In both lean and expanding economies, consumers increasingly prefer online
a company’s approach to marketing. companies must seek ways of reducing shopping. And for companies,
the cost of providing service to their e-commerce represents the most cost-
A good sales process builds a 360-degree customers. Online customer-facing effective channel to sell their goods and
view of the customer, beginning with the applications provide compelling benefits services, but only if they can draw upon a
scalable and high-performance platform solution, particularly in a lean economy.
that manages e-commerce transactions Instead, your business needs as well as ABOUT ORACLE
within the context of their overall CRM your IT organization’s requirements Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL) is
interactions. Such a system must manage should dictate the deployment decision. the world’s leader in CRM with 5,000 CRM
multichannel interactions consistently and And for mid-sized and larger companies, customers, 4.6 million CRM users, and 125
efficiently. And, in addition to providing using a combination of deployment million self-service users. Our customers
the rich informational and ease-of-use models with tight data integration to rely on Oracle customer relationship
capabilities that customers have come to ensure a consistent customer view may management, business intelligence, and
expect when shopping online, these make the most sense. For example, an customer data integration solutions to
systems should deliver real-time organization with a large centralized deliver dramatic improvements in
decisioning capabilities. Real-time marketing operation as well as several identifying, acquiring, retaining, and
decisioning suggests highly useful geographically dispersed sales teams could serving their customers. These solutions
complementary products or services to benefit from an on-premises marketing are the product of more than $2 billion in
customers at the point of their and loyalty application that scales to meet direct and partner investment and reflect
interactions, while providing organizations their most demanding requirements, and over 11 years of CRM industry leadership.
with the benefit of an automated cross- an on-demand solution that is easy for Oracle's CRM products include Siebel,
selling solution. For example, a customer salespeople to use and requires minimal Siebel CRM On Demand, Oracle
who purchased a new smartphone online IT support. While it’s an over-used E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and Oracle
is likely an ideal candidate for an phrase, “one size does not fit all.” Contact Center Anywhere. With an
unlimited data plan, a leather carrying unmatched range of products, industry
case, and a car charger. expertise, and deployment options,
CONCLUSION Oracle is the right choice for CRM.
To quote Abraham Lincoln, “And this, To learn more visit Oracle.com/CRM or
6) WEIGH YOUR BEST (DEPLOYMENT) too, shall pass….” The economy will CRMOnDemand.com.
OPTIONS rebound. When it does, will your
There is no question that on-demand competitors who decided to invest during
CRM is a highly compelling deployment a downturn leap ahead of you? For those i “Home Depot Chief Renovates,” Ann
option for organizations of all types and companies focused on differentiating their Zimmerman, The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2008.
sizes. For sales teams in particular, on- businesses around the customer experience, ii “Managing IT in a downturn: Beyond cost
demand CRM is a fast-to-deploy and now is an ideal time to concentrate on cutting,” James Kaplan and Johnson Sikes, The
easy-to-use solution that fosters those critical few customer relationship McKinsey Quarterly, September 2008.
collaboration. It also provides an entry management initiatives that will help iii Barry Trailer and Jim Dickie, “Understanding
into CRM at a low initial cost that can be further drive sales and marketing What Your Sales Manager Is Up Against,” Harvard
applied as an operational—versus a effectiveness, increase customer affinity, Business Review, July-August 2006.
capital—expense. No organization should and reduce costs. Focusing on these iv “Need To Cut Costs? Improve The Web Site
evaluate new CRM solutions without practices and behaviors now will not only Experience,” Megan Burns, Forrester Research,
assessing deployment options. However, help your organization steer through this December 1, 2008.
be wary of those vendors that cite on- recession, but will also prepare you to seize v “Marketing Technology Adoption 2007,” Elana
demand CRM as being the “only” opportunities in the next expansion. Anderson, Forrester Research, April 26, 2007.