We've entered a new era that Forrester calls the age of the customer. The new power of customers means that a focus on the customer now matters more than any other strategic imperative.
To help clients thrive in this new era, I recently published the executive overview of Forrester’s Playbook for CRM. The CRM playbook outlines four steps for you to follow to transform customer-facing business processes to deliver differentiated customer experiences: 1) discover the value of CRM; 2) plan the right strategy; 3) act to execute the strategy with precision; and 4) optimize your results.
Despite high CRM solution adoption rates, as organizations strive to succeed in the age of the customer, business and IT professionals responsible for customer-facing processes struggle with how to define CRM strategies, re-engineer customer-facing business processes, acquire and deploy the appropriate supporting technologies, and lead and sustain the organizational changes required to make the transition to new ways of working. To make savvy CRM decisions, you must understand and navigate a number of important trends:
■ CRM solutions are widely adopted, and buyers plan to increase investment. In fact, 50% of the 556 North America and European large organizations we recently surveyed have implemented a CRM solution (a marketing, sales, or customer service application). An additional 23% have plans to adopt a CRM solution within the next 12 to 24 months.
■ Consolidation alters the vendor landscape. In response to the demand for solutions that support the cross-channel, end-to-end customer journey that defines the quality of the experience an organization delivers, large CRM vendors such and Oracle, SAP, and salesforce.com have acquired direct competitors or have snapped up companies in adjacent spaces to broaden the range of their offerings.